Some research has come to the conclusion that playing violent games makes people more aggressive in the short term, but new research (as highlighted by Forbes) shows that the competition found in many video games may be at the root of that aggression and not necessarily the violent content. Ph.D candidate Paul Adachi, the co-author of a paper to be published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence called “Demolishing the Competition: The Longitudinal Link Between Competitive Video Games, Competitive Gambling, and Aggression," finds proof that the aggression is directly related to the competition.
He came to the conclusion that aggression and competition were linked after conducting a longitudinal study based on the self-reporting of 1,771 high school students over the course of a four year period. Adachi and co-author Teena Willoughby examined a number of different genres for the study including sports and racing games because of their competitive natures. They also studied competitive forms of gambling such as poker and non-competitive forms likes raffles as part of their research.
Researchers ultimately came to the conclusion that "competitive video game play was correlated moderately positively with aggression" and that "the correlations between noncompetitive video game play and aggression were small and mostly negative. Competitive gambling also was correlated moderately positively with aggression, whereas the correlations between non-competitive gambling and aggression were small and positive."
The research also found that players who played cooperatively with each other in games were the least aggressive of all.
The competitive nature of gaming is an aspect of violent video game research that should be explored – or at least taken into account – in future studies if those studies are to be taken seriously going forward…