Study: Violent Games Do Not Desensitize Players to Violence

February 15, 2011 -

According to researchers at Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada), violent video games do not desensitize players to violent imagery. The study was led by Holly Bowen (a PhD candidate in psychology) and co-authored by psychology professor Julia Spaniol. Researchers examined the impact of chronic exposure to violent video games on emotional memory and responses to negative stimuli.

"Emotional long-term memory helps us avoid negative situations," Bowen said. "This has significant implications for public health. For example, if you remember the negative experience of being involved in a bar fight, you will avoid future situations that may lead to an altercation."

The study involved 122 undergraduate students (male and female) who had some experience with video games in the last six months (45 participants) and those who had no prior video game "exposure" (77 students).

Male and female gamers claimed familiarity with Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy and NHL. Males also listed Call of Duty and Tekken among their top five favorite games, while female video game players preferred Mario Kart and Guitar Hero or Rock Band.

Participants were shown 150 images representing three different stimuli: negative, positive and neutral scenes. One hour later, the students viewed those same images again (along with a new set of 150 "distractor" images) in random order. As each image was displayed, participants had to respond whether or not they had seen it before. Finally, at the end of the experiment, the students completed a self-assessment test regarding their state of emotional arousal.

The researchers believed going into the study that game players would prove to be less sensitive to the negative images and therefore show reduced memory for these materials. The results showed no difference in the memory of video game players and non-players. Exposure to video games were not associated with differences in self-reported arousal to emotional stimuli.

"The findings indicate that long-term emotional memory is not affected by chronic exposure violent video games," said Bowen.

Researchers caution that further study is needed to see if these results apply to all age groups and not just young adults.

"While we are working with young adults, there may be still differences among kids who play VVGs [violent video games]," said Spaniol.

Researchers are already working on a new study that looks at the brain activity of violent video game players while they view emotional images. They also plan to examine what impact chronic exposure to violent video games has on players outside of a lab setting.


Comments

Re: Study: Violent Games Do Not Desensitize Players to ...

Nice. I'd definitely be interested to see the same experiment run on a much younger age group.

Shame it's another study that will conveniently never be cited by anti-videogame lobbyists though.

Re: Study: Violent Games Do Not Desensitize Players to ...

I will have to read this when I'm not at work! I was taught by Julia Spaniol during my time there.

Re: Study: Violent Games Do Not Desensitize Players to ...

Just read it.  Nice well done study.

In reading the article the authors seem unaware of the controversies in the field though, assuming video game research is consistent other than their study (apparently they only read Anderson's work and believed him at face value).  Nonetheless they are honest in reporting their null results.

It's in Applied Cognitive Psychology (a Wiley journal) for those who wish to find it, in the "articles in press" section. 

Re: Study: Violent Games Do Not Desensitize Players to ...

Apparently, although violent games do not desensitize players to violence, games do seem to have the effect of desensitizing writers to correct spelling.

The study was LED, not "lead"!

Jeez! Since when was English Language knocked off the curriculum for aspiring writers?

Sorry, but this sort of half-assed commitment to the writer's craft really pisses me off. A spell check doesn't catch everything - a writer has to have a working knowledge of the language, or he/she is going to make silly errors like this that make him/her look incompetent.

Re: Study: Violent Games Do Not Desensitize Players to ...

Yeah.  "The study was led" part is a good example of why a writer should give a once over after they write something.


Re: Study: Violent Games Do Not Desensitize Players to ...

I'm glad that this study seems to be neutral on if there is connection with vg-violence and rl-violence, and results are still pleasant, unlike those that just sticks on their anti-videogame opinions.

-----------------------------------

Why cant' the United Nations have an international law that protects artists works from censorship and banning? Cause world is still filled with chickens.

- Jussi "ZangRap" Virtanen

-----------------------------------

Why cant' the United Nations have an international law that protects artist's works from censorship and banning? Cause world is still filled with chickens.

- Jussi "ZangRap" Virtanen

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Mattsworknamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVLIgsf6qcs Jason comes to MKX, And you know what, yeah, he is right at home!05/04/2015 - 11:35pm
Mattsworknameequally importat reaons . I find it strange that worf says something i agree with so much, yet i know people who woudl fight bloodily about it. Kinda silly05/04/2015 - 10:56pm
MattsworknameI mysef love both of them, Im a huge fan of wars and trek, and It was a big part of my childhood for different, but e05/04/2015 - 10:55pm
MechaTama31I really liked the first reboot Trek. Of course, I have generally liked other Abrams movies. The newer Trek movie had its moments, but wasn't as good, imho.05/04/2015 - 10:43pm
Craig R.Wife is a huge Wars fan, doesn't think much of Abrams either. So, we've found some common ground...05/04/2015 - 10:39pm
Craig R.I'm more of a Trek than Wars fan, but haven't watched either reboot film, don't care for Abrams05/04/2015 - 10:38pm
MechaTama31RE: Trek vs. Wars, I've always liked both, and although I often hear it said that the fanbases are at odds, I have never seen a shred of that in real life. Online, sure, but the internet amplifies that kind of thing, we all know that.05/04/2015 - 10:23pm
MechaTama31Because GG "tainted" those other opinions, and you couldn't express them without also implying support for all the other crap the jerk faces did.05/04/2015 - 10:19pm
MechaTama31Any GG-related discussion I got involved in, if someone expressed anything even tangentially supportive of anything GG supported, that person was guilty by association of everything GG did (whether they mentioned GG or not).05/04/2015 - 10:18pm
MechaTama31"There's no need for anyone who's not a jerk face to admit to vile actions they didn't commit." That's a nice thought, AE, but that's certainly not how it goes down, even here.05/04/2015 - 10:17pm
Goth_SkunkI for one do agree with him. I always have, as a fan of both franchises. Hopefully with J.J. Abrams doing both the Star Wars AND the Star Trek films, that'll help mend this silly rift between fanbases.05/04/2015 - 9:50pm
MattsworknameWell said MR worf, well said, but I doubt the treks and the star wars fans agree05/04/2015 - 9:44pm
PHX CorpMichael Dorn tells Star Trek and Star Wars fans that both fanbases are all part of the same Scifi family https://twitter.com/akaWorf/status/59528225364038860805/04/2015 - 9:29pm
MattsworknameAmen andrew, Amen05/04/2015 - 8:51pm
Andrew Eisenand we can all hopefully march towards a brighter future without them. Or, ideally, they act like decent human being and tag along.05/04/2015 - 8:40pm
Andrew EisenWhatever term we use, we end up creating an us vs them scenario and that's not conducive to what any of us want to achieve. Simply call out the jerk faces, no matter where you find them or what hashtags they do or do not use, condemn the behavior...05/04/2015 - 8:39pm
Mattsworknamesee a wider variety of roles for females in games as a whole, and I would love to see more games that are headed by a feamle lead succedding Hell, some of my faves have always had females. I would love to see more05/04/2015 - 8:32pm
MattsworknameI thnk that using groups is the wrong term andrew like you said, but, whats the better term, sides or movments? anyway, I actually agree with some things that anita and others have said, i would love more well writter females in games, I would love to05/04/2015 - 8:30pm
MattsworknameTwitter has beccome a virtual garbage dump over the last few years, I dont blame people from filtering twitter the way it is now05/04/2015 - 8:21pm
MattsworknameYou make a good point, i keep thinking of these as groups but there more movments then groups, I guess.05/04/2015 - 8:20pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician