A study by Villanova University psychologist Patrick Markey suggests that the personality of the person playing a video game is more likely the cause of violent behaviour than the actual content of the game.
"If you're worried about a video game turning your son or daughter into a killer, don't worry about that. But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly? It's probably not the best idea to have that child play violent video games," says Markey.
"Video games are not simply good or bad for everybody. But for some individuals who have certain dispositions, if they play video games they're much more likely to be negatively affected."
Some among you may have already assumed this and believe it for yourselves, but it is good to see the concept supported by research. Markey found that people with certain personality traits, neuroticism and low agreeableness chief among them, are more likely to become more hostile from gaming.
Competitive games also add to the causes, says Markey. "We found -- irrespective of violent content -- the two highly competitive games produced more aggressive behaviour than the two less competitive games."
Will this research help debunk the idea which some people have that the content in violent games can turn every child into a savage, just waiting to take to the streets and pillage their surroundings? Maybe. At the least though, for now, it can help gamers and gaming supporters justify their position.
Don't study the video game, study the player [USA Today]