Yesterday, the findings from a new study from the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford was released, stating that “violent video game engagement is not associated with adolescents’ aggressive behavior.”
‘The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time,’ says lead researcher Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute. ‘Despite interest in the topic by parents and policy-makers, the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern.’
The study investigated adolescents who spent time playing video games compared to those who did not. British teenagers aged 14 to 15 as well as an equal number of their “carers” were interviewed.
‘Our findings suggest that researcher biases might have influenced previous studies on this topic, and have distorted our understanding of the effects of video games,’ says co-author Dr Netta Weinstein from Cardiff University. An important step taken in this study was preregistration, where the researchers publically registered their hypothesis, methods and analysis technique prior to beginning the research.
The preregistered hypothesis for the study was that recently playing violent video games was a positive and linear factor to “carer assessments of aggressive behavior.” The results of the Study categorically did not support this hypothesis in any fashion. The report further stated that there was no evidence of a “critical tipping point” where violent video games would be a final trigger that subsequently led to aggressive behavior. In short, “violent video game engagement, on balance, is not associated with observable variability in adolescents’ aggressive behavior.”
The study recommends further research will be needed, stating that more reports would enable scientists to evaluate the conclusions drawn from this particular study.
While no correlation was found between playing video games and aggressive behaviour in teenagers, the researchers emphasize that this does not mean that some mechanics and situations in gaming do not provoke angry feelings or reactions in players. ‘Anecdotally, you do see things such as trash-talking, competitiveness and trolling in gaming communities that could qualify as antisocial behaviour,’ says Przybylski. ‘This would be an interesting avenue for further research.
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