Violent or antisocial video games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto do not reliably reduce helpful behaviors in players shortly after playing, according to research published July 3 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Morgan Tear and Mark Nielsen from the University of Queensland, Australia.
Participants in the research played one of four video games for 20 minutes. At the end of the test, a researcher pretended to drop some pens and assessed how many players helped pick them up. Regardless of the game played, only about 40-60% of participants helped pick up pens at the end of the study. In a second test, they found that participants were more likely to exhibit the helpful behavior when pens were dropped half-way through the experiment rather than at the end of the exercise. 75% of people helped pick up pens if they were dropped during the task, compared to only 31% who helped if the pen-drop exercise occurred at the end of the experiment. Again, the type of video game did not influence the number of participants that helped pick up pens.
Based on these results, the authors suggest that contextual differences in the design of this experiment could change the baseline rates of helpfulness observed, but they did not find a correlation between violent or anti-social video game play and helpful behavior. The paper concludes, "We fail to substantiate conjecture that playing contemporary violent video games will lead to diminished prosocial behavior."
Tear adds, "Historically, failures to replicate in the field violent video game research have struggled for exposure. These studies highlight not only that intuitions about violent video games don't hold, but also that using the exact same procedures of past research doesn't reveal the same results."
Citation: Tear MJ, Nielsen M (2013) Failure to Demonstrate That Playing Violent Video Games Diminishes Prosocial Behavior. PLOS ONE 8(7): e68382. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0068382
Financial Disclosure: The authors have no support or funding to report.
Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068382
Disclaimer: This press release refers to upcoming articles in PLOS ONE. The releases have been provided by the article authors and/or journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these are the personal views of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLOS. PLOS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the release and article and your use of such information.
About PLOS ONE: PLOS ONE is the first journal of primary research from all areas of science to employ a combination of peer review and post-publication rating and commenting, to maximize the impact of every report it publishes. PLOS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS), the open-access publisher whose goal is to make the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.
All works published in PLOS ONE are Open Access. Everything is immediately availableŚto read, download, redistribute, include in databases and otherwise useŚwithout cost to anyone, anywhere, subject only to the condition that the original authors and source are properly attributed. For more information about PLOS ONE relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and our embargo policy, see the everyONE blog at http://everyone.plos.org/media.
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.