Do violent video games have a detrimental effect on behavior? According to a study conducted with European and American researchers, some titles would favor asocial and immoral attitudes.
Since video games have become an extremely popular entertainment, many academics have wanted to look at this activity in order to evaluate its effects on the player’s behavior or cognitive abilities. It must be said that the subject is fascinating. The immersion allowed by the technological advances is spectacular, like the graphics that come closer year after year of reality.
Today, there is a very rich scientific literature on the subject. The problem is that all studies produced so far do not reach the same conclusion. In fact, they often oppose each other, which does not facilitate a peaceful debate, especially when sordid facts appear sporadically and indict the video game.
Thus, some studies find no proven link of causality between the practice of video games and a change, even temporary, behavior, state of mind or cognitive abilities of the player. Other studies claim to have noticed positive effects ( on dreams , on the elderly , on well-being ,on brain development , on children …).
Finally, some studies emphasize that aside from the positive or even therapeutic effects that can be noticed, there is also a practice that has a negative impact on the player. This is the case, for example, of a study conducted in 2012 that mobilized researchers in the USA, France and Germany. According to her, violent video games would increase players’ aggression over time.
However, it now appears that this conclusion is supported by another analysis , reported by PS Mag , which this time involved three Italian academics, an American researcher and a Dutch expert. According to them, “violent video games glorify and reward immoral behavior (murder, assault, rape, robbery, arson, vehicle theft) “and affect the player’s attitude.
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Self-control, Cheating, Aggression …
Attention, However, this is not to say that a party to a violent video game will give birth to a licensed killer or delinquent, but the researchers wanted to check if these games promote various immoral or antisocial behaviors ( like the lack of self-control, cheating or aggression), according to the theory of moral disengagement .
In this context, 172 high school students participated in this study. They played for ten minutes to a violent video game (Grand Theft Auto III or Grand Theft Auto San Andreas) and thirty-five minutes to a non-violent video game (Pinball 3D or Mini Golf 3D). During this experiment, the researchers observed the attitude of the players in four different situations.
The first was to see self-control. During the game, players had at their disposal a bowl of treats (M & M’s) in which they could draw at leisure. They were warned, however, that it was unhealthy to eat too much and too fast. The self-control could be studied according to the weight of candies that were not consumed.
The second was to see their moral commitment after a game. A questionnaire with a grid of 1 (“strongly disagree”) 7 (“strongly agree”) was provided, with various proposals (for example: ” it is better to insult a comrade of class, because it breaks the figure is worse “).
The third looked at cheating. Players could win raffle tickets for attractive prizes (such as an iPad). They could get a raffle ticket every time they answered a problem, without the answer being clearly verified.
The fourth evaluated the aggressiveness of the players through a small game, in which the loser was inflicted a sound sanction by the winner, via headphones. Again, those who played violent video games were more likely to impose high volume penalties than those who played non-violent games.
For researchers, ” the results showed that violent video games decreased self-control and fostered increased fraud and aggression .” However, they also noted that this phenomenon has been particularly marked for people who already have a high level of moral disengagement.