why video games do not cause violence
he research debunks years of warnings, partly prompted by previous academic studies, that crime and antisocial behaviour is increasingly linked to the rising popularity of shooter video games. In 2015, one politician even blamed a spate of gun violence in Salford onPa diet of war games and Grand Theft Auto. Grand Theft Auto 5, where players can become part of a virtual criminal gang challenged to commitPever more audacious and violent crimes, is currently number one in the Game top 20 chart of most popular video games. However, the academics behind the new research say previous studies may have been skewed because they often assessed participants psychological state immediately after, or even during, a stint of violent gaming. By contrast, the new survey carried out by Hannover Medical School waited at least three hours before conducting the tests, in order to determine the more long-term psychological effects.
Several new studies reinforce that video game violence does not cause real-world violence, adding to the already robust body of research that shows that there is simply no link between violence and game play.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia examined whether video games with varying degrees of violence negatively affect players pro-social behavior, or their voluntary actions that benefit another individual or group. Test subjects played 15 minutes of either a violent or non-violent video game. Researchers then measured their propensity to give to charity, as well as the level of difficulty they chose for a cash-incentivized puzzle given to other subjects. According to the research, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, more violent on-screen play did not make people meaner in either metric. In fact, those who played violent video games actually gave more to charity. Additional studies reached similar conclusions, some even finding benefits to playing fast-paced games.
According to Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and the University of Rochester in New York, first-person shooter video games can improve players vision and attention. Bavelier hypothesized that these effects might help explain why younger gamers often make superior laparoscopic surgeons and commit fewer errors than their more experienced peers. University of Buffalo communications professor Matthew Grizzard showed that when research subjects chose to play as a terrorist in a first-person shooter, they often felt more guilt over moral transgressions than those playing as United Nations soldiers. Research from Stetson University psychologist Christopher Ferguson has repeatedly found no link between violent games and societal aggression. Most recently, Ferguson found that children who play violent games are less likely to bully their peers.
Villanova University psychologist Patrick Markey and his colleagues recently examined the broader entertainment landscape and explored whether exposure to media violence leads to actual violence. Their research revealed a negative correlation between onscreen violence and violent crime over the last 50 years. Ferguson, writing in the Journal of Communication, later corroborated their argument by examining the rates of violence among Americans ages 12-17 over the last two decades. If media violence is a precursor to societal violence the introduction of violent video games in the United States would be expected to precipitate increased youth violence rates, Ferguson said. Violent video game consumption increased nearly eight times in 20 years while the violence rate among teenage Americans fell nearly 30 points, from 35 to six per 1,000 people. Visit to learn more about the research behind video games.
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