Current research from the University of Luxembourg, found that when participants were asked to select gift products after they had played a violent video game, inexperienced players selected more hygienic products, such as shower gel, toothpaste and deodorant, compared to those who played violent video games more often. Inexperienced players also felt higher moral distress from playing violent games.
"Out, damned spot," from Shakespeare's Macbeth, resonates with these recent findings which link cleanliness and morality in violent video games. Dr. André Melzer, along with Dr. Mario Gollwitzer, Philipps-University Marburg, examined 76 participants following 15 minutes of violent video game play. "The need to cleanse to keep moral purity intact, the Macbeth effect, is a psychological phenomenon in which a person attempts to purify oneself in order to cope with feelings of moral distress," describes Melzer. "We find that the Macbeth effect can result from playing violent video games, especially when the game involves violence against humans." Melzer also stresses that experienced gamers seem to use different strategies to cope with violence in games.
Future studies aimed at bridging moral psychology and the effects of violent media, will help to reveal how the long term exposure to violent media negatively affects attitudes towards aggression.
Dr. André Melzer will present his research findings at the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) World Meeting 2012 at the University of Luxembourg, and study findings will be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
What are the factors that lead to aggression? Is aggression genetic? Do hormones, family dynamics or violent video games play a role? On 17 to 21 July, members of ISRA, will meet to discuss the latest research findings in all facets of aggression, from violence in the media, to the impacts of violent video games, to cyber bullying, alcohol-related aggression, violence towards the police, and more.
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