Video Games and Aggression

My son is working on a paper for school and he picked the topic of video games and how they affect behavior. He primed himself by playing Assassin’s Creed for a couple of days, so he could aggressively look for sources and he found these:
Most Middle-school Boys And Many Girls Play Violent Video Games
Children’s Personality Features Unchanged By Short-Term Video Play
Study Examines Video Game Play Among Adolescents
Surgeons With Video Game Skill Appear To Perform Better In Simulated Surgery Skills Course
Online Multiplayer Video Games Create Greater Negative Consequences, Elicit Greater Enjoyment than Traditional Ones
How Violent Video Games Are Exemplary Aggression Teachers
In Video Games, Not All Mayhem Is Created Equal
Violent Video Games Can Increase Aggression
In Which Art Intimidates Life
This is your brain on violent media
Repeated Exposure to Media Violence Is Associated with Diminished Response in an Inhibitory Frontolimbic Network
Brain Changes When Viewing Violent Media
Media violence and the brain: when movies attack
This is Your Brain on Violent Media
Now he can start furiously typing his essay.
If only this image (from here) was not photoshopped, but reflected the real excitement of doing science instead of shooting at everything that moves….

5 responses to “Video Games and Aggression

  1. Thank you for the links – My wife and I were thinking of getting our 8th grade son a PS3, so your post is very timely.
    It looks to me like the literature is pretty conclusive that videogame violence = higher aggression. It would not be an altogether bad thing to increase his aggressiveness however, though limits are important, and that might be more on a case by case basis.
    I also saw one mention of a link to lower grades, but that has not been a propblem for our son to this point.
    Looks like I have a lot more work to do and a short amnount of time to do it. Thanks. 🙂
    Tell your son good luck on his paper.
    ps: Oprah called. She says Edwards is going down! Damn! I think I have been playing too many video games myself.

  2. This is the best way to learn biology, I think.

  3. I think the research project is a good one, and good luck to your son. Understanding the effects of video games is the best way we can glean their benefits and head off potential harm. I haven’t done much reading about the subject, but I have a video game enthusiast just down the hall that I observe closely.
    I think my son has gained some benefit from online video games, because he has had to think about what both his teammates and opponents are doing. He is forced to think ahead, predict behavior of others, and use in-game resources quickly, while under the stress of having opponents looking to get him.
    Many of the same mental benefits are available through team sports, with the added benefit of exercise. But the games allow a different sort of play, different resources to be used, and they are accessible when team sports are not.
    I do not worry too much about the games causing violent behavior, but I think the concern is valid. Thus far, we have a good rapport with our kids, and are pretty strict about how they behave in ‘meatspace’. I think games can be an excellent outlet. One needs to diligently teach and shepherd children, and make sure the line between fantasy and reality stays clear.

  4. Dr Croft, please button up that lab coat. These things are supposed to provide protection, and there’s no telling what damage that purple stuff can do on exposed skin, not to mention those overfull test tubes.