Researcher: Violent Content Alone Does Not Increase Aggression

A psychology student at Canada’s Brock University has undertaken a study on the relation between videogames and aggression, but his research seeks to examine whether other elements of games, rather than violence only, can lead to increased hostility.

26-year old Paul Adachi, as part of his push for a PhD, has already experimented on 50 students between the ages of 17 and 19. His plan, as detailed by the Standard, involves having subjects play two games—one non-violent (the racing game Fuel) and one violent (the action-adventure title Conan)—while attempting to determine if a game’s level of competiveness, difficulty and pace of play contributed to a rising level of aggression.

Adachi measured subjects by checking out their heart rate and blood pressure after they played a game for 15 minutes.  The two games were similar in their competitiveness, difficulty and pacing, and Adachi also randomized the trial in order to take into consideration “people who are more aggressive by nature.”

The PhD candidate reported that both games produced equal levels of aggressive behavior, causing the student to state, “It appears violent content alone is not sufficient to increase aggressive behaviours.”

Adachi isn’t done with his testing just yet though. Next, he plans to attempt to isolate competiveness separately, before expanding the test to 80 participants and four videogames, “Two that are equal in violence, pace and difficulty. And two that are equal in nonviolence, pace and difficulty.”

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  1. 0
    Chris Kimberley says:

    People in general seem to equate it with increased violence.

    They also seem to think that we are having huge issues with youth violence… after all there are so many more violent crimes nowadays than when we were young’ns 😛


    Chris Kimberley

  2. 0
    edmoss87 says:

    I agree, you only have to listen to the ‘flaming’ over Modern Warfare 2 or similar;

    Case A: you win the round and get the high score, or

    Case B: you constantly get killed by better (or more underhand) players and get frustrated

    Which of these scenarios is more conducive to aggression?

    Also, frustration over single-player challenges could contribute to aggression. The gang wars in GTA: San Andreas (with their unrealistically high body count) had no effect on my aggression, but the flight school missions sure as hell did!

  3. 0
    Thad says:

    I’ve always thought that competition was more of a factor than violence — some of the biggest gaming-related shouting matches I’ve ever had were over Worms.

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