05/12/2011 16:31 GMT | Updated 05/12/2011 16:34 GMT

Baroness Greenfield, Leading Scientist, Calls For More Research Into Effect Of Video Games On Young People's Brains

A leading scientist has called for more research into the effects of constant use of video games and social networking sites on young people's brains.

Independent crossbencher Baroness Greenfield raised concerns about the addictiveness of screen-based activities in a short Lords debate and pressed for fresh impact studies.

Lady Greenfield, a professor of synaptic pharmacology, pointed to one report that suggested the more continuously connected people were through cyberspace the more isolated they felt.

She said studies showed that frequent playing of video games might lead to "enhanced recklessness", as well as reduced attention spans and possible addiction.

Chemical and even structural changes were being reported in the brains of "obsessional gamers", which required wider discussion beyond the scientific community.

Another survey of 130,000 participants had concluded that video games led to increases in "desensitisation" and "aggression".

Lady Greenfield questioned the impact of computer search engines on young people's comprehension skills.

She acknowledged the positive impact of new technology, as well, in areas like mental agility.

"We need to gain a much fuller picture," she insisted, calling for the commissioning of studies to find the true impact of today's "screen-based lifestyle".