Specifically, the better a person is at video games, the bigger their striatum tends to be. That portion of the brain is nestled inside the cerebral cortex--the lobe responsible for higher brain functions. And the study adds ballast to the hypothesis that the striatum is linked to how well a person is able to refine their motor skills, learn new skills, and invent useful strategies for a changing environment.[...]
Here's how the study was conducted. Study participants with minimal videogame experience were asked to play a game, Space Fortress (pictured at left). Researchers then scanned two parts of the striatum, the nucleus accumbens and the putamen. The first region deals with the pleasure the brain feels at achieving a specific goal. People who were well-endowed in that region did better in early stages of the game, when they were still learning. Those that were gifted in both regions did best at both learning the game, and adapting to its changing complexity.
Kids: the next time that your parents tell you to stop playing video games, demand to know why they're sabotaging your cognitive development.