Video game graphics and effects are awesome, but what's the effect of graphic content?
Joey Ferguson, Deseret News (Archive)
Recent studies that examine whether violent content in video games make players more aggressive have very different conclusions.
A study led by Craig Anderson, director of Iowa State University's center for the study of violence, finds children may react more violently after playing violent video games, reports Alice Park at Time.
"What this study does is show that it’s media violence exposure that is teaching children and adolescents to see the world in a more aggressive kind of way," Anderson says. "It shows very strongly that repeated exposure to violent video games can increase aggression by increasing aggressive thinking."
Research conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Rochester in the U.S., however, demonstrates players become aggressive after playing violent video games because they are frustrated by the mechanics of the games, according to Dave Lee at the BBC.
"The study is not saying that violent content doesn't affect gamers, but our research suggests that people are not drawn to playing violent games in order to feel aggressive. Rather, the aggression stems from feeling not in control or incompetent while playing," says study co-author Richard Ryan, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester, in the BBC article.
"If the structure of a game or the design of the controls thwarts enjoyment, it is this, not the violent content, that seems to drive feelings of aggression," Ryan says.
Oxford Internet Institute researcher Andrew Przybylski, the study's lead author, says that players become aggressive and engage in "rage-quitting" when they feel a game is not going well, according to the University of Rochester website. "Any player who has thrown down a remote control after losing an electronic game can relate to the intense feelings or anger failure can cause," Przybylski says.
Ryan adds players also become frustrated if they do not master a nonviolent game, such as Candy Crush or Tetris. He believes some critics unjustly conclude that violent video games cause violent behavior.
"It's a complicated area, and people have simplistic views," says Ryan.
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