In what might just be the biggest breakthrough in all of psychology since Freud decided that his mother was totally hot, researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found evidence that questions the entire discussion about the link between games and violent behavior. Evidence, incidentally, that they gleaned by actually getting people to play video games. Seriously.
Titled “How gamers manage aggression: Situating skills in collaborative computer games,” researchers spent hundreds of hours playing online games and watching others do the same, which I’m guessing meant watching a bunch of League of Legends and StarCraft 2 tournaments. What the found is that a successful gamer is one who applies strategy, understanding of technical game rules, and good timing in order to get ahead while the more crass and inconsiderate gamers do relatively badly at the game.
Speaking on the discussion that has been ongoing for ages, Jonas Ivarsson says “The suggested link between games and aggression is based on the notion of transfer, which means that knowledge gained in a certain situation can be used in an entirely different context. The whole idea of transfer has been central in education research for a very long time. The question of how a learning situation should be designed in order for learners to be able to use the learned material in real life is very difficult, and has no clear answers.”
So, basically, good gamers don’t give into the violence at all while bad gamers are also bad people who’ll take their aggression out on anything. Does this refute the whole “violent games cause real world violence” inanity? Not entirely but it is a good step forward to showing that video games simply aren’t a black and white cause-effect button.