Posted on Mar 04, 2018, 1 a.m.
According to researchers at University of York they have not been able to find any evidence to support the popular theory that video games make the users more violent.
Researchers investigated the theory involving more than 3,000 participants in a series of studies that according to the researchers demonstrated that video games do not gear players to behave in certain ways, and that the increased realism of violent video games do not necessarily increase aggression.
The idea of learning in games is built around the theory that exposure to concepts involved in games such as violence makes those concepts easier to use in real life situations, this is known as priming and is believed to lead to changes in the player’s behaviour. Studies on the subject in the past have provided mixed results.
Researchers conducted a recent study increasing participant numbers compared to other studies conducted in the past, and compared different types of gaming realism to evaluate whether or not more conclusive evidence could be provided.
If players were primed through immersion into game concepts, they should be able to categorise game related objects more quickly in real life after game conclusion. Researchers were not able to find any signs of this, other than in some cases reaction time being significantly slower on one study.
In another study investigating aggression effects following game completion players were asked to complete word puzzles, expecting that more violent word association would be chosen, and found that priming of violent concepts was not detectable.
Researchers findings suggest that there is no link between the realism in video games and the kinds of effects that have been associated with video games players in the past. Further studies are required to see if other aspects of realism will wield the same results. It is worth noting that only adults were tested on these theories, additional studies are required to investigate if the effects are different in children players.
Materials provided by University of York.
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David Zendle, Daniel Kudenko, Paul Cairns. Behavioural realism and the activation of aggressive concepts in violent video games. Entertainment Computing, 2018; 24: 21 DOI: 10.1016/j.entcom.2017.10.003