Violent Video Game Aggression Builds Over Time [Study]

Violent video game aggression can build over time, suggests a new study by researchers at Ohio State University.

Similar studies have found single sessions of violent video game playing to increase short-term aggression while the current study claims to be the first to document effects over a longer term.

The University findings indicate that individuals that played violent games for three consecutive days displayed higher levels of aggression. Test subjects also saw a rise in their expectations of hostility towards others, according to UPI.

Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University and co-author of the study, said the following:

“It’s important to know the long-term causal effects of violent video games, because so many young people regularly play these games. Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes. A single cigarette won’t cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression.”

Participating in the study were 70 French university students. Researchers told the group they would be taking part in a visual perception study focusing on the brightness of video games.

The students were divided and given a set of video games to play 20 minutes each day for three consecutive days. While each group was instructed to play their games in random order, one set of students were only given violent games.

Health Day reports that following the three day period participants were given two tests in order to measure results. The first test measured their hostile expectations while the second measured aggression levels. The researchers concluded that the students playing the violent video games scored higher for both tests. Bushman elaborated by saying:

“After playing a violent video game, we found that people expect others to behave aggressively. That expectation may make them more defensive and more likely to respond with aggression themselves, as we saw in this study and in other studies we have conducted. We would know more if we could test players for longer periods of time, but that isn’t practical or ethical.”

Do you agree with the study’s suggestion that violent video game aggression builds over time?