Researcher Compares Violent Video Game Exposure to Smoking Addiction

A recent study (dated Dec. 12) from researchers at the Ohio State University (link), equates prolonged exposure to violent games with an addiction to smoking tobacco. Research conducted at the Université Pierre-Mendès-France, and carried out by analysts at Ohio State University and the University of Hohenheim, comes to the conclusion that prolonged exposure to videogames increases aggression or aggressive behavior in players and causes them to view the world in a more violent light.

Held over three days, the research had 70 undergraduate students play 20 minutes worth of violent games like Call of Duty 4 and Condemned 2 or passive titles like DiRT 2 and Pure.

After playing the games, participants were asked to read the beginning of a story, and then come up with an ending using 20 possible actions the protagonist could take. According to the results, violent game players used a "more aggressive solution" when compared to the passive players.

Next participants were told by researchers that there was another participant in another room that they had to compete with them in a visual cue contest. The first one to finish could send the loser a "noise blast" through their headphones. Violent game players leaned towards sending the loser a louder and more prolonged sound, while passive players were kinder. The whole contest angle was not real, so no one was actually blasted with any sound, according to researchers.

Researchers concluded that those "people who played a violent video game for three consecutive days showed increases in aggressive behavior and hostile expectations each day they played" while "those who played non-violent games showed no meaningful changes in aggression or hostile expectations over that period."

Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University was co-author of the study.

"It’s important to know the long-term causal effects of violent video games, because so many young people regularly play these games," Bushman said. "Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes. A single cigarette won’t cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression."

Previous studies by Bushman and Ohio State include "Video Games Can Teach How to Shoot Guns More Accurately and Aim for the Head," "Winning Makes People More Aggressive Toward The Defeated," "Kinder, Gentler Video Games May Actually Be Good For Players," and "Does Video Game Violence Harm Teens? New Study Weighs The Evidence."

Source: Gay Gamer by way of VG247

"Three male teenagers playing video games" © 2012 auremar / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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  1. 0
    NyuRena says:

    Playing competitive games of any sort make you more aggressive. Did they have a head to head match in this "passive" game Dirt 2? I doubt it. This study does not even try to eliminate  biases and alternate causes…

    I'm 31 now, and I have been hearing this crap since I was in middle school playing mortal combat or doom etc against my father's wishes… (He believed this same BS then too.)

     After 19+ years of playing violent and non-violent games I've not gotten violent or aggressive, despite playing during my "oh so delicate formative years".

    I've found only one problem with video games. They can consume a lot of your life if you let them. END OF LIST!

    Can we stop with these biased studies already or shall we look back to the days when comic books "destroyed" the youth of that day too?

  2. 0
    GrimCW says:

    could've done that with sports fans….

    and tbh, 20 minutes? hardly prolonged exposure… question comes to mind, what were their pre-testing exposure levels to the content mentioned? as well as thoughts regarding said content?

  3. 0
    Thomas Riordan says:

    Right. I could get the same results very easily. You simply select people who are assholes to begin with and have them play the games you want to come out as the evil ones and then tailor your study to work in a manner that seems to give credibility to your stupidity. I can reproduce the same results simply by selecting assholes to play games like Mario and Barbie. Wouldn't prove a damn thing but it would be a result.

    Reading a story and choosing the next event is your test? Of course people are going to choose the more aggressive action. Otherwise the story won't go anywhere interesting so unless you're a boring person you're going to select the more interesting options. Has nothing to do with games whatsoever.  Boring people select boring forms of entertainment, interesting people don't.

    And viewing the world in a more violent light? Really? If you think the world is all sunshine and kittens then you're living with your eyes closed. Human beings are violent creatures by nature. We're not evolved, we're mindless savages always have been. We're just mindless savages with iPods and cell phones now. Are we not supposed to the view the world in a violent light? Should we really turn a blind eye to the truth? Sure, why not? This study does.

  4. 0
    ChuckLez says:

    one initial question, how long did they wait after each session before administering tests?  Other research has shown the aggression levels as higher, but only in the immediate times right after playing.  Wait about 20min (I believe the study mentioned), and the person should be practically back to normal.  If I remember correctly, this was something that warranted a long term study, but was basically impossible because everyone plays video games now.

    Also, I thought this research method (play game, blast noise in someone's ear) was basically null and void for years now (disproved and torn apart by other studies).

    Looking at their studies though, I can't imagine them researching what other papers have to say though.

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