Playing violent video games can make some adolescents more hostile, particularly those who are less agreeable, less conscientious and easily angered. But for others, it may offer opportunities to learn new skills and improve social networking.
In a special issue of the journal Review of General Psychology, published in June by the American Psychological Association, researchers looked at several studies that examined the potential uses of video games as a way to improve visual/spatial skills, as a health aid to help manage diabetes or pain and as a tool to complement psychotherapy. One study examined the negative effects of violent video games on some people.
"Much of the attention to video game research has been negative, focusing on potential harm related to addiction, aggression and lowered school performance," said Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD, of Texas A&M International University and guest editor of the issue. "Recent research has shown that as video games have become more popular, children in the United States and Europe are having fewer behavior problems, are less violent and score better on standardized tests. Violent video games have not created the generation of problem youth so often feared."
In contrast, one study in the special issue shows that video game violence can increase aggression in some individuals, depending on their personalities.
In his research, Patrick Markey, PhD, determined that a certain combination of personality traits can help predict which young people will be more adversely affected by violent video games. "Previous research has shown us that personality traits like psychoticism and aggressiveness intensify the negative effects of violent video games and we wanted to find out why," said Markey.
Markey used the most popular psychological model of personality traits, called the Five-Factor Model, to examine these effects. The model scientifically classifies five personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness.
Analysis of the model showed a "perfect storm" of traits for children who are most likely to become hostile after playing violent video games, according to Markey. Those traits are: high neuroticism (e.g., easily upset, angry, depressed, emotional, etc.), low agreeableness (e.g., little concern for others, indifferent to others feelings, cold, etc.) and low conscientiousness (e.g., break rules, don't keep promises, act without thinking, etc.).
Markey then created his own model, focusing on these three traits, and used it to help predict the effects of violent video games in a sample of 118 teenagers. Each participant played a violent or a non-violent video game and had his or her hostility levels assessed. The teenagers who were highly neurotic, less agreeable and less conscientious tended to be most adversely affected by violent video games, whereas participants who did not possess these personality characteristics were either unaffected or only slightly negatively affected by violent video games.
"These results suggest that it is the simultaneous combination of these personality traits which yield a more powerful predictor of violent video games," said Markey. "Those who are negatively affected have pre-existing dispositions, which make them susceptible to such violent media."
"Violent video games are like peanut butter," said Ferguson. "They are harmless for the vast majority of kids but are harmful to a small minority with pre-existing personality or mental health problems."
The special issue also features articles on the positives of video game play, including as a learning tool. For example:
Video games serve a wide range of emotional, social and intellectual needs, according to a survey of 1,254 seventh and eighth graders. The study's author, Cheryl Olson, PhD, also offers tips to parents on how to minimize potential harm from video games (i.e., supervised play, asking kids why they play certain games, playing video games with their children).
Commercial video games have been shown to help engage and treat patients, especially children, in healthcare settings, according to a research review by Pamela Kato, PhD. For example, some specially tailored video games can help patients with pain management, diabetes treatment and prevention of asthma attacks.
Video games in mental health care settings may help young patients become more cooperative and enthusiastic about psychotherapy. T. Atilla Ceranoglu, M.D., found in his research review that video games can complement the psychological assessment of youth by evaluating cognitive skills and help clarify conflicts during the therapy process.
Contact Dr. Christopher Ferguson by e-mail at CJFerguson1111@aol.com; or by phone at (956) 326-2636 or (407) 384-8874 during June 1 – June 15
Contact Dr. Patrick Markey by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by phone at (610) 519-4743.
Review of General Psychology Special Issue on Video Games, Vol. 14. No. 2:
"Introduction to the Special Issue on Video Games" and "Blazing Angels or Resident Evil? Can Violent Video Games Be a Force for Good?" Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD, Texas A&M International University - http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/gpr-14-2-66.pdf and http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/gpr-14-2-68.pdf
"Vulnerability to Violent Video Games: A Review and Integration of Personality Research," Patrick M. Markey, PhD, Villanova University; Charlotte N. Markey, PhD, Rutgers University. - http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/gpr-14-2-82.pdf
"Children's Motivations for Video Game Play in the Context of Normal Development," Cheryl K. Olson, M.P.H., Sc.D., Massachusetts General Hospital - http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/gpr-14-2-180.pdf
"Video Games in Health Care: Closing the Gap," Pamela M. Kato, PhD, University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands - http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/gpr-14-2-113.pdf
"Video Games in Psychotherapy," T. Atilla Ceranoglu, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital - http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/gpr-14-2-141.pdf
The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 152,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.
Audrey Hamilton | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences