New study finds no link between violent games and anti-social behaviour

Violent games have no impact on pro-social behaviour, according to a recent study by an Australian university.

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A newly-released study examining the relationship between video games and behaviour has found no link between violent content and anti-social actions.

The report, conducted at the University of Queensland, found that administering a pro-social test after allowing subjects to play either a violent or non-violent video game yielded no decrease in desire to help unprompted in a social test.

The study comprised three separate experiments, and asked a total of 160 undergraduate students--55 percent of whom were male--aged between 17 and 43 to play a randomly selected anti-social (Grand Theft Auto IV), violent (Call of Duty: Black Ops’ Zombie mode), non-violent (Portal 2), or pro-social (World of Zoo) game for 20 minutes. In a later phase of the experiment, this was further reduced to two games, either Portal 2, or Grand Theft Auto IV, and saw identical results.

A third experiment used a smaller sample size, less contemporary games--Lemmings and its more violent clone, Lamers--and required only eight minutes of play, but returned similar outcomes.

While participants believed answering a series of questions about their level of interest, frustration and arousal with the game consumed constituted their involvement in the test, it was actually their willingness to help pick up the examiner's "accidentally" dropped pens that determined whether their social behaviour had been altered as a result of the time spent playing.

The experiment mirrored a study conducted in 2010 by Greitemeyer and Osswald that was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

This latest report concluded that, “Three experiments failed to find a detrimental effect of violent video games on pro-social behaviour, despite using contemporary and classic games, delayed and immediate test-phases, and short and long exposures." The report concedes that "While this study is not definitive evidence that violent video games have no detrimental effect on pro-social behaviour, it might be that previously raised concerns regarding the impact of violent games on pro-social behaviour may be mismatched or disproportionate,” supporting industry claims of a lack of connection between mature-themed games and real-world violence.

Discussion

675 comments
mr_grim_1n_only
mr_grim_1n_only

 its not that older audiences who play the game get violent but its when children experience the game it makes them think they are so cool and yet they do not understand yet the reason why these games are rated M most of the violent games play are a range from 6 and up and its the parents fault sometimes for allowing there children to play and even more stupid to buy them mics because as soon as they go online they literately harass other people that are older then them and when those people tell them to get off that cus what makes it right for them to cuz at the older audiences because you know they will just cus back and then these kids become violent and think life is like the video game they played it makes some kids angry, rude and hurtful to other kids and adults i find it silly how eb games or other stores always say you must have an adult to purchases this game but seriously you should tell them no because philology they are not fit to handle it mentally there's a reason why there's a big M slabbed on to the front of the game i played alot online with a girl and kids would always be mean and say stuff even older people but mostly young kids would talk perverted to her and it was weird this one kid would play with us and he freaking 9 or something and he would allways yell if i said anything but if the girl said something he would be fine cause he had a crush on her well i knew her longer and so it was fine but then he got really creepy and this is why parents should moniter there children he started making fake accounts and other things to get me introuble just for talking to another girl he was trying to break a relationship and this kid would never amit to it and would always be rude and say mean stuff this is a kid who plays to much video games and he and his other friends should not play m rated games there are probly other kids out there just like him so why is it games allow anyone to play not caring about the rating Money that what they want Money they dont care what people do with the game they make enough not to care the news should be looking at people selling games to younger children then the older people 

fanboy_killa
fanboy_killa

for me, after playing The Last of Us, one of the most violent games i've ever played and i've been gaming since the Atari and ColecoVision, i found myself not wanting to cause harm to another person. in some weird way it made me respect life more. but i must say the first 15 to 30 minutes of the game was quite depressing because of what happens to one of the characters. funny with this article, no matter what, the liberal media will find a way to keep video games as the scapegoat for people making stupid choices. i also am not gonna say doing something repetitive won't cause some effect...but i think people conditioned themselves to blame other things and not take a look in the mirror and blame themselves for their behavior.

lhsjazzman
lhsjazzman

People who believe games alter people and encourages them to do bad things are diluted.  They can't admit to themselves that people make their own choices.  They think that someone else makes them do everything (in a matter of speaking), so that they can then blame someone else for their poor choices and poor outcomes.

cyclonebw
cyclonebw

I think weird people are more likely to play video games, not video games make people weird. 

megakick
megakick

I think it depends on the individual, there are some who can't distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality.

