-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SATURDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Too much time spent
playing video games may lead to impulsive behavior and attention
problems in children, and vice versa, according to a new study.
In other words, people who spend more time playing video games
subsequently have more attention problems, and "individuals who are
more impulsive or have more attention problems subsequently spend
more time playing video games," according to the report published
in the current issue of the journal
Psychology and Popular Media Culture.
For the study, attention problems were defined as difficulty
engaging in or sustaining behavior to reach a goal, the authors
explained in a news release from the American Psychological
"This is an important finding because most research on attention problems has focused on biological and genetic factors rather than on environmental factors," lead study author Douglas Gentile, of Iowa State University, said in the news release.
In addition, the researchers found that the amount of time spent
playing video games can have a greater effect on kids' health and
behavior than video-game violence.
In conducting the study, researchers compiled information on the
video game-playing habits of more than 3,000 children in Singapore
ranging in age from 8 to 17 years over the course of three years.
The children's attention to detail, ability to concentrate and
their impulsiveness were also measured.
Previous studies have found that video gamers demonstrate an
improved ability to rapidly and accurately recognize visual
information, the study authors noted.
But, Gentile explained in the news release, "It is possible that
electronic media use can impair attention necessary for
concentration even as it enhances the ability to notice and process
The study authors said their findings could lead to the
development of more effective strategies to help children with
attention problems and impulsive behavior.
While the study uncovered an association between video-game
playing and attention and behavior problems, it did not prove a
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about the link
video games and attention problems in
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