Professor: Violent Games Absolutely Do Increase Aggressive Behavior

After poring over tons of data, one professor thinks the correlation is shockingly clear.

The subject of violent video games continues to rage, but one professor doesn't see it as a controversy. No, he thinks the answer is painfully obvious.

Ohio State University communication and psychology professor Brad Bushman gave a presentation concerning the effects of violent games (as reported by the Deseret News), and his conclusions are getting a lot of attention today. For the record, Bushman has been studying violent media for a quarter-century, and his recent findings are based on 381 studies and over 130,000 participants.

The bottom line is this:

"Playing violent video games increases aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, emotional arousal, and aggression."

"Playing violent video games increases aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, emotional arousal, and aggression."

Bushman added that violent games can make players "numb to the pain and suffering of others." Personally, I see this effect in just about everyone these days, as entertainment has continued to become more and more violent (not just video games). As for the effects, the professor claims they're "massive and statistically significant."

Now, you might not want to accept these results. Bushman understands this but would chalk up your resistance to one of the following: denial, the third-person effect, false reasoning, cognitive dissonance, or a general aversion toward being told what to do.

As for the common excuse, "I've played violent games my whole life and I've never murdered anyone," that's obviously irrelevant. Bushman reminds us that most have never "murdered anyone;" this doesn't change the possible increased aggression.

He really wants to protect our kids and with that, I have no problem.

"We don't let our kids smokes cigarettes, drink beer, or play with guns. Let's protect our children. Let's make sure they don't consume age-inappropriate media."

What I'm interested in, however, are the studies that involved adults. Bushman says there are tons of studies out there and I don't doubt it. But they all seem to target children and teens, as if those are the only individuals playing video games today. I want to see a study that specifically centers on adults, and then maybe we'll find something interesting.  Most intelligent people will accept that violent games - and all violent media - can and do have a profound impact on developing individuals. That's not in debate.

However, and I'll say this one last time: Violent games aren't made for kids. Hence, all this research wouldn't be necessary if parents actually acted like parents. Right?

Published Feb. 14th 2014
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