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Gaming • Mar 11, 2019

Oxford video game violence study becomes an instant meme

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As long as violence has been a part of video games, people have claimed that they contribute towards aggressive and violent behavior. However, a new study may have finally dispelled this myth.

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A study conducted by the University of Oxford tested the hypothesis that time spent playing violent video games is positively correlated with aggressive behavior in adolescents.

This study found no correlation between playing violent video games and increased aggressive behavior in teenagers. Some previous studies have suggested that violence in video games are correlated with aggressive behavior. However, the results of this study contradict those findings.

There is lots of violence in Rockstar's GTA V...

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Co-author of the study, Dr Netta Weinstein, believes presuppositions may have caused this: "Our findings suggest that researcher biases might have influenced previous studies on this topic, and have distorted our understanding of the effects of video games."

Violent games

It has long been assumed by many that increases in violent crime, aggressive and anti-social behavior can be attributed to violence in video games, especially in individual cases where mainstream media has highlighted a criminal's time spent playing games like Grand Theft Auto or even Counter-Strike.

While this study doesn't specifically measure violent crime and anti-social behavior, the results do suggest video game violence isn't something that can turn a perfectly normal member of society into something different.

Duke Nukem and Doom - two of the games attributed to aggressive behaviour in the 1990s...

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While this study doesn't specifically measure violent crime and anti-social behavior, the results do suggest video game violence isn't something that can turn a perfectly normal member of society into something different.

Games during the 90s such as Doom and Duke Nukem were the go-to examples of video game violence. Further on, the introduction of GTA 3, and the specific ability to run people over in a semi-realistic fashion, was a concern at the time for real-life behavior.

In 2019, it is games like Call of Duty and the latest GTA game (GTA V) that are the primary concerns for those that believe the violence will affect players. All of these mentioned games have an age limit of 18.

Gamers' thoughts

The overwhelming majority of video gamers don't feel any increase in aggression as a result of playing violent games. After all, if the millions of gamers worldwide did, then there would be a big problem!

Rod Breslau, an e-sports consultant, gave the succinct response to the study.

Gamers across the world share the same sentiment, and have done for many years, but an Oxford study will certainly help them in their argument.

The full paper, including the hypothesis, methodology and conclusions can be found at The Royal Society.

Others in the gaming community had more sarcastic responses.

At least the next generation of gamers can enjoy "violent" video games without the fear of becoming increasingly aggressive.