Researchers: No Video Game-Violent Behavior Link

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Do video games trigger violent behavior? Scientific studies have found no link. Still, the persistent theory is back in the headlines after the weekend’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, the Associated Press reports. An online manifesto thought to be authored by the El Paso gunman briefly mentioned the combat game Call of Duty. President Donald Trump weighed in, charging Monday that “gruesome and grisly video games” contribute to a “glorification of violence.” Last year, Trump called video games “vicious” and summoned game-industry executives to meet at the White House , to little lasting effect. The Entertainment Software Association, the biggest video game trade group, said that “billions of people play video games worldwide, yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.”

“There are no longitudinal studies that show a link between violence and video games,” said Benjamin Burroughs, a professor of emerging media at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Certainly, there is no linkage to gun violence.” Burroughs said that some studies show a short-term increase in aggressive thoughts and feelings after playing video games, but nothing that rises to the level of violence. “Plenty of gamers and get upset when they lose or feel the game was ‘cheating,’ but it doesn’t lead to violent outputs,” he said. Patrick Markey, a psychology professor at Villanova University who focuses on video games, says that men who commit severe acts of violence actually play violent video games less than the average male. About 20 percent were interested in violent video games, compared with 70 percent of the general population, he said in his book “Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong.”

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