The Effect Of Pornography On Your Brain – Troubling Addiction
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, have found that hours spent watching pornography are associated with differences in gray matter volume in a particular region of the brain.
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64 healthy men aged 21-45 participated in the study. They were asked to fill in surveys on the amount of time spent watching porn per week, which varied considerably among men. Normally, they spent no more than four hours viewing pornographic material on a weekly basis.
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Participants’ brains were then scanned using magnetic resonance imaging while they viewed either pornographic images or non-sexual images.
The researchers found a negative association between time spent watching porn and the volume of gray matter in the caudate right of the striatum. When men were seeing pornographic material, magnetic resonance imaging also revealed an apparent decrease in the function of a region of the brain known to process motivation.
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In addition, functional connectivity between the right caudate nucleus and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was negatively associated with the reported amount of time that participants watched porn.
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What does that mean?
According to the scientists, they can not prove that it is the pornography that caused this decrease in the volume of gray matter.
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They also recognize that at this stage they still can not tell what these results mean, but they do have some assumptions. It may be that excessive stimulation of the brain reward system results in changes in neural plasticity, for example. Or it may be that men with less gray matter in the striatum require more stimulation than others and find pornography more rewarding than others, which could lead to an increase in their consumption.
Finally, the researchers report that this study is preliminary and that more analysis is needed, with a more rigorous methodology, before conclusions can be drawn. Future studies should investigate the effects of pornography longitudinally or expose participants without prior experience to pornography and investigate causal effects over time.
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The porn brain: are we facing a new addiction?
With the abundance of sexually explicit material on the internet, science is starting to do an unprecedented investigation: does pornography vitiate?
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What impact can the current avalanche of pornographic images available on the internet be causing in human brains? This week’s VEJA report shows that researchers are already talking about the possibility of a pornography addiction, which would work like drugs like cocaine. But the issue is far from a consensus in the scientific community.
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The lack of brain studies that prove biochemical damage, as has already been done in relation to cocaine use, is a problem. In 2009, a gender research failed because of the impossibility of forming a “control group”. That is: it was not possible to find adult men who had never consumed sexually explicit material. Another challenge is to find a universal definition for pornography, differentiating it from eroticism, to guide studies.
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Your Brain and Pornography: It’s Not Addiction
There has been a huge amount of hyperbole about using pornography, with many authors and catastrophists claiming that watching porn causes dangerous neurochemical changes in the brain. But an innovative research says that this is not true and that people who are the problematic users of pornography are actually people with high libido, not people whose brains have been deformed sex and pornography.
In recent years, these fear-based arguments often invoke jargon about effects on the brain and fire everywhere such as dopamine explosions and desensitization to describe what is supposed to happen in the brains of people who watch lots of pornography. Brain science is fashionable today and it draws attention to begin to use jargon about the brain and neuroscience in arguments because it sounds so ridiculously convincing and scientific. The problem is that there is an extreme shortage of research that actually considers the brains and behaviors of people using pornography, and no qualitative experimental research that has analyzed the brains of those supposedly addicted to pornography. So all these arguments are theories and based on rhetoric, inferences and application of results from other research to try to explain sexual behavior.