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I am in ninth grade and thinking of doing a research project on how interactive gaming (like Fortnite, NBA, Call of Duty, etc) might affect the adolescent brain. My teacher thinks this is not a great topic because gaming is just negative. But I don't think so. I think I need to really narrow my topic down, and that's what I need help with. Here are some of my ideas: Is Gaming Disorder real? Are these games addictive (producing dopamine)? Where in the brain and how? How do these games affect executive function in the adolescent brain? I like this one because there is a lot of evidence that these games actually improve these skills, and the frontal lobe of teens is not fully developed yet. Why do boys prefer these games? This would involve gender differences in brains. How much gaming per day or week is beneficial, and when and why does it become detrimental?   Lastly, I need to provide some sort of solution to a problem that my topic may pose. That is also confusing me because I'm not sure all of my ideas are problematic. If you have any suggestions as to how to narrow this down, I would appreciate it. Thank you.

Expert Answers

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I think that this is a terrific topic for a research project, and I think narrowing it down is simply a matter of consolidating all of your questions into a single context. I think a great way to narrow down these questions would be to make your research project on the history of video games. This way, you could include all of the topics that you have mentioned, as they are all relevant to the topic.

For example, your teacher's inherently negative outlook on games likely has a lot to do with how old they were when video gaming was being pioneered, considering that in its early days, video games were primarily marketed towards children, and male children at that. This could also tie in to your topic of gender. While they are certainly still outnumbered by males, there is a fast growing number of women in the gaming community. This is related to changing societal standards and would also fall under the umbrella of video games in a historical context.

Think of examples of how video games have affected society and the way that people interact with each other, and you should be able to fit all of your ideas in a historical context. Best of luck!

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