New study links violence and games

Gamers take heed...

A new, if rather small-scale study into the effects of violent videogame play has been completed, the results of the investigation being published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Predictably, the survey found that persistent play of violent games had the effect of decreasing sensitivity to real-world violent images in the subject. The test was conducted by Bruce Bartholow, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Marc Sestir from the University of North Carolina and Brad Bushman, a professor at the University of Michigan.

"It's already well known that playing violent video games increases aggressive behaviour and decreases helping behaviour," professor Bushman commented in an official press release. "But this study is the first to link exposure to violent video games with a diminished reaction to violent images."

"Most of us naturally have a strong aversion to the sight of blood and gore," Bartholow explained. "Surgeons and soldiers may need to overcome these reactions in order to perform their duties. But for most people, a diminished reaction to the effects of violence is not adaptive. It can reduce inhibitions against aggressive behaviour and increase the possibility of inflicting violence on others."

Thirty-nine undergraduate men took part in the test, and whilst this link has been inferred in the past, the experts behind this research are quick to highlight the significance of their findings. That said, we still don't know if videogames have a stronger impact on the psyche than TV, films and other visual entertainment forms. More as we get it.


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