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A weekly show where we debunk common misconceptions. This week, Elliott discusses some misconceptions about video games!

Want more of Elliott?
http://www.youtube.com/elliottmorgan

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Elliot: Hi I'm Elliott and this is Mental Floss on YouTube. Today I'm going to tell you guys some misconceptions about video games. 

[mental_floss introduction]

Misconception number one: video games cause ADHD. This hasn't been studied much, but there's still no reason to believe that video games cause Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. One study out of Eastern Michigan University found that young men that already had ADHD were more likely to report that they frequently play video games while procrastinating. But the study noticed that women with ADHD were less likely to report that problem, and that's all correlation. There's no evidence that video games caused the disorder.

Misconception number two: there's a Madden curse. So, the Madden football video game has had a football player featured on the cover since 1999. People have noticed that these players tend to have a less impressive season after being chosen for the cover, usually due to injury. So, this seems to be a case of emphasizing when the "curse" applies and ignoring when it doesn't.

Players who have gotten injured after appearing on the cover include Garrison Hearst with a broken ankle, Shaun Alexander with a foot injury, and Peyton Hillis with a hamstring injury. But, there are players like Titans running-back Eddie George who had the best year of his career after appearing on the cover. Though, superstitious folks might say that the curse still applies because his team totally lost during the playoffs AND Lions wide-receiver Calvin Johnson, who did break his fingers, played through the injury and broke the single-season receiving record. So, mis-misconcepted. I don't play sports.

Misconception number three, kids make up the majority of the gaming population. According to one study, around 62% of the console market is made up of adults and they're also about 66% of the PC market, and a 2008 study conducted by Pew Internet and American Life, found that 81% of 18-29 year old Americans played video games and 23% of people who are 65 and older play. One out of every four grandparents, you guys. That's crazy.

Misconception number four, blowing into an NES cartridge fixes it. OK so for all of you super young gamers, this is something that people used to do way back in the day when their Nintendo Entertainment System game cartridge wasn't working. They'd remove it, and then blow on it and then return it for sometimes better results. There's no definitive answer for whether or not this actually worked, but most experts claim that blowing on the cartridge didn't do much, plus it harmed the games. The thing that probably helped more was just removing and reinserting the cartridge. It was so fun to do.

Misconception number five, video games are violent. So this is a generalization that a lot of people make about video games but actually the majority of them are not violent. The Entertainment Software Rating Board or ESRB is responsible for rating games. In 2013, they gave 46% of games an everyone rating, 19% were everyone 10 and up, 23% were teen and only 12% of games were given a mature rating. And, for the record, games don't cause violence, either. OK? Check out our episode on technology or this episode of Healthcare Triage.

Misconception number six, playing video games causes desensitization to violence. So this one might be true but needs to be studied way more, so I'm gonna give you both sides.

In 2011, a study was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. For 25 minutes, the researchers had 70 young adults play video games, some played a violent one and others played a non-violent one. Let's just say Mario, I don't know if that's what it was. Afterwards, both groups were shown violent and non-violent pictures while their brainwave activity was measured. Those who had played the violent game had less brain response to violent pictures, so that points to desensitization.

But that same year a study was published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology. Researchers gathered 122 undergraduates, some who had played video games in the previous six months and some who had never played video games. Then, they showed the volunteers 150 pictures, some violent and some non-violent. They hypothesized that if video game player were truly desensitized to violence, then they'd have more trouble remembering the violent images than the non-video game players, but the groups were actually about equal.

Misconception number seven, video games ruin your vision. They've actually been shown to improve eyesight. According to a 2003 study done at the University of Rochester in new York, people who regularly play video games are better at keeping an eye on multiple things at once and they're able to visually track 30% more items than a non video game player can.

Misconception number eight, video games make you less smart. There are actually studies that show that video games might be good for your brain. For example, a 2013 study conducted in Berlin had a group of adults play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes every day for two months. Awesome!

This group showed more increase of grey matter in the brain than a control group did who did not play video games for those two months. That increase in grey matter affected the right hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum, parts of the brain associated with things like memory, fine motor skills, and spatial intelligence.

Misconception number nine, "Donkey Kong" is a mistranslation. OK, have you ever wondered why he's called Donkey Kong when like "Monkey Kong" would be a lot more accurate? Yeah, well, a lot of people say that he's supposed to be Monkey Kong but there was a mistranslation between the Japanese and American words, but that's actually hard to believe considering the words "monkey" and "donkey" in Japanese aren't similar at all. According to the game's inventor, the name "Donkey Kong" is totally what he intended with the "donkey" implying stubbornness and the "Kong" referencing a gorilla.

Misconception number ten, there's no such thing as video game addiction. This is a relatively new phenomenon so we don't know much, but we do know that it's real. It is currently in the diagnostic and statistical manual of disorders under the category "condition requiring further study." People who have a video game addiction have the same symptoms observed in other addictions including physical withdraw. It's crazy!

Hey thanks for watching Misconceptions on Mental_Floss on YouTube which is made with he help of all of these nice people. If you have a topic for an upcoming misconceptions episode that you would like to see, leave it down in the comments, and maybe we'll make it and it'll be awesome. I'll see you next week, bye.

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