Monday, 13 Apr, 2009 Science

Driving Video Games Trigger More Violence than Shoot 'em Ups


Researchers found that not only shoot 'em up violent video games set off an emotional reaction. It was discovered that some driving games can also trigger a violent emotional response, turning on more brain regions that play a role in emotional processing.

It is worth reminding that previous researches found that aggression, especially in teenagers, could be linked to playing violent video games. In order to carry out further studies, a science duet of Simon Goodson and Sarah Pearson of the University of Huddersfield in the UK, asked 30 adults from 18 to 45 years old to play three video games, including a shoot 'em up, a competitive driving game and a virtual table tennis versus computer-generated opponents. All participants were divided in 3 groups each playing one of the three video games.

During the study, researchers monitored the participants' brain activity, heart rate and breathing. In addition, volunteers had to fill a questionnaire that evaluated the level of anger, hostility and aggression.

The questionnaire showed that those who played virtual table tennis had lower level of aggressiveness compared to study participants who played the shoot 'em up and driving video game. However, when it came to brain activity analysis, researchers found that those who played the driving video game had a significant increase in their temporal lobe, a region in the brain that is linked to emotional processing.

At the same time Goodson mentioned that it would be wrong to assume that aggression is solely linked to violent content. The researcher presented the results of the study at a British Psychological Society meeting that took place in Brighton last week.

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