25 Video Game Violence Studies, Summarised

25 Video Game Violence Studies, Summarised
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With video games so consistently a topic in the mass media’s examinations of the recent Sandy Hook shooting, we decided to take a look at the studies that try to determine what effect — if any — video games have on violent or aggressive behaviour. President Obama made a call for more studies, providing the CDC with $US10 million in which to do their research. But here’s a handy flash card for the ones that already exist.


  • So on adults violent games have little effect and on kids they have a larger effect.

    Maybe we should implement a ratings system so Adults can play what they want and kids don’t get access to these games.

    • +Infinite

      It seems that the entire freakin’ world has forgotten that *children* are going to be impressionable regardless of what the input is. Be it violent games, classical music, medical textbooks or a damn sandwich. The solution is so ridiculously clear, yet so greatly obscured by the obnoxious hooting and hollering of the misinformed public.

      The saddest part of all is the unified voice of a people who want to shirk responsibility for raising their kids.

      • The saddest part of all is the unified voice of a people who want to shirk responsibility for raising their kids.

        So much this!

        * Games must be censored to protect the kids.
        * Internet must be censored to protect the kids.
        * Technology Addiction is ‘ripping apart’ families.

        Perhaps if parents monitored their kids activity online — you know, like they’re supposed to — and interacted with/participated in the games they play — you know, like they’re supposed to — and perhaps not give their children all manor of internet capable hand-held devices — you know, like they’re not supposed to (unless they’re monitoring them) — Perhaps the first world would be a much better place!

  • This is just dumb. You cannot summarize in a single paragraph/image the extent of the study, the validity or if it was accepted as correct or valid by the scientific community-
    Many of these are outdated; most of them incorrectly state a connection between violence and video games that is generated by an over generalization and the misconception that correlation implies causation-
    Almost all little boys play video games.
    Many little boys are violent.
    The most obvious parallel is this:
    If video games cause violence or aggression, we should have seen an exponential rise in aggression and violence as access to video games increased.
    This is not the case.
    Misleading the public is the job of Fox News and A Current Affair.
    Don’t ruin this website too.

    • Most of that was my conclusion as well. This just summarized the findings of all these reports it didn’t suggest it supported them.

      Also, the most important correlation to me: playing games, ‘violent’ ones in particular, will raise adrenaline levels which will raise prevalence to ‘aggression’. None of these studies seamed to even consider that (the ones I read at least). I’d be interested in seeing a comparison between a group that had just participated in a sport and one that had played CS, COD or Halo.

      • I believe one of the studies did this, concluding that fantasy violence showed more aggressive emotion than sports violence, but this was only one.

    • While I agree with the first sentence, I can tell you right now, few if any of those papers are confusing correlation with causation. Seriously, the people who write, edit and review these papers are basically the best trained statisticians you can find outside of capital risk management. That said, there is a misconception that correlation is never evidence of causation. That is incorrect. In many circumstances, there is only one reasonable interpretation of the correlation (particularly if you control for other variables).

      “If video games cause violence or aggression, we should have seen an exponential rise in aggression and violence as access to video games increased.” That would be correlational evidence. In fact, there was a rise that peaked in about 1993. This may be because violent TV and films had reached saturation point, so the effect peaked. They don’t know what caused the drop.

  • Can someone please tell me how these studies can be taken seriously?

    A fair few didn’t use games (big no there) but five or six of them are from our favourite “academic” Craig Anderson: who has constantly failed to provide anything to the body of knowledge in this area.

    There is never going to be a serious study about the link between aggression and/or violence and video games because (as anyone with common-sense knows) the so called link does not exist!

    The core of the problem is addiction and not addressing it before it gets out of control. Look to the individual and not the game. Make the individual control and take responsibility of his or her actions, don’t try and make game developers be nannies to all demographics.

  • Main points I took away from that:
    Non-violent competitive games have the same effect as violent competitive games.
    Cooperative games make people less violent.

    None of the studies compared games to other media (to see if violent movie followed by violent movie causes the same responses as violent game followed by violent movie).

    None of the studies really compared heightened physical responses compared to playing high intensity sports.

    Kids shouldn’t be playing most of the games used in the studies, just as they shouldn’t be watching a lot of movies out there.

    • I agree – however, despite the lofty claim of this post there has been a lot more work in this area, much of which has looked at a much broader impact of violent media.

      And I think we need to know more; which means we need more research – particularly with immersive gaming on the horizon (think Oculus Rift).

      My interpretation is that there is some evidence to suggest a causal effect between exposure to violence (whether movies, games, sports, books, simulated or actual) and more aggressive behaviour in adults and children. Whether it is more or less evident in “interactive games” than other media seems less clear – but I think these are good questions to ask.

      Isn’t it really important we know what is actually going on here?

    • heh … and I blame games for not doing great in school. But between the two of us, the games weren’t to blame – I was just a bit lazy and looking for a scapegoat.

  • Some of this research has nothing to do with violent video games leading to more violent attitudes/behaviour in people.

    If I were to read a novel with a particularly action-packed moment my heart rate would probably increase as well. I may have heightened activity in the brain/my body that would indicate a higher level of aggression, but that is due to myself immersing in the world of the novel.

    The same can be applied to a game. We don’t have butterflies and rainbows in our brain and body when we play a violent video game, but that’s because we’re immersing ourselves in that game.

    Show a study where said ‘higher levels of aggression’ neural responses actually translates to higher levels of aggression in the real world after we’ve finished playing the game.

    Isn’t that what matters? Some permanent increase in aggressive behaviour caused by video games in adults (not children, since we already have a rating system for this very reason) long after they’ve finished playing their violent video game might be something to study if there was casuality between the two – but all these studies studying children (who aren’t supposed to play violent video games) and studies looking at people’s physical/mental responses whilst playing a violent video game are irrelevant to any discussion about the effects of violent video games.

  • Maybe for the non-violent option they should use a game like Trials: Evolution, see how non-aggressive they are then…

  • They should do a game study about how a gamer reacts when someone gets in the way of the screen (or back in the day pulled a cable out); I’m sure that heightens my aggression more than shooting a silly AI does.

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