Finally we know why men are more likely to become immersed in video games – it’s all to do with the brain.

A new study from Stanford University shows that the part of the brain that generates feelings of rewards and addiction is far more animated in men than women.

This discovery should explain why more men become addicted to video games than women, study author Fumiko Hoeft of the Stanford University School of Medicine said.

Higher activity

The study looked at how the brains of 22 young gamers – half of them male, half female – reacted when playing a simple video ball game. The researchers found that men’s brains had a higher activity in the mesocorticolimbic system.

“These gender differences may help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become ‘hooked’ on video games than females,” the researchers wrote in their paper, recently published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. The men reportedly appeared more motivated to gain terrain when playing the game, although both men and women did well.

“The females ‘got’ the game,” said Allan Reiss, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford University. “They appeared motivated to succeed at the game. The males were just a lot more motivated to succeed.”

Acquiring as much territory in a computer game environment is more rewarding for men than for women, the study showed. Reiss wasn’t surprised: “I think it’s fair to say that males tend to be more intrinsically territorial. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who historically are the conquerors and tyrants of our species – they’re the males.”