Research: Inexperienced Violent Video Game Players Suffer from the ‘Macbeth Effect’

According to new research from the University of Luxembourg, violent video games suffer from what researchers describe as the “Macbeth Effect” (see Lady Macbeth Effect). Dr. AndrĂ© Melzer from the University of Luxembourg and Dr. Mario Gollwitzer from the Philipps-University Marburg examined the behavior of 76 players after they played 15 minutes of “violent video game play.”

These players were asked to select gift products after playing a violent video game; inexperienced players were more likely to select hygienic products such as shower gel, toothpaste and deodorant than more experienced players. Researchers came to the conclusion that inexperienced players felt higher moral distress from playing violent games.

“The need to cleanse to keep moral purity intact, the Macbeth effect, is a psychological phenomenon in which a person attempts to purify oneself in order to cope with feelings of moral distress,” says Melzer. “We find that the Macbeth effect can result from playing violent video games, especially when the game involves violence against humans.” claims Melzer. “We find that the Macbeth effect can result from playing violent video games, especially when the game involves violence against humans.”

He added that more experienced players use different strategies for coping with violence in games. Most experienced gamers probably don’t agree with the notion that when they play a violent game there is something contained therein that requires “coping.”

Future studies aimed at bridging moral psychology and the effects of violent media, will help to reveal how the long term exposure to violent media negatively affects attitudes towards aggression.

Melzer will present his full research findings at the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) World Meeting 2012 at the University of Luxembourg. The study will also be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

You can find out more here.

Source: Science Daily

Shakespeare’s Macbeth with old books and a dagger” art &copy 2012 Anneka / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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