An international team of researchers has found playing violent video games not only increases aggression but can also cause players to cheat and eat more chocolate.
Study author Brad Bushman found that the effects were strongest in teen participants who scored high on a scale for “moral disengagement.” Moral disengagement is the ability for a person to convince himself or herself that ethics do not apply in a certain situation.
Of course, there is no definition of the word “ethics” but apparently, it means that people are more likely to have affairs and eat more chocolate. Everyone knows they eat a lot of chocolate in hell.
The study was based in Italy where they gave 170 teenagers playing a violent video game, such as Grand Theft Auto III, or a non-violent game like MiniGolf 3D, for a total of 45 minutes.
As the teens played, a bowl with chocolate was placed next to the gaming console. The participants were told they could eat the candy, but warned eating too much in a short time span was unhealthy.
The kids who played the violent games ate over three times as much choc as the other teens. Although we would have thought, a more active game would have resulted in a bigger appetite.
After their gaming session, the teens were given a 10-item logic test in which they would get one ticket for a prize raffle for each question they got correct. After finding out how many answers they got right, the teens were told to take the appropriate number of tickets out of an envelope while not being watched.
According to Redorbit, knowing exactly how many tickets were in the envelope, the researchers could later figure out if a participant had taken more than they had earned. Violent game players cheated about eight times more often than did those who played a nonviolent game.
The researchers also tested participants’ level of aggression by having them play a game with an unseen fictional “partner” for the chance to blast the loser with a loud noise through headphones. They found violent game players chose to blast their fictitious partners with louder noises that lasted longer than those who played nonviolent games.
Bushman said that few teens were unaffected by violent video games, but this study helps us address the question of who is most likely to be affected.
The effects were seen among both male and female participants. Even girls were more likely to eat extra chocolate, to cheat, and to act aggressively when they played Grand Theft Auto versus the mini golf or pinball game.