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May 4, 2011

Football games invoke more aggression than shooters

by Darren Allan

A study on the subject of computer games and violence conducted by psychologists from the university of Huddersfield has made headlines in the Daily Mail.

The Mail article reports that stronger physical and emotional reactions were provoked by volunteer gamers playing the likes of FIFA or PES rather than Call of Duty or Battlefield.

Measurements of heart rate, breathing and brain activity showed high levels of reaction and activity in a football game when a goal or foul was conceded. Whereas shooting someone in Call of Duty didn’t particularly register a reaction.

The psychologists put this down to the fact that virtual football seems more real as people can identify with it from many hours of watching or playing the sport. Whereas the vast majority of people have never shot and killed anyone, obviously, and so can’t connect to those on-screen events.

Dr Simon Goodson, one of the co-authors of the study, told the paper: “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.”

He concludes: “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.”

It’s fairly much a matter of common sense that playing a shooter does not make you a more violent person per se. People prone to violence and rage against society will enact their desires whether they’re keen gamers or not.

Although the Mail still couldn’t resist mentioning the twenty-something who went on a shooting spree in a mall in the Netherlands last month, who had reportedly been playing Modern Warfare 2.

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1 Comment »
  1. That’s amazing - in your face, parents! There are still way too many impressionable 9-14 year olds playing shooters like Call of Duty though.

    Re: The guy in the Netherlands, <1% who play these games get affected weirdly by these games, so they almost blur into reality.

    Comment by Jack — May 5, 2011 @ 11:04 am

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