The debate still rages over if playing a lot of video and PC games with violent content can actually cause a person to become violent in the real world. The latest study into this matter comes from researchers based in the University of Missouri. The verdict, as announced in this press release, claims that according to this study, people who played games with violent content are more aggressive than people who did not play such games.
According to the press release, the research involved "70 young adult participants were randomly assigned to play either a nonviolent or a violent video game for 25 minutes." Some of the games with violent content include games in the Call of Duty, Hitman, Killzone and Grand Theft Auto series. After playing the games, the participants were given tasks to perform. One of them was to "to give their opponent a controllable blast of loud noise". The study claims that the people who played the violent games "set louder noise blasts for their opponents during the competitive task – that is, they were more aggressive – than participants who played a nonviolent game."
Bruce Bartholow, an associate professor of psychology at the university, is quoted as saying, "More than any other media, these video games encourage active participation in violence. From a psychological perspective, video games are excellent teaching tools because they reward players for engaging in certain types of behavior. Unfortunately, in many popular video games, the behavior is violence."
The world is still awaiting word from the US Supreme Court on its verdict in a case that deals with this issue. It heard arguments last fall on a proposed law by the state of California that if approved would force new labels on games with violent content as well as fines to retailers if they sold those games to children. The game industry has called such a law unconstitutional and so far it has won that argument in lower court rulings. The US Supreme Court should render its verdict by the end of June.