A study by Ohio State University from December 2012 explored the negative effects of violent video games on behavior was recently covered by the Seattle Times. The study found that aggressive behavior increased after three days of consecutive play on a violent video game.
This study tested 70 participants during three days of 20 minute play sessions. After each session, the participants were tested to measure their hostile expectations. The researcher’s findings indicate that a player’s hostile feelings may increase after each session and grew more aggressive after consecutive sessions.
“People who have a steady diet of playing these violent games may come to see the world as a hostile and violent place,” Bushman (lead researcher for the study) said. “These results suggest there could be a cumulative effect.”
That conclusion may not be so simple. Two similar studies, also from Ohio State University, found that games that promote cooperation help to negate aggressive behavior, even while playing violent video games. These studies found that participants that cooperate in game were far more likely to continue to be cooperative out of game.
“These findings suggest video game research needs to consider not only the content of the game but also how video game players are playing the game,” Velez (lead researcher of the second study) said.
The debate of violence in video games is back in the spotlight after the recent school shooting in Sandy Hook. President Obama has directed the Center for Disease Control to study the possible negative effects of video games that are considered violent. There is no doubt that studies like these will influence how the debate is shaped in the future.