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Brain differences in avid players of violent video games suggest they are “callous, cool and in control”

04 January 2018

Video games do not enjoy the best of reputations. Violent games in particular have been linked with aggression, antisocial behaviour and alienation among teens.

For example, one study found that playing a mere 10 minutes of a violent video game was enough to reduce helping behaviour in participants.

However, some experts are sceptical about whether games really cause aggression and, even if the games are to blame, it remains unclear what drives their harmful effects. Earlier studies identified empathy as a key trait that may be affected by violent gameplay.

Now a study by Laura Stockdale at Loyola University Chicago and her colleagues in Social Affective and Cognitive Neuroscience has taken a closer look at how gamers and non-gamers differ at a neural level, uncovering evidence that suggests chronic violent gameplay may affect emotional brain processing, although more research is needed to confirm this.

Read more from guest blogger Helge Hasselmann on our Research Digest blog.

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