Recent studies points to gamers’ aggression is linked with frustration and failure rather than violent content.
This study was the first to not only focus on the content, but at the player’s psychological experience with video games.
Researchers found that the failure of mastering a game and its controls led to frustration and aggression, whether the game was violent or not.
“To tease out which aspects of the gaming experience lead to aggressive feelings, the researchers manipulated the interface,
controls, and degree of difficulty in custom-designed video games across six lab experiments.
Nearly 600 college-aged participants were tasked with playing the games—many of which included violent and nonviolent variations—and then were tested for aggressive thoughts, feelings, or behaviours.”
In one of the experiments the students had to hold their hand in a bowl of painfully cold water for 25 seconds,
they were lead to believe that the previous length of the time was determined by a prior participants, even though they all had the same time.
Next the students were asked to play either a simple or challenging version of Tetris, after they were asked to assign the time of which the next participant should have their hand in the cold water.
The ones that chose the harder version of Tetris assigned on average 10 seconds more of chilled water pain than those who played easy version.
Researchers found through this experiment that it was not the narrative nor the imagery,
but the lack of mastery of the game’s controls and the degree of difficulty players had completing the game that led to frustration.
The study shows that aggression is a negative side effect of the frustration felt while playing video games.
“When the experience involves threats to our ego, it can cause us to be hostile and mean to others” says Richard Ryan, one of the two psychologist leading this study.
The researchers say that the findings offer an important contribution to the debate about the effects of violent video games.
Ryan says that many critics of video games have been premature in their conclusions that violent video games cause aggression.
“It’s a complicated area, and people have simplistic views,” he explains, noting that nonviolent games like Tetris or Candy Crush can leave players as,
if not more, aggressive than games with violence, if they’re poorly designed or too difficult.
This debate has been going on for so long, video games gets blamed for horrible things that human beings do.
But this study actually shows that playing violent games won’t turn us into psychopaths, and when we get angry it’s a reaction to the frustration and failure felt when we can’t master the game or its controls.
Of course I don’t think that young children should play ultra violent shooting games, or any of that sort.
But saying that people will get violent from playing games like Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, or Call of Duty has now shown being completely ignorant.