New Metastudy Confirms Video Games Don’t Cause Real Life Violence

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video game violence
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Claims of links between video games and violence have been drawn out in popular media and news cycles for decades, no matter how many times they’re refuted. Now, a new metastudy analysing the study of video game violence in academia has ruled definitively there are no proven links between playing video games and enacting real life violence.

The new metastudy, published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, reanalysed several years of data from studies of violence and the influence of video games on the human brain. It was designed to prove or disprove a link between playing video games for longer than three months and developing aggressive real life behaviours.

Each of the 28 studies analysed ranged in size and quality but shared the goal of investigating the impact of video game violence on real life actions. Over 21,000 young people were included in total.

Lead by Massey University’s Dr Aaron Drummond, the report found any impact on aggression was “too small to be practically meaningful“. Dr Drummond said the “high-quality studies” analysed had such a small correlation between video game violence and real life aggression it was “indistinguishable from zero.”

The metastudy concluded that “current research is unable to support the hypothesis that violent video games have a meaningful long-term predictive impact on youth aggression.” It added that psychologists and other health professionals should be more forthcoming about the current state of research into video game violence and its very minor relationship with aggression in young people.

Video games are often spoken of negatively in mainstream media despite frequent studies and analysis proving no correlation between video games and violence. From the evidence available so far, video games don’t influence real life aggression in any meaningful way and should never be scapegoated.

Games can connect people, entertain through hard times and lead us to introspection. The mainstream narrative around games is evolving, but there’s a long way to go. This metastudy helps challenge those long-held biases around video games in the mainstream, but the fight won’t end here.

Comments

  • Had a friend do her PhD paper in Psychology on this subject, (predictably) confirming this result. I’ll have to check if her paper was included…
    It’s important to note that those with aggressive behaviour might play violent video games and so _appear_ to be affected by them, but it’s really just an expression of pre-existing behaviour. As all the research would indicate, there’s no discernable increase in aggression after playing a violent game. The case is as much closed, unless you’re a politician after a scapegoat.

    • I mean, I can’t confirm, but I could kill any motherf***er in my house who decided to download THE ENTIRE WORLD causing me to lag while I’m trying to game online…

  • Anyone with an IQ over 70 (so not conservatives) would have already known this. Because it’s so freaking obvious after the barest minimum of logical thought and observation.

      • While Ody’s comment is pointless bait, it’s pretty naive to question ‘bringing politics into it’.

        Blaming video games for violence is an overwhelmingly (if not universally) conservative stance. And trying to take action against video games usually involves politics.

        • You might want to have a look at who were the first ones who claimed that violence was caused by video games and heavy music in the early 90’s, cause it wasnt the ones who Ody hates.

          • It goes back a lot further than the 90s though. Billie Graham vs pinball and rock and roll in the 50s, Goebels’ desctruction of “degenerate art” and Jazz, then there’s the outrage that people waltzing to Mr Strauss’ music were actually TOUCHING and Oliver Cromwell outlawing theatre because it was “sinful” or condemning Socrates to drink poison for corrupting the youth of Athens. Don’t get me started on Moses. That guy was a banomaniac.

        • ” Blaming video games for violence is an overwhelmingly (if not universally) conservative stance. ”

          Citation please

  • Yeah, I don’t get the point of this. There’s already been multiple studies proving this over the years, basically everyone either accepts it, or will refuse to accept it regardless of what evidence there is to the contrary (or pretends they don’t to further their agenda)

  • I’ve always thought of H. G. Wells when I come across this subject. Although he was a committed pacifist he was also one of the pioneers of table top war-gaming. He (and I) saw/see no harm in providing a lightning rod for our primate urges and GTA (the original game on PS1) got me through the most mentally challenging time in my life because when it all got too much I could just go and run over pedestrians until the red mist subsided. Try doing that with Gin Rummy.

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