SDSkarface
SDSkarface

This probably dosent apply to MMO games.. that is my favorite genre and the only type of game i play matter of fact the past 6 years i have amassed a large collection of max lvl characters on various MMO's (age of conan,Warhammer,Aion,Rift,Swtor) and i am very antisocial even on those so called social type of games. i usually play solo and never get on voice chat. And as for real life? very antisocial. i never leave the house only to go do my daily 6 mile run because its cooler to be antisocial than it is to be fat. 

myungish
myungish

Sounds about right. Hopefully this stigma that still clouds gaming, and gamers, will start to dissipate. Then again, I never underestimate the ability of the masses to ignore evidence and to continue to perpetuate their ignorance and bllind hatred. 

P.S First time I've seen 666 comments. Spooky! :P

colinbox
colinbox

 As much as I want to agree with the hypothesis that there's no link between playing violent games and anti-social behaviour, I find that the methodology used for this study has low validity, in that it doesn't relate to real-world situations.

Studies like these that are designed in mind to give a high chance of disproving the relationship usually have weak foundations, giving the opposition a soft spot to target against... In general, researchers should design an experiment that aims to disapprove of what they believe themselves, so that they would make unbiased conclusions and there's no room for conflict of interest.

The study mentioned in this article may just make the conservatives' jobs a little easier...

If you want to have a strong argument, you need to have strong evidence...

00J
00J

Oh and about the Pen drop. I wouldn't have picked up the pen because I would have known they dropped it on purpose... lol 

Haha, I'm not going to fetch someone's pen. They have two hands and they are the one that dropped it. 

Now if the person has some sort of handicap then it's a different story. Even then I would let them try to help themselves BEFORE I would try to help them get their pen... 



00J
00J

If a game is used as a scapegoat for some mental illness or some sociopath then well... 


theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

I have almost 20 years of playing, hardcore one, and even after those years any act of violence even justified ones that I see causes me deep revulsion and disgust. The games, especially the more violent as GTA, so sarcastic report the same facts that I quoted. About picturesque and grotesque behavior of the world, it can be fun to drive with a joystick but it is impossible to perpetuate it without affecting your human side, your behavior and moral nature. Actually, your morality it is the only valuable thing you have beyond any material possessions.

ddt88
ddt88

I could have told you that. If people want to ban anything, it should be toy guns for kids...

Valdomer0
Valdomer0

It's not the game, It's the person, end of story

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

surprise surprise games cant force you to think or act a certain way its your own choices for that. Glad we wasted time/money on this important study.

anvilone
anvilone

Well, of course, nobody's going off on a kill-crazy rampage after playing GTA or CoD for 20 minutes. That's not Science. Although, the ironic use of Portal 2 can't go without mention. Playing Portal 2 in a test chamber, so meta.

DesertEagle272
DesertEagle272

Nice try Australia, but Saints Row IV is still getting banned!

valknight
valknight

Come on now.. We all know that violent video games was the reason behind every massacre in history.. I mean the scotts wouldn't have rebelled if it werent for their video games. And the crusades wouldn't have happened had it not been for assasins creed back in the day.... 

Mankind is naturally violent regardless of the era and even more-so regardless of the entertainment of the time.  Sociopaths and mass murderers are psychotic, and if they were playing more violent video games maybe they could have satisfied their cravings for violence?  

zombiewarrior07
zombiewarrior07

Picking up a dropped pencil; how is that related to pro or anti-social behaviour? Isn't that really a culture specific test of altruistic behaviour? Even so, it seems to be a very lame test of dubious relevance to anti-social behaviour  (not that I'm any kinda expert on this). Incredible what these pointy head academics dream up, believing it actually has some bearing on the real world..

Honenheim
Honenheim

Well its pretty much like the buda once said " Not because someone teaches it or someone doctrines it does not make it so " ......for all we know this " new study " may become an " old study " 2 years from now, and will be replaced by another " new study "  that will mention that ps4 causes superpowers if used for more than 24 hrs.....i for one am praying for those awesome superpowers ive always wanted  :)..............*swwoooooshhh !


Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

This article has to have it wrong. The experiment can't have been decided solely by whether or not they "picked up a dropped pen". That's just... retarded.

