A major new study from Hannover Medical School determined violent video games, like the Grand Theft Auto titles, won't make players more aggressive in the long-term.
Those of us who enjoy playing shooting games but can't stand the sight of a butterfly suffering in the real world may be tempted respond with a resounding "Well, duh." But parents and politicians still blame violent video games for major outbreaks of aggression.
For a time, studies appeared to lend at least a crumb of credibility to the idea that playing violent video games will make you more aggressive in turn – but the Hannover academics believe the older data may be insufficient because test subjects were studied and surveyed directly after playing a violent video game. By contrast, the Hannnover study issued brain scans and psychological questionnaires at least three hours after subjects played violent games for two hours or more.
The results were compared with a control group consisting of people who don't game on a regular basis. Neither the MRI data or the questionnaires revealed any differences in the aggression levels between the two groups.
"We hope that the study will encourage other research groups to focus their attention on the possible long-term effects of video games on human behavior," said Dr. Gregor Szycik, who headed the research.
Szycik also said the study was prompted by a growing number of parents seeking treatment and information about their kids' video game addiction. While video games don't turn people into blood-seeking monsters, it's still important to remember that doing any one activity all day every day is generally not a good idea.
(Except for breathing. You should probably keep breathing.)