August 07, 2005

Grand Theft Auto Made Me Do It

The Economist takes on video games, and points to a useful experiment suggesting that video games probably don't make people more violent, or aggressive:
Two groups of subjects were recruited, none of whom had played [a particularly violent role-playing game before] before and many of whom had never played video games at all. One group then played the game for a month, for an average of nearly two hours per day. The other group acted as a control. All participants were asked questions about the frequency of aggressive social interactions (such as arguments with their spouses) during the course of the month to test the idea that gaming makes people more aggressive.

Game players, it turned out, were no more aggressive than the control group. Whether the participants had played games before, the number of hours spent gaming, and whether they liked violent movies or not, made no difference. The researchers noted, however, that more research is still needed to assess the impact of other genres, such as shoot-'em-ups or the urban violence of "Grand Theft Auto". All games are different, and only when more detailed studies have been carried out will it be possible to generalise about the impact of gaming.
At any rate, I don't play video games anymore; instead I'm trying to get in a bit of literary edification by reading Robert Graves' I, Claudius. Somewhat more highbrow, except that I just got through gladiator scene that sort of made me want to battle someone with a trident. Oh well, guess it's time to slap a rating on the cover.
-- Brad Plumer 8:37 PM || ||