TAMIU Study Finds Positive Results
in Playing Violent Video Games
Playing violent video games may be good for you!
That's the conclusion from a study published in Psychiatric Quarterly, Volume
78, by a Texas A&M International University assistant professor that found
that playing violent video games has positive effects and there is little evidence
that links playing violent games with aggression.
Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson, TAMIU assistant professor of psychology, analyzed
24 published studies of violent video game effects that either examined aggressive
consequences or improvements in visuospatial cognition.
"Violent game playing may be associated with some positive effects, but
little evidence exists to link violent game playing with aggression," Dr.
He selected the studies for his meta-analysis by conducting literature searches
of all published studies between 1995 and 2007 that examined violent game playing
and either aggression or visuospatial cognition.
"The results indicated no relationship between violent game playing and
aggression, but did find that violent game playing was associated with higher
scores on measures of visuospatial cognition," Ferguson explained.
Visuospatial cognition involves cognitive abilities related to processing
and manipulating visual information. It is a form of non-verbal intelligence
that deals with tasks such as mental rotation, visual memory, visual processing
and selection. These types of tasks are relevant for a variety of careers ranging
from engineering and architecture to surgery.
"In fact, one recent study suggested that surgeons who played violent
games were better at certain kinds of surgical procedures that require good
hand-eye coordination," Ferguson added.
The results were measured by a variety of ways: mental rotation tasks; visual
attention and selection-paying attention to and reacting quickly to ambiguous
visual stimuli; and visual memory tasks, such as drawing a functional bicycle
Studies also suggested that violent games may be good vehicles for some kids
of education information and may assist in some forms of social communities,
particularly for those who may have social problems in the real world. Another
positive result found is that video game playing fosters a general sense of
well-being and taps into some general human wellness needs.
"Video games, like many forms of new media and technology, are at the
center of a 'moral panic' even within the scientific community. Certainly some
games makers deserve part of the blame for pushing the envelope, yet the scientific
community has also gotten far ahead of itself and has oftentimes given the
public poor quality information. The research on video games and aggression
simply doesn't support a link," Ferguson stressed.
"This is unfortunate because video games are very popular among youth
and we should be investigating how to use this powerful medium for positive
gains, including the use of games with some violent content, like Re-Mission,
a game that involves blowing away cancer cells and infection, as educational
tools. Games that are both exciting and fun as well as educational may be a
revolutionary development for some children who have difficulty learning through
traditional means," he concluded.
Read the study online at www.springerlink.com/content/66217176984x7477/fulltext.html
For more information, please contact Ferguson at 326.2636, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit offices in Dr. F.M. Canseco Hall, room 312F.
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