As silly as it might seem, violence in video games and its effect on players has been the subject of much debate over the years but this week, the psychologists over at Frontiers published a study to try and come to a conclusion once and for all. This team used games like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike to measure the long term effects that playing a violent video game might have… only to find that there weren't really any.
The researchers based in Germany used functional magnetic resonance imaging on players who had been subjected to at least several hours of violent games like Call of Duty or Counter-Strike for more than four years. This is important as it allows the measurement of long-term effects, whereas the majority of studies into the effects of violent video games have only explored short-term effects.
The participants in this study were all male and on average, played for around four hours a day over the course of several years. The effects playing these games had on their emotional and neural responses to depictions of real-world violence were then compared to a separate group of non-gamers, finding that there was zero difference between those who hadn't played a game in their life and those that played regularly.
A Psychological questionnaire was given to both sets of gamers and non-gamers, revealing no differences in measures of aggression and empathy between the two groups. It is also important to note that none of those taking part in the study had any psychological disorders beforehand,
KitGuru Says: While this study might not completely end the debate surrounding violence in video games, it is nice to have some results to throw out there the next time someone claims Grand Theft Auto is turning people into criminals.