Computer Business Review

Watching porn could be killing your brain

by Michael Moore| 30 May 2014

German scientists find decrease in brain matter and activity in frequent viewers.

Men who watch a lot of pornography could be damaging themselves in more ways than they fear, a study has found.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin found that men who frequently watched porn often had less volume and activity in the regions of the brain linked to rewards and motivation.

Published in JAMA Psychiatry, the study monitored 64 healthy men between the ages of 21 and 45 years and asked them questions about their porn-watching habits.

They also took images of the men's brains to measure volume and to see how their brains reacted to pornographic pictures.

"We found that the volume of the so-called striatum, a brain region that has been associated with reward processing and motivated behaviour was smaller the more pornography consumption the participants reported," Dr. Simone Kühn, the leader of the study, said.

"Moreover we found that another brain region, that is also part of the striatum that is active when people see sexual stimuli, shows less activation the more pornography participants consumed," she added.

The researchers also found that the connection between the striatum and prefrontal cortex, which is the outer layer of the brain associated with behaviour and decision making, worsened following increased porn watching.

Kühn cautioned, however, that the team's findings are not conclusive as to whether watching porn caused the decrease in brain matter and activity.
"Unfortunately we cannot answer this question based on the results of the present study," she said.

But, she noted, the results provide the first evidence for a link between pornography consumption and reduction in brain size and brain activity in response to sexual stimuli.

 

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