Maybe it all started with the 1997 Atari 2600 title Combat , in which you were tasked with blowing up your best friend (or whoever you invited over) with a tank, bi-plane, or jet. Or maybe it was something else, but no matter what videogame first began shaping our feeble minds, one thing's for sure - violent videogames increases our violent thinking, attitudes, and behaviors, says a new study. Oh, and those shoot-em-ups you've been playing do absolutely nothing to promote positive social behaviors.
To come to the above conclusion, psychologist Craig Anderson of Iowa State University and his team combed through the results of existing studies of 130,000 people from the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Anderson says he found an association between exposure to violent games and aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive "affect."
"Videogames are neither inherently good nor inherently bad," the study says. "But people learn. And content matters."
Naturally, not everyone agrees with Anderson's findings. Two such critiques include Christopher Ferguson and John Kilburn of the department of behavioral applied science and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University. Ferguson and Kilburn point out flaws in Anderson's study, including what they believe is a selection bias, as well as a weak connection at best. Furthermore, Freguson says that violent crime in the U.S. and other developed nations has decreased over the decades, even though videogames are becoming more popular than ever.
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