Violent video games don't make you aggressive, sucking at them does

The disturbing imagery or violent storylines of videos games like World of Warcraft or Grand Theft Auto are often accused of fostering feelings of aggression in players. But a new study shows hostile behavior is linked to gamers’ experiences of failure and frustration during play—not to a game’s violent content. The study is the first to look at the player’s psychological experience with video games instead of focusing solely on its content. 

Violent video games have been a heavily debated topic among psychologists and those in the media for years but according to a new study, it’s not the content of games that is causing issues but rather the gameplay mechanics. The study, conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Rochester, found that incompetence was a major cause of aggressive behavior after playing a game. One of the six studies carried out by researchers had gamers play a modified version of Valve’s Half-Life 2 in which enemies would simply disappear when “marked” instead of having a player kill them. When compared to those playing the original game, they found no significant difference in aggression after playing.

Read full article