Ramus73
Ramus73

10 million dollars to see if games were the reason warmongering gun mad Americans with easy access to guns go on gun rampages....

stev69
stev69

I play violent video games, but it has had no effect on me whatsoever, anyone who says otherwise is gonna get smashed in the face,

raduz123
raduz123

I just glanced at a violent game one time and I ended up rescuing a princess from a tower by defeating a giant lizard. I say rescue, turns out I actually kidnapped some girl from a Mexican drug cartel, I shot her dad in the knees and was tripping on mushrooms. I'm on the run.

gosushi
gosushi

Lame study, I could of told them that. I've been playing violent video games for 15 years since I was 8 and so far have only torched no more than 3 kittens so I have no idea where some people get these whacky theories from. I'd fucking kill them If ever I met them in real life.

spindie
spindie

i played a violent video game once and i have been violent ever since

HartPuncher
HartPuncher

Do this study: Talk to 15 sixth graders who don't play games like Call of Duty and GTA. Then Talk to 15  sixth graders that do and tell me which conversations make you want to hang yourself. 


The kids I meet age 12 and down that play M rated games speak better and act significantly more maturely than the kids that don't. Less afraid to talk and less afraid to be without mommy too. 

jmace1
jmace1

But Breivik had a very clear concise rationale behind his rampage, which he wrote out in great detail in his manifesto. He is under the impression that Norway is being overrun by Islam and that when Muslims become the majority of the population in the near future their "true" intentions would become known and they would attempt to convert the future religious minorities to Islam by force. He killed those children because he believed they were indirectly supporting radical Islam and religious fundamentalism by being part of the Labour Party. He views himself as a hero.

He can't train for marksmanship with Counter Strike. Saying World of Warcraft is a "violent" game is a stretch. It's certainly a time consuming game that would have isolated him from Norwegians that could've challenged his paranoid perspective. The Norwegian press is trying to sell papers and one way they can do that is by scape goating a popular yet new interactive medium; video games. It's nonsense. Everyone already knows damn well why he killed those kids and it didn't have shit to do with World of Warcraft or Counter Strike.

ovp87
ovp87

I think the debate in itself is important and interresting tough. While it might rage on in media a lot of society has already made their ruling (to my dismay).

I live in norway, after the events of 22. july and the arrest of ABB the prosecution spent a lot of time in court focusing on how he spent time playing world of warcraft, and detailing how violent this video game was. It also claimed the he practised his marksmanship skills by playing counterstrike.

Its worrying to me that my favorite passtime and hobby is equated with the actions of a mad sob. like ABB. in newspapers and courts without the other side of the debate getting any coverage.

As generations trade places, and more gamers can be found in places of influence and gaming becomes an accepted hobby for more than young children and teenagers, i suspect this debate might die down 

Im just worried about how much damage might be caused before this happends.

jmace1
jmace1

"it was actually their willingness to help pick up the examiner's "accidentally" dropped pens that determined whether their social behaviour had been altered as a result of the time spent playing."

Really? Thank God I decided to study medicine. This pseudo-science would drive me insane. Just think of all the unaccounted variables with an "accidentally" dropped pen? Distance, whether a second writing utensil was within reach, how much time did researcher allow before they attempted to pick up their damn pen themselves. This isn't science.

Not to mention only 20 minutes playing each title? How about a study where the intervention involves dozens of hours of exposure over a month. And what mission did they do in GTA IV? The beginning of the game where you just drive Roman around?  

Regardless of your opinion, this study is heaping pile of pseudo-scientific bullshit

Renegade__angel
Renegade__angel

Video games in general are much like T.V. It's another social subject to talk about amongst friends. "Hey, you played GTA IV's DLC finally?" "Yeah it was pretty great".


People think that conversation would go like this "Dude, I murdered SO many people in GTA IV last night!" 'I know, we should do it in real life!!!". Well, it's not even close what non gamers perceive it as.

JulyAeon
JulyAeon

I wonder what could be said about paint balling ?!?  Never looked at my friends the same way again...

isshiah
isshiah

I play violent games, and my sense of social decency is pretty good. Watching the daily news is more damaging. Remember that Aussie song about the horror movie called the 6.30 news?

