Research: Shooters Make You a Better Aim in Real Life

Brad J. Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, often conducts studies that almost always lead to the same conclusions: that video games are nothing but a bad influence on anyone that uses them. His past studies that draw the conclusion that video games do more harm than good are listed on his web page. So his latest research comes as no great surprise and is coincidentally timed with the Anders Breivik trial going on in Oslo Norway. Breivik claims that he trained to kill people by playing Call of Duty.

Most people would tell you that it is impossible to do that, but a new study released this week by Bushman claims that 20 minutes of playing a shooter using a gun attachment improves accuracy when using a real gun. According to the study, players who used a controller shaped like a pistol in a shooting game with human targets had 99 percent more head shots to mannequin targets using a real gun than those who played other video games. They also reportedly had 33 percent more shots hit the mannequin in various body parts. The study also concluded that those who regularly play violent shooting games were more accurate than others when shooting at the mannequin, and got more head shots. The data comes from research published in Communication Research.

Bushman co-authored the research with Jodi Whitaker, a graduate student in communication at Ohio State. The study used 151 college students who filled out questionnaires to measure their aggression levels and their attitudes toward guns, gauge their knowledge of firearms and if they had any formal training with them, and their favorite video games, and how often they played them.

The group spent 20 minutes playing a violent shooting game with realistic human targets that rewarded players for making head shots (Resident Evil 4); a non-violent shooting game with bull's-eye targets (Wii Play); or a nonviolent, non-shooting game (Super Mario Galaxy). All three titles are Wii games in case you didn't come to that conclusion sooner…

I played Gumshoe until my fingers and hands were numb, but my NES Lightgun training did nothing for my accuracy. Go figure. Resident Evil 4 for Wii didn't turn me into to Dirty Harry either.

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