In a recent study by the University of Missouri offers proof that the brains of violent video game players become less responsive to violence due to an increase in aggression. Looks like this proves what scientists and mothers have been saying for years.
The study starts off by having 70 young adult participants who were randomly assigned to play either a nonviolent game or violent game such as Call of Duty, Hitman, GTA, or Killzone. After playing the game for 25 minutes, researchers measured the player’s brain responses while they viewed a series of neutral photos (man on a bike) and violent photos (man with a gun to a person’s mouth). These gamers would then be allowed to give their opponent a controllable blast of loud noise and researchers measured the level of noise blast to determine levels of aggression.
Researchers found that those who played the violent games were dishing out louder blast noises than those who played nonviolent games. On an interesting note, four of the gamers never played violent games in their life, and were found to be “desensitized” to violent behavior. This was a result of a reduced brain response to the photos of violence – an indicator of desensitization. The study also found that the gamers who had already spent a ton of time playing violent games before the study showed small brain response to the violent photos.
“The fact that video game exposure did not affect the brain activity of participants who already had been highly exposed to violent games is interesting and suggests a number of possibilities. It could be that those individuals are already so desensitized to violence from habitually playing violent video games that an additional exposure in the lab has very little effect on their brain responses. There also could be an unmeasured factor that causes both a preference for violent video games and a smaller brain response to violence. In either case, there are additional measures to consider,” said Bruce Bartholow, associate professor of Psychology.
“More than any other media, these video games encourage active participation in violence,” said Bartholow. “From a psychological perspective, video games are excellent teaching tools because they reward players for engaging in certain types of behavior. Unfortunately, in many popular video games, the behavior is violence.”
Scientists and parents have been saying this for years. Now they have some research to back it up. Do you guys think violent video games increase one’s aggression? Or is aggression tied to something completely different?