No evidence that video games cause violent behaviour

VIDEO games containing gratuitous violence have long been blamed for encouraging some of the world's most sadistic criminals, but a study of keen players has found the link may be coincidental.

Spurred by the growing concern about the roles video games may have played in the lives of high profile mass-murderers Anders Breveik, James Holmes and Adam Lanza, a research team at the University of Queensland began running experiments on hundreds of fellow students.

Past research had found playing a classic pro-social video game resulted in heightened pro-social behaviour when compared to a control group whereas playing a classic violent video game had no effect.

The researchers were keen to find out whether the evolution of modern day, virtual games had changed that.

Following three separate experiments where students were taken through social tasks after being exposed to a series of classic and modern games, researchers "failed to find evidence that playing video games affects pro-social behaviour".

The report stressed that as research on the effects of gaming was of "significant public interest", speculation needed to be rigorously tested and findings replicated before the data could be relied on.

Topics:  university of queensland video games violence

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