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Porn Causes Drop In Mental Power, Study Says

A German study concluded that pornography really can make users stupid.

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By John Lavitt

06/18/14

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A new German study about the association between pornography and the brain revealed a significant drop in brain activity in the prefrontal lobes and the prefrontal cortex with both parts being associated with porn use. 

Conducted at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, the study was published on May 28, 2014 by Simone Kühn and Jürgen Gallinat in JAMA Psychiatry and speculated that the loss of brain power was a result of over-stimulation of the brain’s reward center. When porn is consumed, the brain’s reward center in the prefrontal lobes lights up. The downside of such over-stimulation is noticeable brain impairment in relation to other functions and a general loss of mental power.

“Since pornography appeared on the Internet, the accessibility, affordability, and anonymity of consuming visual sexual stimuli have increased and attracted millions of users," the authors wrote. "Based on the assumption that pornography consumption bears resemblance with reward-seeking behavior, novelty-seeking behavior, and addictive behavior, we hypothesized alterations of the frontostriatal network in frequent users.”

In a study of sixty-four healthy male adults with a wide range of habitual pornography consumption at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, the reported hours of usage was catalogued on a weekly basis. The published report on the study described the methodology of how “[p]ornography consumption was associated with neural structure, task-related activation, and functional resting-state connectivity.”

The researchers found a significant negative association between reported pornography hours per week and gray matter volume in the parts of the brain related to consumption. Such a noticeable loss could reflect change in neural plasticity as a consequence of an intense stimulation of the reward system. At the same time, it could be a precondition that makes pornography consumption more rewarding. Although further study will be needed, a major implication of such results is that passing on pornography is undoubtedly a smart thing to do.

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