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Violent Video Games Don't Permanently Desensitize Players According To A New Study

By Lewis Powell , Mar 10, 2017 07:40 AM EST
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The debate whether violent video games really do have a lasting negative impact on players has been going on for a very long time. People argued that the relentless exposure of players to violence and graphic images somehow affect their behaviour and increases their aggression. However, a new study has shown that the desensitization from violent video games only lasts for a short time.

The Scientific Study

According to Greenlight Games, the study was led by German researchers, Gregor R. Szycik, Bahram Mohammadi, Thomas F. Münte and Bert T. te Wildt. The researchers used a group of 15 young men with an average age of 23 who've all played Counterstrike, Call of Duty and Battlefield. The subjects must play at least two to four hours a day for four years and more and then compared to another group of similarly aged men that didn't play video games on a daily basis and haven't played any violent video games.

To prove their study, the 15 avid gamers were shown drawings that depict neutral or violent scenes while undergoing magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI brain scans. And to ensure the accuracy of their research, the subjects were not allowed to play any games at least three hours before the test. This then allowed the researches to see what part of the brain became active during the test.

The Findings Of The Study

To get any response from the study group, the drawings that were shown to them included that of a woman who set herself on fire and a man that is being waterboarded. And based on their responses, the researchers were able to determine some important facts.

The 15 gamers appeared to be more anti-social. However, they didn't have more aggression or less empathy when compared to the control group. The researchers also found out that the gamers didn't show signs of being desensitized to violence when they judged how their brains reacted when shown the drawings.

According to Szycik, the brains of both the gamers and the control group seem to process the material in the same way. He goes on to say that, the result of their test is evidence against the desensitization hypothesis and that the impact of violent media or video games on a person is rather short lived.

However, this study may not definitely disprove the desensitization hypothesis because more studies need to be conducted to fully understand the matter. However, since this study is the first attempt to know the long-term effects of violent video games, this would go on to become a pillar for future researches of the same kind since most studies about desensitization is only about the short-term effects.

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