Study Shows Aggression From Video Games Linked to "Incompetence"

Alex Co

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Study Shows Aggression From Video Games Linked to "Incompetence"


The University of Oxford cites aggression after playing video games are more likely to be linked to gameplay mechanics rather than violent in-game content, with the research group using Half-Life 2 as their test game.

While some Published by BBC [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/133194-Texas-Juvenile-Probation-Chief-Blames-Games-Rap-Music-For-Youth-Violence], the report states that games that have counter-intuitive or frustrating controls or gameplay mechanics produced more aggressive reactions from people. The research, which had its findings published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, sought to establish whether it was violence in video games that made players feel aggressive, or a combination of other factors. One of the studies involved modifying Valve's Half-Life 2, where the researchers created a "modified version" in which instead of killing enemies, the player can "tag" foes instead, and they'd then evaporate. This version was tested along with the normal, violent version, to a group of subjects. But one key difference was only some of the gamers were given a tutorial before playing the shooter, so they could familiarize themselves with Half-Life 2's game mechanics and controls. Researchers found that it was players who didn't undergo the tutorial that felt less competent and more aggressive, instead of the people who played the graphic version of the game.

According to Dr. Andrew Przybylski from the Oxford Internet Institute, who carried out the research along with colleagues from the University of Rochester in the US, "If players feel thwarted by the controls or the design of the game, they can wind up feeling aggressive...This need to master the game was far more significant than whether the game contained violent material." Dr. Przybylski adds, "Players of games without any violent content were still feeling pretty aggressive if they hadn't been able to master the controls or progress through the levels at the end of the session," and he also states, "We focused on the motives of people who play electronic games and found players have a psychological need to come out on top when playing,"

"Further research is needed into longer-term effects of video game violence beyond initial feelings of aggression.," states Dr. Przybylski. His colleague, and co-author Professor Richard Ryan from the University of Rochester adds, "The study is not saying that violent content doesn't affect gamers, but our research suggests that people are not drawn to playing violent games in order to feel aggressive..Rather, the aggression stems from feeling not in control or incompetent while playing." Ryan finishes by saying, "If the structure of a game or the design of the controls thwarts enjoyment, it is this not the violent content that seems to drive feelings of aggression."

While not conclusive proof that violent video games don't turn people into aggressive sociopaths, this is at least a step in the right direction and gives us a further understanding as to how some games might cause aggressive behavior in some people, instead of just blaming violent games as the cause.

Source: BBC [http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26921743]



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DrunkenElfMage

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So this study was used to prove what pretty much every gamer knows allready?

That games they suck at make them far more aggressive? Dudes shoulda just watched some Let's Play of Electronic SuperJoy.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Sep 8, 2011
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I like figuring stuff out. That wouldn't make me aggressive. But then, I'm a science geek with a degree in physics and the only thing that frustrates me is other people's incompetence. If I feel like I'm getting increasingly frustrated I just turn the thing off. I like my peace of mind and clarity of thought.

You know what is more frustrating than sucking at games? Watching other people suck at games. Especially games like Portal.
 

heroicbob

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well i would certainly believe this there are times when i have wanted to snap my keyboard in half while playing xcom on impossible difficulty
 

Metalrocks

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controls are sure one of them but this study does not really proof much which every normal gamer knows.
 

marurder

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So a multiplayer component of games (lack of control) that may be caused by gaming factors (lag, cheats, poor design via camping/level design) [compounded by] the harassment that comes with may lead to post gaming aggressive tendencies? Who would have thunk!!
 

Casual Shinji

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DrunkenElfMage said:
So this study was used to prove what pretty much every gamer knows allready?
Metalrocks said:
controls are sure one of them but this study does not really proof much which every normal gamer knows.
I think this study is more for the 'violent games make people aggressive' crowd. Ofcourse the gaming populous already knows this, but it doesn't stop others from staring themselves blind on the violent aspect. I reckon this study won't change their minds, but it's good back-up data nonetheless for when the time comes.
 

Strazdas

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May 28, 2011
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This is a nice confirmation. now i can point at this whenever i punch my keyboard for enemy AI cheating (or me sucking and blaming enemy AI). For some reason, when i play with actual players - that doesnt happen. i guess with real people i understand its just two folks beating eachother while with AI i want to be in control.
 

CyberAkuma

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They should see what LoL does to gamers... and that game has no gritty violence or realism to it what so ever
 

SinisterGehe

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When you think about it, it does make sense. Just look at children in a classroom the biggest bullies are those who either can't do the tasks or the tasks are too easy for them. Boredom and frustrations leads to misbehavior.

I work as curator and assistant conductor in 2 Junior orchestras. And few years ago I realized how to control the trio of misbehaving percussionists and few others. I walked up to them asked what is the hard bit. And played/explained/showed how to do it. And after a while they were really calm and well behaved. (I don't really have any other example from my life).

I am generally a calm person and don't mind learning mechanics myself (Unless they are batshit insane 20 step enigmas to do just basic thing, I just get bored at that point).
But something that drives me to fury and hate is whenever I see that AI CLEARLY cheats.
 

