Gamers More Agitated By Playing Sports Games Than Shooters

There's a couple of ways to look at this latest video game study out of the UK. Either there is no meaningful link between playing violent video games and aggressive behaviour, or FIFA 11 is deadlier than Modern Warfare.

Guess which one formed the headline in the British press after a study found that a kill in a combat shooter registered a much smaller amount of brain activity compared to giving up a goal or committing a foul in a soccer (sigh, football) game like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer.

"As participants reacted with more agitation during the football game, it seems the effects of violent video games have been misrepresented in the past," said Dr Simon Goodson, whose research, with Dr Sarah Pearson, was presented this week to the British Psychological Society's annual conference.

The study measured heart rate, respiration and brain activity of 80 participants, half female, half male.

"There is much concern over the effects of violent video games and how these contribute to general aggression," Goodson wrote. "However, this research indicates that 'killing' someone is not as 'real' as playing a sport and the brain recognises this and doesn't react in the same way."

Goodson adds that playing a sport in a video game feels more real to gamers, who have possibly played it and faced its consequences in real life, than a combat shooter, an experience which few have had in reality. Or it could be the fact that, in a five-minute span, an experienced player can rack up 20 kills in a shooter, whereas a 3-0 result in a 90-minute football game is considered high scoring, making those goals a ton more significant than killing a zombie.

Football Games Cause More Aggression Than Shooters, Say UK Researchers [Game Politics]


    Or that sports games don't have checkpoints, making the stakes 'higher' in terms of time investment vs progress.

    The first comment on the linked site is pretty spot on. They're comparing getting a kill (positive point for you) to losing a goal (negative point for you). It really needs to compare losing a goal with dying... If you play on XBL, there is some definite nerd rage when people die, so it'd be interesting to see how that changes the study.

      But even when you die is usually isn't a big deal. Dying just short of a really good killstreak can be frustrating, or when playing Reach I used to get frustrated when I would die when I was really close to finishing one of the daily challenges.

      However due to the fast paced nature of games like Modern Warfare and the fact that deaths don't mean too much most of them will probably be met with little frustration. It is only in some rarer causes like those stated above, or if you were on a really bad death streak they would illicit a greater reaction.

      A soccer game however, a single goal is very significant, and usually you are less likely to feel like the other guy 'got lucky' like you might in a FPS instead you see where you made a mistake and that just makes it even worse.

        Yeah that is very true. The difference in losses is big between the two, but the issue is a bit deeper than that. If they're comparing brain activity from these two events, they're effectively comparing different areas of the brain.

        A kill is going to elicit a reward response, where a death is going to elicit a negative, sad, or angry response. That's going to change the area of the brain, or the type of response it gives. It just kind of reduces the comparability of the two. I would also like to see the brain activity of getting a goal compared to getting a kill, because that would highlight the significance of the gap between them... (if that makes sense)

    Yeah, I get a bit pissed off at my NBA games. It seems sometimes the game makes you miss on purpose at some times, even if your wide open and the computer gets all these crazy shots in.

    No, FIFA 11 is more deadly.

    Absolutely amazing is watching some friends play FIFA, and how they react over it after, eg, someone on the other team steals the ball or something like that... i mean, jeez!

    Pro and anti groups both talk up realism and its affects on impressionable minds.

    What we see here is everyday 'real experiences' such as playing soccer (i.e. FIFA) is closer to being real than say a first person shooter (FPS).

    Fact is just about everyone plays sports and far less people shoot guns at people.

    Of course human minds would have more invested in 'real' games about sport rather than 'fantasy' games like shooters.

    I guess that's a real dent in the debate about violent video games.

    Again games reflect society not the other way around.

    Could the frequency of each play a part in the effect on the brain?

    I mean, playing an AFL game would probably have a lesser effect due to conceding goals being more freqent than in football.

    Its because half the time you concede a goal in FIFA/PES, its because the CPU is a hax!
    And it pisses you off.

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