The age-old argument of violent video games causing aggressive behavior continues to be the topic of many debates. While a lot of experiments have already been conducted on this issue, a new series of studies performed over a ten year period by Sarah M. Coyne and Laura Stockdale may finally put an end to it.
As reported by GameSage, a recently published study titled “Growing Up with Grand Theft Auto: A 10-Year Study of Longitudinal Growth of Violent Video Game Play in Adolescents” found there to be no connection between the playing of violent video games and rise of aggressive behavior over a lengthy time period.
As mentioned in the abstract of the study, a person-centered approach was opted for in order to “examine trajectories, predictors, and outcomes of violent video game play over a 10-year period”. This approach sets this study apart from others by analyzing how variables compare with each individual and not how they correlate with other variables.
The results were grouped into three categories: high initial violence (4 percent), moderate (23 percent), and low increasers (73 percent). Furthermore, violent video games were more popular among males than they were among females. Those within the high initial violence group were more likely to be male, and after the initial wave showed signs of depression. The study notes that there was “no difference in prosocial behavior at the final time point across all the three groups, but individuals in the moderate group displayed the highest levels of aggressive behavior at the final wave.”
Violent game play at an early age may have a noticeable impact, but aggressive behavior among the low increasers group was found to be “no higher” than the high initial violence group at the final time point. This proves that while immediate change in behavior is plausible, the long-term effects of playing violent video games do not cause aggressive behavior.