A new study suggests that aggressive behavior can be linked to the gameplay of a certain title, rather than the traditional notion of violent content being the major cause.
Non-violent Half-Life 2, anyone?
In a collaboration between the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Rochester, the researchers conducted an experiment that yielded this conclusion.
Modifying the famous shooting game Half-Life 2, the researchers created a complicated, non-violent version of the game. Respondents were divided into two groups – one of which was taught the new controls of the game, while the other had to figure out the commands on their own.
The researchers found out that the group that did not learn the controls was far more aggressive than the other.
Feeling of incompetence
“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,”said Oxford’s Dr. Andrew Pryzbylski.
“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,” added Pryzbylski.