New study compares prolonged exposure to violent games to cigarette habit

Monday, 17 December 2012 08:20 GMT By Dave Cook

Research conducted at the Université Pierre-Mendès-France, carried out by analysts at Ohio State University and the University of Hohenheim, has found that prolonged exposure to videogames increases aggression in players and coerces them to view the world in a more violent light. Get the research findings below.

On each of the three test days, the study saw 70 undergraduate participants exposed to either violent games – including Call of Duty 4 and Condemned 2 – or passive titles – including DiRT 2 and Pure – for 20 minutes at a time.

After playing, participants were asked to then read the start of a story, and then at the end come up with 20 possible follow-on actions the protagonist could take, with the players of violent games opting for more aggressive solutions when compared to the passive players.

Then, participants were told that there was another participant in another room, and that they had to compete with them by playing a 25-trial videogame, with the aim of being the first person to respond to visual cues on screen.

The winner would then have the power of sending the other person a ‘noise blast’ through their headphones – such as the sound of nails down a chalkboard or a dentist drill. Players of violent games leaned towards sending their opponent a louder, more prolonged sound, while passive players were kinder to their fellow participant.

It should be noted however that there actually was no other participant, just in case someone got their ear drums blown out.

By the end of the study the research found, “people who played a violent video game for three consecutive days showed increases in aggressive behaviour and hostile expectations each day they played. Meanwhile, those who played non-violent games showed no meaningful changes in aggression or hostile expectations over that period.

Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University was co-author of the study, who said after the test, “It’s important to know the long-term causal effects of violent video games, because so many young people regularly play these games.

“Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes. A single cigarette won’t cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression.”

What do you make of the study? Is it enough to form opinion on the matter, or does more need to be done in this field?

Thanks GayGamer.

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