Piorn

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This is propably why I like "Super Meat Boy", but loathe "I Wanna Be The Guy".
In both games, you fully understand the controls, but in SMB, you also fully understand the gameworld. Every time you fail, it's something you see coming and just failed to counter.
In IWBTG, you can never see a death coming the first time. You can't blame yourself for failure, so you blame the game design. I know it kind of the point of IWBTG, I just don't like it, and if it wasn't such an elaborate joke game, these mechanics wouldn't be as well received.
 

TheDoctor455

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Adam Jensen said:
I like figuring stuff out. That wouldn't make me aggressive. But then, I'm a science geek with a degree in physics and the only thing that frustrates me is other people's incompetence. If I feel like I'm getting increasingly frustrated I just turn the thing off. I like my peace of mind and clarity of thought.

You know what is more frustrating than sucking at games? Watching other people suck at games. Especially games like Portal.
With games... that can only get you so far in some cases.


There have been games that refused to explain themselves properly... as in... not have a functional or useful tutorial at all... or not even try to have one at all...

and the controls and mechanics were either incredibly complex (as in say... X3), or the controls weren't designed in a logical fashion (which can happen a lot when a console developer tries to adapt the control scheme to a keyboard when they make a PC port... or vice versa) or say... the puzzles in an adventure game only make logical sense if you're on the same cocktail of drugs that the developers were on when they made it.


Or when developers have very unreasonable expectations from their players like in say... Riven the second Myst game... where a key puzzle required you to decipher an entirely alien numerical system after they only give you the first 10 numbers.

Granted, you only really have to work out the system up to 25... but...

the way they give you the first ten?

A children's toy where you have to count the number of times that a little toy prisoner drops closer to his death... and if you miscount (which is VERY easy to do), it screws everything up, and you won't realize it until hours later.

As far as I can tell... the devs of Riven seemed to think their audience was made up entirely out of Trig majors.

Did that puzzle frustrate the hell out of me? Yes.

Did it make me more aggressive? No. And I was about... eight years old when I was trying to beat Riven on my own. In the end I went "screw it" and saved up for the Prima Guide (this was slightly before GameFAQS came along) I'd pretty much solved just about everything else in the game on my own... but that one puzzle...
 

ExtraDebit

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Videogames don't turn people into sociopaths; asshole bosses, bitchy girlfriends and backstabbing friends does.

I'm speaking as a sociopath with an apathy to all things violence and cruel in videogames and other media, however I still like cats, dogs an other animals. It's humans that I hate.
 

Clovus

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TheSYLOH said:
This just in! Millions of Dark Souls players rampaging across the nation!
I can definitely get irrationally angry at games sometimes. As a kid, I once snapped a disk in half. Even as an adult, I will sometimes get frustrated enough to yell out.

I've completed Dark Souls twice and I'm currently playing Demon's Souls and never really felt angry like that though. Same thing with something like Super Meat Boy or Spelunky. The deaths in all of those games usually felt fair; it always felt like it was my fault. If anything, Dark Souls would give me that, "I can't take this," feeling, but that didn't create aggression. If I actually did a bunch of PVP, that would probably annoy me since lag can create phantom damage. And hackers.

I would say that the Trials games are fair but they would drive me crazy though. Failing at the same 5-second seemingly physically impossible obstacle over 100 times would eventually drive me nuts.

I'm not sure how I survived my teenage years playing "Nintendo Hard" games. Those were filled with clearly cheating AI (Super Tecmo Bowl) and utter BS deaths (Ninja Gaiden).
 

chikusho

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Wanna know something else that causes increased feelings of violence and aggression? Sports!
Out of all the studies performed on video games and aggression, I've yet to see a comparison to physical exertion and competition in sports, which I think is a far more relevant analogy to make than just making references to violent content.
Sports can turn people rabid, as is regularly seen in sports-related riots across the globe.
Yet, I see no politicians lobbying for protecting our children from phys.ed. :/
 

Alex Co

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SinisterGehe said:
When you think about it, it does make sense. Just look at children in a classroom the biggest bullies are those who either can't do the tasks or the tasks are too easy for them. Boredom and frustrations leads to misbehavior.

I work as curator and assistant conductor in 2 Junior orchestras. And few years ago I realized how to control the trio of misbehaving percussionists and few others. I walked up to them asked what is the hard bit. And played/explained/showed how to do it. And after a while they were really calm and well behaved. (I don't really have any other example from my life).

I am generally a calm person and don't mind learning mechanics myself (Unless they are batshit insane 20 step enigmas to do just basic thing, I just get bored at that point).
But something that drives me to fury and hate is whenever I see that AI CLEARLY cheats.
That's a very good example. Thanks for sharing. :)
 

iseko

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What causes anger and frustration? Violent videogames?
Nope, crap controls.
What causes more anger and frustration then that?
Lag
What causes more anger and frustration then that?
Putting the game on 'easy' and it translates into: fuck you and your children (miss critical quote)
What causes more anger and frustration then that?
having 16 different endings translated in pick the color that kills you
What causes more anger and frustration then that?
Not being able to log into the fucking game! Anyone remember diablo III launch?

If we find the next level it might mean nerd riots in the street. Am I forgetting any?