Do Video Games Influence Aggressive Behavior? New Study Offers Up Some Answers!

Do Video Games Influence Aggressive Behavior? New Study Offers Up Some Answers!

Video games, especially violent ones, and their influence of aggression and hostility, have been a hot topic for years. New study out of Stetson University offers up some insights into the topic.

Video games and the degree to which they influence aggression and hostility has been debated for years, especially in research and scholarly literature. A new study out of Stetson University which was recently published in Wiley Online Library's British Journal of Social Psychology is bound to throw some fuel on the fire.

The "Video Games, Frustration, Violence and Virtual Reality: Two Studies" journal article is based on research by Chris Ferguson, PhD, a professor of psychology at Stetson University, as well as Stetson alumni Anastasiia Gryshyna, Jung Soo Kim, Emma Knowles, Zainab Nadeem, Izabela Cardozo, Carolin Esser, Victoria Trebbi and Emily Willis.

They began by replicating research conducted by Andrew K. Pryzbylski, PhD, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, et al. This particular study, the "Competence-Impeding Electronic Games and Players' Aggressive Feelings, Thoughts and Behaviors" was originally published in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology back in 2014.

The first study examined two versions of Tetris with varying levels of difficulty.

The second study, which extended related concepts into the realm of virtual reality, took a slightly different path. In the second study participants played virtual reality games which differed in regards to difficulty, as the first study did, but also included varying degrees of violent content.

So what were the results? If you follow what's promoted in the media, or possibly what you hear parents tell their children, you might be surprised to learn that violent content had no influence towards hostility or aggressive behavior. The first study, which had no violent content, actually increased hostility in participants.

The results seem to support the "frustration theory of aggression", but not the theories behind violent content and its effects on gamers.

Is it players becoming frustrated while gaming, or is it the content of the game that they're playing that leads to aggressive behavior? Share your thoughts below!

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