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GTA V won’t make you aggressive and violent

March 15, 2018.


GTA V. © Rockstar Games.

This is the conclusion of a long-term study that was just published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. At a time when too many people, including the President of the United States, think that video games are a part of the cause of violence among youth and bloodshed in schools, this is a conclusion that might indeed be welcomed. Previous experimental studies have focused on the short-term effects of violent video games. The current study, however, is the first to examine the long-term effects of violent video games using an impressive battery of tests: behavioural measures of aggression, sexist attitudes, empathy and interpersonal skills, predisposition to boredom, risk-taking and procrastination, mental health assessments (depression, anxiety), all before and after two months of daily video-game playing. Each day for two months, participants either played the ultra-violent Grand Theft Auto V, or a non-violent video game, Sims 3, or no video games whatsoever. No significant changes were observed among any of the three groups, not the daily violent video-game players, the daily non-violent video game players, or the control group that played no games at all.

Ars Technica, “Two months of daily GTA causes ‘no significant changes’ in behavior.”

Molecular Psychiatry, “Does playing violent video games cause aggression? A longitudinal intervention study.”