NOV 08, 2021 10:00 AM PST

Violent Video Games Can Make Players More Aggressive, Just Not Towards Other People

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Do violent video games cause players to initiate real-life acts of aggression and violence? The question is one that’s been asked for years now, and has been the subject of a great deal of research. Opinions trend towards yes, particularly after large-scale violent acts are committed. When it comes to mass shootings, for example, politicians often hone in on the video game industry as an easy target, though researchers say such a focus may be fruitless. Overall, however, a very slim majority of Americans disagree that violent video games cause actual violence.

According to the American Psychological Association, violent video game research, though still a growing body of work, does point to behavioral changes in people who play violent video games, such as increased aggressive behavior or heightened physiological arousal. 

The link between violent video games and violence has recently been interrogated in a new research study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. A key finding in the study, conducted by Dr. Agne Suziedelyte, was that, while exposure to a newly released violent video game did cause players to be increasingly agitated and potentially cause destruction to inanimate objects, that agitation did not translate into violence against people. According to Dr. Suziedelyte, that’s a key distinction:

“Taken together, these results suggest that violent video games may agitate children, but this agitation does not translate into violence against other people – which is the type of violence which we care about most.”

Dr. Suziedelyte studied boys ages 8-18, a demographic most likely to play violent video games. She specifically focused on boys playing newly released violent videos. Econometric methods were employed to highlight potential causal effects on violence. Her overall findings suggested that there was no significant increase in violence against actual people, which she attributed to the fact that most video games are played at home, causing an “incapacitation” effect, or the idea that crime prevention can occur when people are removed from a particular community. 

Overall, while violent video games certainly affect a player’s behavior, there is no conclusive link suggesting they lead to violence against people. 

Sources: Eureka Alert!; Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization; APA; Pew Research 

About the Author
  • Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
You May Also Like
NOV 18, 2021
Immunology
Ultrasound Helps Shuttle Cancer-Killing Antibodies to the Brain
NOV 18, 2021
Ultrasound Helps Shuttle Cancer-Killing Antibodies to the Brain
Antibody therapies harness the immune system's power to fight a broad spectrum of diseases, from cancer to infectiou ...
DEC 03, 2021
Technology
New Laser Destroys Drug-Resistant Bacteria
DEC 03, 2021
New Laser Destroys Drug-Resistant Bacteria
Almost 3 million people a year in the U.S. alone are infected with bacteria deemed resistant to antibiotics, according t ...
DEC 15, 2021
Plants & Animals
A New Way to Visualize the Tree of Life, and Its Vulnerabilities
DEC 15, 2021
A New Way to Visualize the Tree of Life, and Its Vulnerabilities
The history of life on earth can be visualized as a branched tree. Some of those branches have spawned more, while other ...
DEC 23, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Space Exploration's Newest Breakthrough: Hovering Rover Propelled by Ionic Propulsion
DEC 23, 2021
Space Exploration's Newest Breakthrough: Hovering Rover Propelled by Ionic Propulsion
Many of us played with magnets when we were children, and for some, it was the first scientific principle we learned. Ma ...
DEC 30, 2021
Cardiology
X-ray Technique Shows How COVID-19 Can Damage the Heart
DEC 30, 2021
X-ray Technique Shows How COVID-19 Can Damage the Heart
SARS-CoV-2 infections, which cause COVID-19, can wreak havoc on the body. Early on in the pandemic, doctors noted that w ...
JAN 06, 2022
Neuroscience
Temple Grandin: Innovator and Advocate
JAN 06, 2022
Temple Grandin: Innovator and Advocate
Innovator and Advocate, Temple Grandin, helps the world understand the beauty of autism
Loading Comments...