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Violent Games Increase Hostility, Aggression

The American Psychological Association released research today (click here for the full report) suggesting “evidence that exposure to violent media [videogames] increases feelings of hostility, thoughts about aggression, suspicions about the motives of others, and demonstrates violence as a method to deal with potential conflict situations”. Numerous games on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and to a lesser extent, the GameCube, would involve such violence. Here’s what they said today in their press release:

Based on an examination of the research that shows the negative influences of violence in interactive media on youth, the American Psychological Association (APA) today adopted a resolution recommending that all violence be reduced in video games and interactive media marketed to children and youth. Additionally, the APA also encourages parents, educators and health care providers to help youth make more informed choices about which games to play.

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Research on media violence also revealed, that perpetrators go unpunished 73 percent of the time in all violent scenes. “Showing violent acts without consequences teach youth that violence is an effective means of resolving conflict. Whereas, seeing pain and suffering as a consequence can inhibit aggressive behavior�, says psychologist Elizabeth Carll, PhD, co-chair of the Committee on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media.

Studies on learning also show that active participation may influence learning more than passive observation. “Violence in video games appear to have similar negative effects as viewing violence on TV, but may be more harmful because of the interactive nature of video games,” says Dr. Elizabeth Carll, who is a private practitioner in New York and a past president of the Media Division of APA. “Playing video games involves practice, repetition, and being rewarded for numerous acts of violence, which may intensify the learning. This may also result in more realistic experiences which may potentially increase aggressive behavior,â€? added Carll.