Study Finds No Connection Between Violent Video Games & Aggressive Behavior

Craig Bowman
Interesting study

A new study finds no clear link between violent video games and real-life aggressive behavior.

The researchers interviewed over 15,000 Americans about their lives at intervals from their early teens until their early thirties.

They did find that people who played video games as a child were more likely to get into fights as adults, they could not conclusively point to video games as the cause of the violent behavior.

According to the researchers gender, environment and other factors could be just as influential in leading people to be violent when they are adults.

Researchers said that their data showed that people who played video games as adolescents were more likely to fight when they were older.

Over 15,000 gamers were interviewed
Over 15,000 gamers were interviewed

However, male participants in the study were both more likely to play video games and to fight when compared to female participants.

In fact, when researchers used estimates that were better calibrated to establish causality, they found no effect from video games on violent behavior or even a small negative effect.

The researchers recommend that future studies take a look at other factors which may lead to aggressive behavior instead of assuming that the violent games lead to violent behavior.

Dr. Michael Ward of the University of Texas Arlington authored the study. He said that video games are one of the fastest evolving methods of human expression in history.

He feels that it would be unfortunate to stifle this outpouring of creativity with unnecessary content-based policies.

Fortnite is an online multiplayer video game developed by Epic Games
Fortnite is an online multiplayer video game developed by Epic Games

The University of Texas study follows on the heels of a study by the University of Oxford in Britain which also found no evidence that violent video games made people more aggressive or antisocial.

The Oxford study interviewed 1,000 teenagers. Professor Andrew Przybylski was the lead author of the Oxford study. He said that although the concept that violent video games lead to violent behavior in people, studies have not found a connection.

There is another study, though, which did find a correlation between aggression and violence in video games.

Jay Hull is the lead author of that study which studied 17,000 teenagers in Canada, Germany, Japan, and the USA.  Hull said that their study found that games could be a symptom of aggression as opposed to being the cause.

He said that children who play games could be having their ideas of right and wrong modified by the video games.

But he admitted that it is equally possible that kids with a warped idea of right and wrong may be attracted to violent video games. Either way, he finds the connection something worth being concerned about.

Another study analyzed the brainwaves of their subjects. The participants in the study were hooked to electroencephalography machines while they played either violent or non-violent video games.

The participants were then shown pictures of people looking either happy or scared. The study found that the violent games led to a reduction in empathy and an increase in emotional callousness.

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The researchers believe that violent games inhibit peoples’ ability to process emotional facial expressions.