Moral Combat: Do Violent Video Games Make Us Reflect On Morality?

July 2, 2014 3:53 PM

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Moral Combat: Do Violent Video Games Make Us Reflect On Morality?

Scholars have long debated whether playing violent video games can produce antisocial behaviors in players. Evidence has been mixed, at best, and often controversial. And youth violence has been steadily declining for decades in the United States despite the widespread proliferation of video games. A new study may help us understand why we're not seeing antisocial behaviors in-game translate to the real world. Rather than making players consider aggressive acts, such games may actually nudge them to think more morally.

Led by Matthew Grizzard at the University of Buffalo SUNY, the researchers randomized some participants to play an action game either as a terrorist (the guilt-inducing condition) or as a UN soldier (the control condition). Other participants were randomized to write a quick narrative about either a...

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