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Violent Video Games Reduce Stress, Up Aggression

Violent Video Games Reduce Stress, Up Aggression

New research suggests playing video games can improve mood but also may increase aggression.

The study, authored by James Alex Bonus and Alanna Peebles, graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Karyn Riddle, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, appears in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

The researchers looked at how video games may be used to manage emotions — specifically, whether playing the games can improve mood.

The participants included 82 undergraduate communication students. Most had little experience with violent video games.

For the experiment, half of the subjects were asked to play a frustrating video game called, appropriately, “Maximum Frustration.” The game is designed to be nearly impossible to complete, although the subjects were led to believe they should be able to go through all the levels in 10 minutes. The other subjects skipped the frustrating game and went directly to the next phase of the study.

The frustrated and non-frustrated subjects were then given a PlayStation 3 game — either a nonviolent one titled “LittleBigPlanet 2” or a violent game called “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage.”

They were allowed to play for 18 minutes and then completed a questionnaire about their emotions and feelings about the game.

Investigators discovered frustrated players were motivated to progress farther in the games, which decreased their frustration and boosted feelings of competency. This process of emotional restoration increased players’ enjoyment of both games.

However, those players who highly enjoyed the violent game showed a tendency to perceive the world in a more hostile way than those who played the nonviolent game.

The findings suggest that video games can be used to manage negative emotions, but doing so with violent games might be problematic. If video games are going to be sought for emotional release, the authors recommend players seek out nonviolent games.

Source: University of Wisconsin

Violent Video Games Reduce Stress, Up Aggression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Violent Video Games Reduce Stress, Up Aggression. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2015/07/10/violent-video-games-reduce-stress-up-aggression/86677.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.