Contrary to popular belief, violent video games actually do have beneficial outcomes. Over the years, society has labeled video games of all kinds as time wasters that promote lazy behavior. However, a new study has shown that video games can be a stress reliever, but at a certain cost.
The study, conducted by assistant professor Karyn Riddle from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with two graduate students, looked into how video games can affect one's mood and behavior. The study gathered 82 undergraduates to participants, who had barely any experience with violent video games. Half of the group were assigned to play a game called "Maximum Frustration." The students who played this game were told they should be able to finish 10 levels in a short amount of time, but the game was designed to be nearly impossible to complete.
Next, all of the participants were randomly assigned to play either a violent or non-violent game. "Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage" was the violent game, while "LittleBigPlanet 2" was the non-violent game. Both were played on the PlayStation 3 platform.
After 18 minutes of playing, the students were asked to complete a survey about how they felt towards the game they had just played. The study found that frustrated players were more likely to be motivated to play at a high level, regardless of the violent or non-violent nature of the game. They also found that both video games improved the mood of the participants, reinforcing competency and enjoyment of the game, according to UPI.
There is a catch, however, when it came to the violent video game. The study found that the people who played the mroe violent one viewed the outside world as hostile, portraying aggressive tendencies in the process.
"Our results suggest that it is important to investigate players who derive real-world pleasure from violent content or who turn to violent content regularly to manage negative emotions," a researcher wrote in the conclusion of the study. "Because such motivations might more accurately reflect the gameplay experience of many players in the real world, such 'risk factors' need to be considered."