SeAzhrei
SeAzhrei

I don't even bother reading these much anymore. Dear study-ers, don't waste your time. No matter how much *no link* you find, idiots and assholes will just ignore you and continue their crusade anyway. Reality be damned.

cuddlyfuzzle
cuddlyfuzzle

New study finds no link between Gamespot and interesting articles.

orriehd
orriehd

I've played video games of all types (from the most violent to your basic puzzler) since I could hold the original Nintendo controller.  I am 25, hold a masters degree, am married, and have never been in a physical confrontation.  Video games do what to your psyche?

shuwar
shuwar

They just proved what every gamer knows pretty well. 

Angelsoft717
Angelsoft717

Interesting study. You could make a case that since it DOESN'T affect the average human, that games are doing something to people. It's just not your social tendencies. Anybody with a brain could see they desensitize a person. But so does tv, print, everything basically downplays the value of a human life. Not exactly video games' fault.

00J
00J

@Valdomer0 It's not the game is the sociopath... end of story...

00J
00J

@DesertEagle272 Yeah, because we all know everyone will try to be a crazy looney tunes president of a virtual world and try to dubstep everyone to death... 

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@gosushi I'm reporting you to the RSPCA for those 3 kittens!! 

Oh shit, you've made me use sarcasm on the internets, now we're both going to jail : ( 

ovp87
ovp87

@jmace1 i come down on the side that most gamers seem to do on this debate (i'll let you guess wich one). That said.. 

im forced to agree. From what this article describes this study seems for the most part a waste of time and energy.

Just because the other side of this debate relies on crappy studies to "prove" their point, lets not go down that road.

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

@JulyAeon In my last paintball match we played a game where only headshots counted.

I had a perfect line-up headshot on another player, but hesitated because I knew I was about to bring the pain down on that guys head.  I only fired once, trying to aim more for his mask than his actual head.

I felt horrible afterward, apologized for shooting him even though it was the game.  It was a little closer range than I'd like, but too far away to force a surrender.

It's moments like that which remind me that games/shooting games don't really make you a violent person.  I still had compassion even in the 'heat' of the moment, so to speak.  



ovp87
ovp87

@SeAzhrei makes me wonder if this is the level that all these studies are performed at. i mean the details of how their performed this study is kinda shocking, and irrelevant to the debate going on in society at this point.

ovp87
ovp87

@Angelsoft717 or you could make a case that states that gamers are less prone to picking up dropped pens..

Syphen_bast
Syphen_bast

@Angelsoft717 TV is the main "weapon", TV is truly the biggest threat in nowadays imho!

And.....internet+bad parenting = disaster, it doesnt take a genius to figure this last one out :)

stev69
stev69

Its pretty obvious the conditions of the test were engineered to produce a specific result. Test some asian kid who plays counter strike 12 hours a day every day, I suspect they maybe less inclined to pick up your pen for you.

JulyAeon
JulyAeon

@Landsharkk @JulyAeon Deleted my first reply reason being I was too judgmental for my own liking.  Yet I still question the hairy brained idea of head shots knowing how much hurt I know I will inflict on someone.  But in game playing is different because I know the AI can't feel anything because it is fundamentally a drawing. 

Angelsoft717
Angelsoft717

@Syphen_bast I think the bad parenting thing is just an excuse. Society as a whole is obsessed with death. It's not bad parenting when at every turn your kid(even out of your control) sees death and it's shoveled down their throats. Even the strictest parents can't stop it. Even if they're reading the paper, death makes the front page more then oft. Albeit it's more "poetic" and not as graphic.

ovp87
ovp87

@Angelsoft717 I agree, there is an extreme focus on death\violance in mass media today, Gaming has taken this to a new extreme. 

However this is not a new development, its been like this for a long time, yett somehow a decade ago parents seem to be able to restrict what tv shows their kids were allowed to watch, what games they owned, etc.

Now apprently this responsability has shifted from parentage to lawmaking a lot of places. Why?

Syphen_bast
Syphen_bast

@Angelsoft717 True, i do agree with you, but ive seen bad parenting, unfortunately, people at the end of a days work are tired and sometimes stressed, and usualy use tv and a sofa to relax, whille the kids are unguarded.
I have witnessed so many stories i could be on about it all day...but my english is not that good lol