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'Video games make you aggressive'

A study says that people who play a lot of violent computer games may become aggressive.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2006 15:06 IST

People who play a lot of violent computer games may become aggressive, says a new study that confirms a link between violent computer games and destructive behaviour.

Earlier research has found people who play such games are more likely to be aggressive though some say this just shows violent people gravitate towards them.

However, researchers at University of Missouri-Columbia monitored the brain activity of 39 game players and found changes in their brain activity when they play violent video games, reported BBC News.

They measured a type of brain activity called the P300 response, which reflects the emotional impact of an image.

The researchers gave the game players opportunity to punish a pretend opponent; those with the greatest reduction in P300 were much more severe with the kinds of punishments being picked.

"This is the first study to show that exposure to violent games has effects on the brain that predict aggressive behaviour," Bartholow, the lead researcher of the study, said.

"People who play a lot of violent video games didn't see them as much different from neutral. They become de-sensitised. However, their responses are still normal for the non-violent negative scenes," he said.

The findings will back up what many have argued over recent years with the growth in games, there may be a growth of graphic violence.

Professor David Buckingham, an expert on the media and children at the Institute of Education, added there was still no consensus on whether violent games caused aggressive behaviour or were just played by violent people.

"The debate we are seeing is very similar to the one that has raged for years about TV. The truth is there are many factors that can lead to violence, such as being withdrawn and isolated, so it is hard to say it is because of one thing.

"Some actually encourage amoral behaviour to win the game and I think parents should be talking to their children to make sure they realise this is a joke. Children are generally good at telling fantasy from reality, but parents should be discussing this."

First Published: Jan 10, 2006 15:06 IST