Things That Make You Go … Hmmmmm

When you read about this success story…

Who’s playing who?

WHEN a leading Japanese brain specialist said that playing video games rendered parts of the brain inert, it did not take long for Nintendo to arrive at his door. The video games mammoth didn’t threaten him with legal action: that’s not the way in Japan. Instead it became the No. 1 one donor to his research institute and made his dream come true by offering the chance to create a game of his own.

His game, called Brain Training, has sold 4 million copies. It is a hit in Japan and the United States and is to be released in Australia next month (June 15). Professor Ryuta Kawashima has gone from obscure scientist to popular culture celebrity in under five years.

He insists that he has not been corrupted by Nintendo. “The donations are happy for us, but it doesn’t affect anything,” he told The Age.

There are a variety of interpretations. It was perhaps the luckiest day in the career of an incurable innocent; a random alignment of commerce with science; or alternatively, a brazen seduction of a critic by the second largest video games company in the world.

And then you read this the next day …

Video game “brain damage” claim criticized

Claims by a Japanese surgeon that computer games can damage the brain have been greeted with skepticism by psychologists and neuroscientists.

Akio Mori, a cranial nerve specialist at Nihon University College of Humanities and Sciences in Tokyo told Japanese reporters that he was very concerned about the impact of video games on children’s brains, after recording a lack of beta brainwave activity in young people who played frequently.

He claims this reveals that the gamers were hardly using the frontal regions of their brains, which are important for emotional processing, planning and self-control.

But suggestions made in the Japanese press that parts of the brain could become chronically underused are premature, according to neuroscientists and psychologists contacted by New Scientist.

Mori has yet to publish any of his methods and findings and without this it is impossible to conclude that video games are damaging, said one researcher.

One just has to wonder if Akio Mori is talking about serious research (doubtful) or is simply looking for some fast-track career improvement and cash enhancement (Likely).

UPDATE: The first article linked in this post is really one of the most egregious examples of MSM exploitation of “technological fear” that I have read in quite some time.

They trot out all of the typical anti-video game nonsense, including comparing video games to tobacco usage, linking video games to violent crime, they even bring up the dot com bust (talk about a red herring). The last sentence even mentions the need for “Brain Damage” warning labels on games. None of which are backed up by any studies or evidence whatsoever.

Expect more of the same “fake but accurate” reporting for the next few weeks until the gaggle of antique media “newsies” get their latest spate of irrational technological panic out of their collective system.

Image courtesy of Today 999 and yet another
videogame fear mongering story from last year