The Science Behind Video Games

Have you ever had the experience trying to study after video gaming but couldn’t? Maybe you have played a game just to refresh your brain from studies or you just aren’t in the mood to study. It’s really difficult to concentrate after playing video games and the problem is your brain. It is the brain which is limiting you from concentrating in studies.

video games vs. studying
Thomas Frank in his video “How to Balance Video Games and Studying”

When you are concentrating on studying, gaming, reading or even shopping, the sympathetic nerve system is constantly working. This nerve system is constantly working to maintain the body process and prevents the body from breaking down. When you study, game or go shopping they all have one thing in common that affects the sympathetic nerve system: stress! You feel stress when you have to study for a test, when you are about to die in a game and also when you can’t decide which dress to choose. When you are stressed, the adrenal medulla grand springs up to produce massive amounts of adrenaline and distributes through the whole body. Adrenaline is a hormone which increases the blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate, turning fat into available energy, suspending digestion, and dilating pupils.

Surivival Instincts in Gaming 

By having adrenaline rush, it increases the speed and strength of the body. For example, when you’re in danger playing shooting games, have you ever felt your heart beating in an incredible speed? It’s to help you react faster to the environment you are in and survive from that danger. This adrenaline has existed in our body since way before games were even invented. It was actually from the time human have existed in this world. Adrenaline works like a survival instinct, when people from a long time ago were in danger, they also experienced adrenaline rushes which increase their speed and strength in order to survive. However in the world we live in today, where it has become a lot safer, therefore our body use adrenaline for other uses such as gaming, studies or shopping.

no sleep
Photo courtesy of Jehovah’s Witness


Of course getting adrenaline comes with consequences; you will get tired after experiencing certain amounts of adrenaline.  This is why studying after playing games doesn’t work. You play a game, you experience adrenaline, and your body will need time to rest in order to achieve the normal body level. This does not mean you should study and then play games. If you study as soon as you come home and then play games late into the night, it will take more time for you to fall asleep, in comparison to not playing games. Even though I said after playing games, you will get tired; it does not mean you will get sleepy. Sympathetic nerve system happens when you are conscious: studying, gaming and exercising.  Sleep, on the other hand, is more of an unconscious action run by the parasympathetic nerve system. You cannot sleep while your sympathetic nerve system is active and it takes time for the sympathetic nerve system to change into parasympathetic nerve system. This is why you can’t sleep right after playing games.

Therefore you can’t play games before studying or right before you go to bed. I know it’s not easy to give up on gaming so when can we be gaming? I’ll be talking about the solution next week so don’t miss it!