Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/27/videogame_report_caveman/

Videogames feed your inner cavemen, says report

Primal Instinct, the videogame?

By James Sherwood

Posted in Science, 27th May 2008 10:56 GMT

Men now have a proper excuse for spending hours glued to a games console, thanks to new research which has concluded that videogames force blokes to revert to their caveman roots.

Allan Reiss, professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at Stanford University, US recently hooked a group of men and women up to an MRI scanner whilst playing a videogame where the aim was to win virtual territory.

Although the study found that the mesocorticolimbic area of the brain – which is associated with reward and addiction – became stimulated in both sexes during gameplay, the effect on men was more intense.

For example, male brains displayed higher levels of activity as they progressed through the videogame and won more territory. The study concluded that male brains are simply hardwired to conquer and dominate, which could be the result of our caveman days spent fending off sabre-toothed tigers and rival cave-dwellers.

Professor Reiss said that men are more likely to feel some sense of reward by ‘succeeding’ in videogames. “These gender differences might help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become “hooked” on, videogames than females,” he added.

But, the report doesn’t mean you now have an excuse to throw spears at your neighbour’s panther pussycat in the real world. Another recent study found that although videogames are becoming visually more realistic, there’s no hard link between videogame violence and physical aggression.