A new study suggests there is a correlation between video gamers, depression, and being overweight. According to the CDC, the average American gamer has a higher body mass index than his peers, and also tends to be more reliant on the Internet. Female respondents to the 500-person study, which was carried out in the Seattle-Tacoma area, had a higher correlation of depression than their peers.Outlets like PC World and TG Daily have reported the news with appropriate caution, careful not to insinuate that correlation means causation. But the suggestion seems to be that there are only two factors at play--lifestyle and level of health--and that one of them has to be altering the other. Either fat, depressive people like gaming, or gaming makes people fat or depressed. But what if the real culprit is brain chemistry?According to an article in Slate, part of so-called Internet "addiction" is rooted in an ancient brain mechanism that rewards discovery. Human beings, it seems, are engineered to reward themselves with shots of dopamine when they find something new, and the Internet has become a kind of dopamine drip--sites like Reddit and Digg, and the chance for new emails and texts, open up the possibility for endless "discovery" highs.
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