New take on videogame-fueled aggression

By Anne Collier

Does the competition or the violence in videogames cause aggression? That was the question the authors of a study in the latest issue of the journal Psychology of Violence looked at. It was the first study to ask that question, the authors wrote, and their answer was: “It appears that competition, not violence, may be the video game characteristic that has the greatest influence on aggressive behavior.” The methodology was interesting: the hot sauce method of measuring aggression published in 1999. “In the first experiment,” USATODAY reports, “42 [male and female] college students played either the violent fighting game Conan or the non-violent but competitive racing game Fuel. After playing one of the games, students were asked to choose between one of four hot sauces (least to most hot) for another student to taste in another experiment.” The result? “No statistically significant difference between the hot sauces chosen by players of the games – suggesting that video game violence alone did not elevate aggression.” In the next experiment, 60 students played Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Left 4 Dead 2, Marble Blast Ultra or Fuel. The players of Mortal Kombat and Fuel picked hotter sauces for other players and had higher heart rates and “greater elevations in aggression” than the players of the less competitive games. Stay tuned: The study’s lead author, Paul Adachi at Brock University in Canada, told USATODAY that he’ll be conducting a large-scale longitudinal study on this next.

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