Previous research has supported a link between violent video games and aggression by measuring the physical and mental reactions of the players. However, the choice and complexity of the video games were limited. This study used the one of the latest consoles (Xbox360) and three different game genres; a first-person-shoot-em-up (FPS), a driving game (Project Gotham Racing) and a 3D table tennis game.
Thirty participants, aged from 18 to 45, took part in the study and were measured for changes in their physical responses (EEG, breathing and heart rate) and mental responses (aggression) before and after playing.
The driving game induced the greatest change in heart rate and brain activity and surprisingly the FPS induced the smallest change.
Dr Goodson and Sarah Pearson commented: “Previous researchers have made sweeping generalisations about the nature of videogames. This study is one of the first to use one of the latest games consoles that have a much higher level of realism. Surprisingly the results showed that the driving game made participants more agitated and aggressive than the game with graphic violence. Given the high levels of realism in modern games a re-evaluation of the relationship between videogames and violence is needed.”
The British Psychological Society Annual Conference is taking place at the Holiday Inn on Brighton seafront from 1- 3 April 2009.