Finally scientific inquiry has helped prove something I've known for years. Violent video games don't necessarily make us violent, but being bad at a game? Like dying in the same section over and over again? Yep, that totally has the ability to elicit hostile behaviour.
The research was put together by Andrew Przybylski from Oxford University and Richard Ryan from the University of Rochester was published recently in the March edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
"Any player who has thrown down a remote control after losing an electronic game can relate to the intense feelings or anger failure can cause," said Przybylski.
600 participants took part in the study. Researchers contrasted the aggression shown after playing violent games with aggression seen in players after playing a particularly difficult version of Tetris. The more difficult the game, researchers found, the more aggressive the participants were likely to become.
It's all about the loss of control over the outcome.
"When people feel they have no control over the outcome of a game, that leads to aggression," he explains. "We saw that in our experiments. If you press someone’s competencies, they’ll become more aggressive, and our effects held up whether the games were violent or not."
The solution? Play easier games or, perhaps more importantly, play games that are well designed and fair.
The researchers claimed that a game like Tetris or Candy Crush is just as likely to make you feel aggressive as Grand Theft Auto. "When the experience involves threats to our ego, it can cause us to be hostile and mean to others," explained Richard Ryan.
I really need to stop playing Dark Souls.
Video gamers’ aggression linked to frustration [University of Rochester]