Research: New Gaming Technology Lessens Aggression

New research from Penn State Altoona suggests that new technology such as the motion sensing technology used in the Wii does not increase aggressive behavior in players. The research, which was recently published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, was conducted by Eric Charles and a team of researchers at Penn State Altoona (thanks to PHX Corp. for the tip).

Researchers used 87 students for their study, directing them to spend 20 minutes playing the video game Punch-Out!! for Wii. Half of that group played the game in classic mode using a traditional controller, while the other half used the Wii Remote. After the entire group finished playing, researchers gave everyone a test designed gauge aggressive thoughts, including a word-completion task where they were given that start of words like "KI" which they could complete as either the violent word "kill" or the non-violent "kiss." They also played a quick-reaction-time game where they could punish their opponents by blasting them with loud noises.

Researchers claim that those who played the game with a traditional controller demonstrated greater aggression.

In a second study, participants who played the game with a traditional controller were more aggressive in the middle part of the "blast-your-opponent-with-sound" game. But those who played that same violent game with motion-capture controls were "indistinguishable" from a control group who played a "non-violent game."

"This strongly suggests that playing violent video games with motion-capture controls does not increase aggression levels," the researchers wrote.

"One potential explanation is that motion-capture technology is more cathartic than analog video-game play," the report continued. "A related explanation is that motion-capture technology requires greater physical expenditure. There is evidence that people are less violent after short periods of exercise or exertion."

Researchers are leaning towards the possibility that the link between violent video games and aggression "is far more fickle than most admit."

The next step for researchers is to find potential triggers of aggression in gamers by looking at specific aspects of video game play.

"Contrary to the fears of industry critics, this research suggests that newer technologies, which create a more realistic experience, will not necessarily increase aggression in video game players," the researchers conclude. "The majority of published studies show small effects of violent video game play on violent behavior, but this study adds to those showing that such effects may be quite fleeting."

You can check out the study here.

Source: PS Mag


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