testosterone and the gaming world

February 24, 2008

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It must be difficult being a man in today’s world. The mood is decidedly anti the testosterone-fueled sex.

So what is a man to do to channel these chemicals that course through his body? Many make no effort to channel anything, wantonly acting out their violent impulses. Impulses that are in the process of shifting within the landscape of functional psychology.

In the past men were exulted in our societies for their ability to protect and provide. For centuries the strength of the man was given grave respect, and was accorded such an important place within our cultures that the consequent repression of women was accepted for generation upon generation.

Since the sexual revolution in the 1960’s the role of the stereotypically strong man has been challenged like never before. “New Age” men, who display stereotypically female characteristics like gentleness, are touted as the next best thing.

Enter the technological revolution. Historical and sociological conditions aside, men have been largely responsible for the technological leaps we have taken in the last few decades. The forefront of these leaps has been information technology, specifically the home computer phenomenon. And is it any surprise that one of the the main applications run on the home computer is the quintessential violent video game?

Gaming is a fast growing and incredibly popular industry. Most of these games are aimed at the male half of the population, and most follow the basic theme of “kill as many living things as possible.” And men love it. Otherwise kind and loving men can sit happily for hours annihilating everything in their path.

Where else to channel the deep emotional pull of a biological urge that is in the process of becoming obsolete?

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neurogenesis in the adult brain

February 24, 2008

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According to Amelia J. Eisch, in a paper entitled ‘Adult neurogenesis: implications for psychiatry’ , the discovery that adult brains continue to grow neurons is relatively new.

“Until the late 1950s, it was widely presumed that the adult
mammalian brain did not generate new neurons.
However, it is now clear that adult neurogenesis does
occur, and four lines of evidence suggest that adult
neurogenesis may be a novel contributor to adult
neuroplasticity.”

The fact that neurogenesis occurs throughout adult development is extraordinary. No longer can we assume that development takes it’s rightful place during childhood and adolescence and then tapers off as we reach maturity. In fact, we can begin to explore just what factors influence adult neurogenesis, and what the implications of having a growing brain can mean for our adult lives.