Competitive Video Games Increase Aggressive Behavior

Video game violence alone doesn't increase aggressive behavior versus nonviolent games

MONDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Competitive video games produce higher levels of aggressive behavior regardless of the amount of violent content inherent in the game, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Psychology of Violence.

Paul J.C. Adachi and Teena Willoughby, Ph.D., from Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, investigated the isolated effects of video game violence and competitiveness on aggressive behavior. Pilot study 1 examined competitiveness, difficulty, and pace of action for violent and nonviolent video games. The effect of each game on aggressive behavior was compared using an unambiguous measure of aggressive behavior (i.e., the Hot Sauce Paradigm). Pilot study 2 examined competitiveness alone by matching games on difficulty and pace of action, and controlling for violence to assess the effect of video game competition on aggressive behavior.

The investigators found that video game violence was not enough to increase aggressive behavior compared with nonviolent video games. Regardless of the amount of violence in a game, competitive games produced higher levels of aggressive behavior.

"It appears that competition, not violence, may be the video game characteristic that has the greatest influence on aggressive behavior," the authors write.

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