Video games can be called art. You should agree that they are already an important part of our lives. Games allow us to enter a new reality. Although we should all understand that it is virtual, not real.
Students love to play video games. This way they are distracted from the academic routine and forget about the difficulties of studying. Every teenager has his favorite video game. The topic of video games is the most popular among students. More often than not, we can hear a student ask who could write a speech for me or what level you have reached in a particular video game. There is nothing wrong with that. But it is important not to spend much time playing games. A game is a great way to relax after a hard day’s work.
Can video games give you anger issues?
Psychologists do not stop studying the impact of games on the child’s brain and making discoveries. Ever since the appearance of computer games, the heated debate does not cease. Some believe they are the undoubted evil and almost the sole cause of many bloody crimes. Others – the usual toys that replaced dolls, bears, and cars. Others find in video games an unconditional benefit: the “child” develops the brain and canalizes aggression. Where is the truth?
How video games affect the development of the child, is impossible to say for sure. It takes time, generations to change, to have something to compare it with. The world of games does not standstill. And the generation that raved about the first two-dimensional people on the screen, of course, is different from today’s children who live in a three-dimensional virtual reality. But science is not standing still, either.
One of the first studies in this area dates back to 2000. Back then, scientists proved that games were more harmful because – unlike movies or TV – they were interactive. Those who played the then fashionable Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or Mortal Kombat became prone to aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior – both in the laboratory and in life.
The experiments took place at Iowa State University (USA). In the first case, scientists went in the opposite direction. They selected 227 students, with differing unrestrained tempers and received this admonition, and studied their gaming preferences. They found a correlation between a passion for violent video games and aggressive behavior. And it’s not the fact that the playing student forgets about the textbooks and classes. We must not forget the students needs, which should include leisure time. Low academic performance was somehow related to the amount of time he spent with a joystick in his hand before entering college.
In another experiment, 210 young people were divided into two groups. The first was seated playing an aggressive (Wolfenstein 3D) game, and the second – was in a quiet (Myst). At the end of the session, they were asked to punish their opponents in the game: the same students, participants in the experiment, acted as computer characters. The punishment consisted of the students turning on loud, obnoxious noises that sounded in the headphones of their virtual opponents. The one who played the game aggressively did so for longer, with more fervor and intensity than the students in the second group. Ohio University psychology professor Brad Bushman talks about other similar experiments. “After the session, the researchers measured the participants’ level of aggression. This is done in a rather brutal way: using a so-called aggression machine, the subject sends blows of weak current to the person who was his opponent in the game. The number, strength, and duration of these impulses determine the level of aggression.
Many such experiments were conducted. Dr. Bushman notes, however, that it is impossible to take into account all the important factors in the laboratory and create conditions that are close to reality. There are special methods for overcoming such difficulties. One of them is intergroup correlational studies, which can track the influence of potentially interfering factors (level of intelligence, material well-being of participants). In this method, data is obtained once, and then analyzed and compared.
Another method is longitudinal studies. The same group of people is studied over a long time (months, years, or even decades): in this way, it is possible to trace the long-term effect of games on a person’s aggression.
Whatever the method, all the studies conducted indicate one thing: violent computer games increase gamers’ aggression levels – regardless of gender, age, or where they live. Another effect: they dull players’ senses, making them indifferent to the suffering of those around them.
However, the scientists proved what they have known for a long time. In what concerns the connection between the level of aggression and video games, experts show remarkable unanimity: 90% of pediatricians and two-thirds of sociologists, interviewed by scientists from Ohio, believe in its existence.
Interestingly, the general public does not show a similar unanimity. Both people think there is nothing wrong with games and supporters of blaming them for all the crimes in the world.
The most dangerous thing is that games are a very good teacher because of their interactive nature. The skills learned are immediately practiced.
This in no way means that computer games can push people to crime. Behind any criminal act, there are always some complex and often hidden reasons. There is no such thing as a person being pushed to murder solely by virtual shootings.
In 2015, the American Psychological Association analyzed more than 100 studies on the topic – from 2005 to 2013. The conclusion was the same. Some of the data favored committing a crime and indicated brain changes due to such leisure time, but it wasn’t enough to draw strict scientific conclusions.
“Scientists have been studying aggressive games for more than 20 years,” says Mark Appelbaum, head of the research group, “but so far we don’t have enough data to link them to violent crime. They are a risk factor – that’s all.”
Video games don’t cause aggressive behavior, they just increase the hypothetical propensity for it. And it’s not just about aggression. Canadian scientists have suggested that over-reliance on games slows down the “moral maturation” of teenagers.
The problem occurs with those teens who spend more than three hours a day in front of a screen, constantly playing violent games with little interaction in the real world. Such moral infantilism is certainly a breeding ground for crime. After all, a teenager does not know how to empathize, is not afraid to cause pain or suffering to others, does not think about the feelings of others, and in general, tends to perceive them as something abstract and illusory. Such a worldview can be more dangerous than a tendency toward aggression. However, this phenomenon has yet to be properly studied by scientists.
The data accumulated by scientists make it possible not only to draw conclusions about the psychology of players but also to somehow influence the games themselves. We have already described an experiment that showed the different effects of different types of games on the player’s state of mind. In 2014, Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute decided to study this question more thoroughly.
For a series of experiments conducted with the University of Rochester, a special game was created: a modified, nonviolent version of Half-Life 2 (the original is notable for its particular bloodthirstiness). In it, players didn’t kill opponents with extreme cruelty, but simply “tagged”, after which they disappeared into thin air.
Scientists from Oxford believe that their study is the first in which they were able to trace the very mechanism of the influence of games on aggression. They tried to find out if the very presence of violence in the game makes gamers more aggressive or some other factors.
The conclusion was: that the growth of aggressiveness is connected to the inability to control the situation – this is the reason why a player gets angry.
Six different experiments were conducted with both versions of the game. In each of them, the higher level of aggression was not shown at all by those who played the normal, hard version, but by those who felt confused.
“A player has an acute psychological need to become a winner,” Dr. Przybylski says. – If he’s confused by poor design, can’t figure out the controls, gets stuck on one level, and can’t maintain the progress he’s made, he gets angry. Certainly this need to control the game became more important to participants in the brutal version of Half-Life.
His University of Rochester colleague Prof. Richard Ryan says: “We’re not saying that violent content doesn’t affect gamers, but we think people are drawn to these games by no means to show their aggression. On the contrary, the aggression comes from not being able to win.”
Producers of video games are interested in the results of research – until now so meticulously and knowledgeably studied video games scientists have not. Now the “game-makers” have the opportunity to reduce the damage they cause to the tender psyche of the younger (and already grown-up generation). We need to think more carefully about the design, and game controls, and reduce by a couple of deciliters the amount of blood pouring on the monitor.
Also, check out our list of the Top 10 Best Adventure Games For Android And iOS!