Recently, an international study confirms the connection between video games and violence. The study was lead by Jay Hull, Social Psychologist at Dartmouth College, and was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper was released on PNAS a few days ago on October 1, 2018. The verdict was exposure to violent video games is associated with increased levels of aggression over a period of time.
The authors made it specific in their studies to ensure that the effects of video games can be observed and quantified. For one, only studies that already have a history of aggression and play video games were included. Moreover, they only include participants/studies on the basis of violent video game exposure only. It should be noted that those who play violent and non-violent video games were excluded. Finally, they didn’t include studies that has them exposed to violent media other than video games. To sum it up, the studies or participants were chosen based on two merits. One, they were only exposed to violent video games; and two, have a history of aggression in the past.
Over 17,000 participants were observed among 24 studies that ranged from around three months to four years. Additionally, the participants were chosen among various parts of the world. Finally, most of these are from the age of nine to 19 of age.
The connection between video games and violence concluded?
Hull mentioned that his findings support the notion that video games and violence are linked because of the methods that were chosen. In fact, it must be pointed out that the papers only included the studies that have a history of aggression in the past. This shows that those who do not exhibit any aggressive behaviours in the past were not included. This raises more questions like whether exposure to violent video games to a nonviolent person can change a person. Therefore, we do not think this is the big full stop to the big debate that video games will lead to violence.
All in all, we agree with the author’s final statements in the study. Despite violent video games increasing aggressive behaviour, we should move past that. Instead, we should start questioning the who, why or when these effects can occur. If you wish to read the full paper, you may click here.