Yet again, psychologists like to confirm that people who play violent video games are likely to be callous and aggressive. After having reviewed almost a decade of studies, violent video games are considered a “risk factor” that encourages aggressive behavior.
As a paradox, however, the same team of experts that has drawn the conclusion also declares that there is “insufficient evidence” as to whether games such as Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty can lead to criminal acts or not.
“The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-social behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.”
This was the report received from the association concerning the impact of aggressive video games. But some of these terms are not exactly “accessible information”, so let us look at some things that everyone should be aware of.
When we are talking about video games, we have to assume that the players are somewhat detached from the real world and try to immerse into the universe that they are being presented. But just as the real world, that universe is somewhat social, so there are some social laws that function within the game as well.
First of all, the player has a certain degree of empathy: he relates to that universe’s characters, how they feel and he can take in some of those feelings. Then we have three types of behavior that the player can experience: collective behavior, aggressive behavior and prosocial behavior.
These types of behavior are self-explanatory: the player is part of a community (either real or not) and he can choose to act in a negative manner, destroying or harming that community, or helping it in any way he can. Now our most important problem is that there are many games that, in a way, encourage antisocial, aggressive behavior.
You either need to “kill” some creature or some other player, you need to “destroy” buildings and you pretty much need to show your domination by somehow eliminating and destroying everything in your path. This is why psychologists are so worried about aggression in video games.
However, this subject is far from over. It is quite probable that the debate will go on and on simply because of a different point of view. There have been numerous psychologists and sociologists, like Nick Yee for example, who have studied the benefits of video games and, while there is a lot of killing and destroying around, it was proven that video games provide a great social experience.
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