A new research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore finds no evidence of a strong link between video game violence and aggressive behavior in players.
The study followed a “treatment” group of 75 people that had never played MMORPGs before and played Asheron’s Call 2 for the first time in the study and a control group of 138, who did not play the game. The only flaw that we initially see in reading the summaries is that the partipants, with ages from 14 to 68, were solicited through online message boards which may limit the personality types much more than a true random sample.
Dmitri Williams, the lead author of the study, found “no strong effects associated with aggression”, with no statistical difference between players and the control group on their beliefs on aggression after playing the game – for an average of 56 hours over the month. When compared to the control group, those who played the game were no more likely to argue with their friends or partners and shoed no overall increase in argumentative behavior. The study also did not find any correlation between how a player played the game and aggressive behavior.
Williams does not suggest that his study is conclusive. Rather, Williams says that their will need to be more long-term studies before conclusions on either side can be made. He also believes that future studies may need to focus more closely on younger teenagers.
What does this mean for retail businesses, game studios, publishers and parents? Quite simply, it means do not to listen to the “doomsday” claims of the major media outlets and politicians. It is difficult, if not impossible and inappropriate, to legislate morality. Games, like all activities and forms of media, require parents to be involved in their children’s lives. ESRB ratings on games are a great first step.