Gender differences in the mesocorticolimbic system during computer game-play

J Psychiatr Res. 2008 Mar;42(4):253-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2007.11.010. Epub 2008 Jan 14.


Little is known about the underlying neural processes of playing computer/video games, despite the high prevalence of its gaming behavior, especially in males. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging study contrasting a space-infringement game with a control task, males showed greater activation and functional connectivity compared to females in the mesocorticolimbic system. These findings may be attributable to higher motivational states in males, as well as gender differences in reward prediction, learning reward values and cognitive state during computer video games. These gender differences may help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become "hooked" on video games than females.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adult
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / anatomy & histology*
  • Limbic System / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Video Games*