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No evidence between violent video games and behavior

Scientists from the University of York have been examining any relationship between the regularly playing of R-rated video games and anti-social activity bearing on the violent. The conclusion of their research is that there’s no evidence to support any theory that video games make players more violent.

This research finding was based on several experiments involving in excess of 3,000 participants. The large number of test subjects led to the finding that video game concepts do not ‘prime’ players to behave in certain ways. Furthermore, for those concerned about the increased graphic content of some video games the researchers assessed that greater realism of violent video games does not necessarily increase aggression in game players.

One of the experiments involved looking at video game player reactions to two combat games. One game used ‘ragdoll physics‘ (a type of physics engine procedural animation which is often used as a replacement for traditional static death animations in video games and animated films) to create realistic character behavior and one that did not, in an animated world that nevertheless looked real. Following some time playing the game, the subjects played a word puzzles called ‘word fragment completion tasks’,. With this the scientists expected more violent word associations to be chosen, but this was not the case.

According to lead researcher, Dr David Zendle: “If players are ‘primed’ through immersing themselves in the concepts of the game, they should be able to categorise the objects associated with this game more quickly in the real world once the game had concluded.”

He adds: “Across the two games we didn’t find this to be the case. Participants who played a car-themed game were no quicker at categorizing vehicle images, and indeed in some cases their reaction time was significantly slower.”

The research has been published in the journal Entertainment Computing. The research paper is called “Behavioural realism and the activation of aggressive concepts in violent video games.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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