games are, apparently, addictive

Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins

Do we ban images or words from World of Warcraft? Do we ban any activity that is
pleasurable, or produces chemical reactions?

Most pleasurable activities stimulate the release of brain chemicals. We dont know how, say, playing a highly competitive game of basketball affects the brain because you cant sit in an MRI while playing point guard, but we do know that working out also leads to increased dopamine. So does eating food. Basically, if we banned activities that lead to changes in brain chemistry, the species would die out from starvation or a lack of procreation. Maybe just plain boredom. And once we start asserting that some activities are simply more meaningful than others, we are back in the business of making cultural, rather than “scientific,” judgments and in that space, it is hard to justify why the AMA should have any more say than, say, professional organizations devoted to studying the cultural impact of media.

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