Violence in Games

A timeline look into the violent games

Violence is not strange to humans. You and I must have encountered it in our day-to-day life. Sometimes involved in road rage or sometimes as a spectator and many times through video games. Here comes a debate. There is a common belief that video games are triggering violent behaviour in young adults. Worldwide, millions are indeed spending hours behind violent video games1.

Scientifically, we have studies supporting both sides. Analysis of the effect of violent video games and social behaviour have yielded conflicting evidence. There are studies showing the influence of video games in decreasing social behaviour2 as well studies showing close-to-zero effects of videogames on social behaviour3.

But why are we interested in violence? We like violent games. We like violent sports. Why is that? The answers are pointing to our celebrity hormone: dopamine. Recent research to understand the neuroscience of violence is revealing more scientific facts in this angle.

For now, let’s dive into the timeline of violent games through this infographic:


1. Boyle, E. A., Connolly, T. M., Hainey, T., and Boyle, J. M. (2012). Engagement in digital entertainment games: a systematic review. Comput. Hum. Behav. 28, 771–780. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.11.020

1.Teng, Z., Nie, Q., Guo, C., Zhang, Q., Liu, Y., and Bushman, B. J. (2019). A longitudinal study of link between exposure to violent video games and aggression in Chinese adolescents: the mediating role of moral disengagement. Dev. Psychol. 55, 184–195. doi: 10.1037/dev0000624

2.Anderson, C. A., Shibuya, A., Ihori, N., Swing, E. L., Bushman, B. J., Sakamoto, A., et al. (2010). Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and pro-social behavior in eastern and western countries: a meta-analytic review. Psychol. Bull. 136, 151–173. doi: 10.1037/a0018251

2.Greitemeyer, T., and Mügge, D. O. (2014). Video games do affect social outcomes: a meta-analytic review of the effects of violent and pro-social video game play. Personal. Soc. Psychol. Bull. 40, 578–589. doi: 10.1177/0146167213520459

3.Ferguson, C. J. (2015). Do angry birds make for angry children? A meta-analysis of video game influences on children’s and adolescents’ aggression, mental health, prosocial behavior and academic performance. Perspect. Psychol. Sci. 10, 646–666. doi: 10.1177/1745691615592234

3.Prescott, A., Sargent, J., and Hull, J. (2018). Meta-analysis of the relationship between violent video game play and physical aggression over time. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 115, 9882–9888. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1611617114

by Moumita Mazumdar  and Raghul M R

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