UW study finds violent video games relieve short-term stress, but increase hostility
By Mark Johnson of the Journal Sentinel
July 13, 2015 10:22 a.m.
A new study by two University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students examined the impact of violent video games, finding that they can relieve stress, but boost aggression.
The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, examined responses from 82 undergraduate communications majors. Half played a nearly-impossible game appropriately called, "Maximum Frustration"; the other half went directly to the second phase of the study.
In the second phase, the frustrated and non-frustrated players were given one of two videogames to play: either a non-violent game called, "LittleBigPlanet 2," or a violent game called, "Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage." They played for 18 minutes then filled out a survey about their feelings and emotions.
Researchers found that the frustrated players were motivated to progress farther in the games; this decreased their frustration and increased enjoyment of the game. However, those who played and enjoyed the violent game tended to perceive the world in a more hostile way than those who played the non-violent game.
The study's authors, James Alex Bonus , Alanna Peebles and Karyn Riddle, concluded that video games can be used to manage unpleasant emotions, though doing so with violent games is likely to cause other problems.
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