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Aggression: What influence do violent games have on the computer?


Aggression behavior of adult players is not influenced by violent games

Video games are often better than their reputation. Scientific studies have shown that some computer gamers can learn much better and that video games are sometimes good for brain development and can protect against dementia. But what about the effects of violent computer games? Researchers from Hamburg have dealt with this question and have determined that it hardly affects the aggressive behavior of adults.

Make sure that violent video games encourage aggression

"It is a common concern that violent video games promote aggression, reduce pro-social behavior, increase impulsiveness and impair both perception and mood among players," says a preliminary study published by "Molecular Psychiatry" Scientists from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). But apparently the effects of such games are not as negative as the researchers found.

There is no scientifically proven negative influence

The study by scientists from the UKE showed that playing violent games on the computer did not have a lasting or long-term influence on the aggressiveness of adult players.

"The negative influence of violent video games on the behavior of the players, which is often cited in public, cannot be scientifically proven," said Prof. Dr. Simone Kühn from the UKE Clinic and Polyclinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, according to a message.

“In our study, we were unable to identify any significant or relevant changes in the behavior of the adult subjects. Now there is still to be researched whether the behavior of children and adolescents will not change sustainably by playing violent games, ”said the study director.

"Shoot em up" player

The arguments used so far in the debates about violent games are mainly based on studies in which the participants only played a violent game between minutes and hours.

In addition, the behavior of the players in the previous studies was only examined immediately after playing when the players were still in the “shoot em up mode”. This phenomenon has long been known in psychology as "priming".

The UKE scientists have now investigated how and whether aggression behavior changes in the long term when players play a violent game over a longer period of time.

Reward for aggressive behavior

90 adults took part in the study by the UKE scientists, who do not play video games regularly in their everyday lives and were divided into three groups for the study.

A group played the violent game Grand Theft Auto over a two-month period, in which players were rewarded for their aggressive behavior.

During the same period, the participants in the other group played the video game Sims, in which the players create virtual characters, whose appearance and personality they customize and which they can then accompany on their social networks.

A third group did not play video games.

Ability to empathize

Before and after these two months, in which the subjects played an average of 33 hours, the researchers examined the behavior of the study participants using various tests.

Among other things, the aggression and the subliminal aggression of the participants were tested with questionnaires, but also with implicit behavior tests. In addition, social behavior, especially the ability to empathize, was also examined.

The tests were repeated two months after the last video game.

No significant or relevant changes in player behavior were found - neither when comparing the test results before the game and one day after the last game, nor when comparing the behavior before the start of the first game and two months after the last game. (ad)

Author and source information


Video: Stop Blaming Violent Video Games For Mass Shootings (August 2020).