Study shows it’s competition, not violence, that causes aggression


A study published on the website for the journal Psychology of Violence suggests that it’s not the bloody fatalities which inspire aggression, but the heated competition which leads to them. The study, led by Brock University PhD student Paul Adachi, tested players’ aggression levels after playing games on a wide spectrum of violence and competitiveness. Test subjects were asked to prepare a sauce for a taster they were told did not like spicy food. Naturally, the those who prepared the sauce after playing Mortal Kombat or Fuel were more likely to prepare a spicier sauce—out of simple frustration—than those who had played Left 4 Dead 2 or Marble Blast Ultra. Adachi puts the study into context:

“There has been a lot of research saying it’s the violence in games that causes short-term aggression,” Adachi said. ”It’s a highly debated field, with one side really saying, ‘Yes, the violent content really causes aggression,’ and the others saying, ‘There’s no way.’

“I think I’m really coming in the middle here and saying there could be some kind correlation going on, but from our studies, it doesn’t appear to be the violent content (causing aggression).”

Adachi, who pointed out the short-term nature of this test, said he plans to research the long-term effects of videogames on adolescents versus the long-term effects of sports. (If you’re a teenage FIFA hooligan, this may be the study for you). 

Lana Polansky

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