A new University of Missouri study found that the brains of violent video game players became less responsive to violence, which in turn diminished brain response to violence.
"Many researchers have believed that becoming desensitized to violence leads to increased human aggression. Until our study, however, this causal association had never been demonstrated experimentally," said Bruce Bartholow, associate professor of psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science.
Seventy young adults were randomly assigned to play a non-violent or violent video game for 25 minutes. Immediately following the game time, researchers measured brain responses as participants viewed a series of neutral photos. Next, players competed against an opponent in a task that allowed them to give their opponent a controllable blast of loud noise. The level of that noise blast the participants set for their opponent was the measure of aggression, according to researchers.