Violent video games: aggressive thoughts?

October 12, 2005

Michigan State University researchers say playing violent video games leads to brain activity patterns that may be characteristic for aggressive thoughts.

Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging study, 13 male research participants were observed playing a latest-generation violent video game. Each participant's game play was recorded and content analyzed on a frame-by-frame basis.

"There is a causal link between playing the first-person shooting game in our experiment and brain-activity patterns that are considered as characteristic for aggressive cognitions and affects," said Rene Weber, assistant professor of communication and telecommunication at MSU. "There is a neurological link and there is a short-term causal relationship."

Violent video games frequently have been criticized for enhancing aggressive reactions. "On a neurobiological level," said Weber, "we have shown the link exists."

Weber conducted the research with Klaus Mathiak of the Rheinisch-Westfalische Technical University in Aachen, Germany, and Ute Ritterfeld of the University of Southern California.

The study will be detailed in the January edition of the journal Media Psychology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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