No solid link found between violent games and aggression

Sports titles more likely to create aggressive reaction

Call of Duty is frequently used as a poster game for video game violence - but according to psychologists, football titles such as FIFA and Pro Evolution invoke a more emotional, and even aggressive, response from players.


Indeed, a new study from Huddersfield University reasons that this is because "sport is closer to real life than shooting someone [in a game]". Hurrah for common sense!

The study, to be presented today at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Glasgow, investigated whether events that cause emotional responses in reality trigger similar responses when played in video games.

Huddersfield University's Simon Dr Simon Goodson and Sarah Pearson measured the heart rate, respiration and brain activity of 40 male and female participants, who played either an Xbox 360 game that involved violence or a football title. The results showed little brain activity when players killed an enemy in-game, with higher activity picked up when conceding a goal or foul.

"As participants reacted with more agitation during the football game it seems the effects of violent video games have been misrepresented in the past," said Dr Goodson.

According to The Daily Mail, he added: "There is much concern over the effects of violent video games and how these contribute to general aggression. However, this research indicates that 'killing' someone is not as 'real' as playing a sport, and that the brain recognises this and doesn't react in the same way.

"We all know how people react when England play in the World Cup, and we found these strong emotions could be reproduced by playing a football video game. The player can identify with a real-life experience and call up those emotions and aggression more easily than in a situation they would not have encountered, such as killing an individual [in an FPS].

'We've found that driving and 'road rage' scenarios also lead to people becoming angry very quickly compared with a shooting, which is likely to be the result of having experienced these feelings in real life."

He concluded (you'll like this bit, so we'll make it all bold for you): "These findings suggest it cannot be automatically assumed that violent content leads directly to aggression, and that further research should attempted to uncover the aspects of video games which can lead to an aggressive response."

The Mail's report rather spoils things by discussing of the actions of 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis, who opened fire in a shopping mall in the Netherlands last month, killing six and wounding 17... and who also played Modern Warfare 2. They were doing so well!

On a recent episode of FIVE's The Wright Stuff Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was shown alongside a report of a child who stored weapons for two gang members under his bed before a shooting. Host of the show Matthew Wright and his guests linked the incident to violent video games.

[ SOURCE: The Daily Mail ]