Politicians and lawmakers called for more research into violent video games after the Sandy Hook school tragedy.
Obviously, they wanted to point the finger (and many did without any evidence whatsoever). But with these new results, they might have to rethink the extremely insulting witch hunt.
According to a new study conducted at the University of Queensland, it seems there is no exhibited link between violent video games and anti-social behavior.
The study consisted of three separate experiments and included a total of 160 undergraduate students (55% were male) aged between 17 and 43. They were tasked with playing a randomly selected anti-social, violent, non-violent or pro-social game; Grand Theft Auto IV was the anti-social one, Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombie Mode was the violent one, the non-violent title was Portal 2 , and the pro-social game was World of Zoo . Participants played the assigned game for 20 minutes. A later phase saw the experiment reduced to only two games, but the results were identical.
Interestingly, participants thought that answering a series of questions was the key. These questions asked after their interest, frustration and arousal after playing. But in fact, the results were based on which participants simply offered to pick up the examiner's pens, which "accidentally" fell to the floor during questioning. This mirrored a study conducted in 2010 that was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
And the conclusion:
"Three experiments failed to find a detrimental effect of violent video games on pro-social behaviour, despite using contemporary and classic games, delayed and immediate test-phases, and short and long exposures."
However, the report does admit that this study doesn't represent "definitive evidence" that violent games have absolutely no detrimental effect on pro-social behavior. Still, concerns as to how much violent games affect people "may be mismatched or disproportionate." Some may ask why they weren't using kids in this study. After all, politicians are always whining about the effect violent games have on children. Well, here's the answer, once again-
Violent games aren't for kids. If they've got 'em, blame the damn parents. Can we be done now?