An article has been making the rounds this week that discusses how playing video games seems to stimulate the reward centers in the brains of men more than those in the brains of women. Maybe this explains why more men than women seem to identify as "core gamers": men are less likely to see gaming as a waste of time, and therefore more likely to spend a lot of time playing.
CNN Video News Report Article - Stanford Medical Center Report (Disclaimer: as with most so-called gender differences, there is most likely a greater range within one gender than the average difference between both genders. So if you're a man or woman who doesn't fit the stereotype: Congratulations! Your mother always said you were special...) Hot brain stimulation action
It's an interesting idea, which leads me to the next question: If games are heavily stimulating the reward centers in men, then does that change how men behave?
Maybe men enjoy the rush of feeling that a task has been achieved, and seek to duplicate that rush by achieving things in their own lives.
Maybe there's no interaction between the two.
Or maybe the feeling of achievement leads to the brain cutting back on the chemicals it uses to push men into action, satisfied that something significant has been done.
I honestly have no idea which of those is true, or whether there's some other interaction. Sure, I've known some unmotivated guys who played a lot of videogames, but maybe they picked that form of entertainment because they were already unmotivated, not because games somehow made them that way. There are a lot of chicken-and-egg problems with neurological studies.
Damn these genetics... damn them all to *yawn*
Speaking from experience, I know that I sometimes self-medicate -- that is, if I feel like I'm spinning my wheels in real life, I like to kick back and play a simplified version of life where the goals are clear, my performance is numerically scored, and success leads to more basic objectives. Does that somehow displace my anxiety, and make me feel better about not achieving my real-life goals? Again, it's hard to say.
Anyway, I'm curious as to your thoughts. Obviously we're all gamers here, so this might be a sensitive issue. In fact, my first reaction was "Games are games, real life is real life. I can tell the difference between real success and a placebo.
" But what if, on some primitive level, I can't? If only they made a game about drafting resumes...