Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?

Date:
May 15, 2008
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
Does playing violent video games make players aggressive? It is a question that has taxed researchers, sociologists, and regulators ever since the first console was plugged into a TV and the first shots fired in a shoot 'em up game. Now researchers suggest that there is scant scientific evidence that video games are anything but harmless, and that they do not lead to real world aggression. Moreover, new research shows that previous work is biased towards the opposite conclusion.

Does playing violent video games make players aggressive? It is a question that has taxed researchers, sociologists, and regulators ever since the first console was plugged into a TV and the first shots fired in a shoot 'em up game.

Writing May 14 in the International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry, Patrick Kierkegaard of the University of Essex, England, suggests that there is scant scientific evidence that video games are anything but harmless and that they do not lead to real world aggression. Moreover, his research shows that previous work is biased towards the opposite conclusion.

Video games have come a long way since the simplistic ping-pong and cascade games of the early 1970s, the later space-age Asteroids and Space Invaders, and the esoteric Pac-man. Today, severed limbs, drive-by shootings, and decapitated bodies captivate a new generation of gamers and gruesome scenes of violence and exploitation are the norm.

Award-winning video games, such as the Grand Theft Auto series, thrive on murder, theft, and destruction on every imaginable level explains Kierkegaard, and gamers boost their chances of winning the game by a virtual visit to a prostitute with subsequent violent mugging and recovery of monies exchanged. Games such as '25 To Life' remain controversial with storylines involving violent gangs taking hostages and killing cops, while games such as World of Warcraft and Doom are obviously unrelated to the art of crochet or gentle country walks.

Kierkegaard points out that these violent games are growing more realistic with each passing year and most relish their plots of violence, aggression and gender bias. But, he asks, "Is there any scientific evidence to support the claims that violent games contribute to aggressive and violent behaviour?"

Media scare stories about gamers obsessed with violent games and many research reports that claim to back up the idea that virtual violence breeds real violence would seem to suggest so. However, Kierkegaard has studied a range of such research papers several of which have concluded since the early 1980s that video games can lead to juvenile delinquency, fighting at school and during free play periods and violent criminal behaviour such as assault and robbery. Evidence from brain scans carried out while gamers play also seem to support a connection between playing video games and activation of regions of the brain associated with aggression.

However, Kierkegaard explains, there is no obvious link between real-world violence statistics and the advent of video games. If anything, the effect seems to be the exact opposite and one might argue that video game usage has reduced real violence. Despite several high profile incidents in US academic institutions, "Violent crime, particularly among the young, has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s," says Kierkegaard, "while video games have steadily increased in popularity and use. For example, in 2005, there were 1,360,088 violent crimes reported in the USA compared with 1,423,677 the year before. "With millions of sales of violent games, the world should be seeing an epidemic of violence," he says, "Instead, violence has declined."

Research is inconclusive, emphasises Kierkegaard. It is possible that certain types of video game could affect emotions, views, behaviour, and attitudes, however, so can books, which can lead to violent behaviour on those already predisposed to violence. The inherent biases in many of the research studies examined by Kierkegaard point to a need for a more detailed study of video games and their psychological effects.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080514213432.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2008, May 15). Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080514213432.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080514213432.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Teen's Phone Ignites Under Her Pillow; How Real Is The Risk?

Teen's Phone Ignites Under Her Pillow; How Real Is The Risk?

Newsy (July 28, 2014) A Texas teen's Samsung phone apparently ignited while she slept, but what was the real problem here? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cellphone Unlocking Bill Clears U.S. House, Heads to Obama

Cellphone Unlocking Bill Clears U.S. House, Heads to Obama

Reuters - US Online Video (July 27, 2014) Congress gets rid of pesky law that made it illegal to "unlock" mobile phones without permission, giving consumers the option to use the same phone on a competitor's wireless network. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Newsy (July 26, 2014) A bill legalizing "unlocking," or untethering a phone from its default wireless carrier, has passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins