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Video Violence Lowers Self-Esteem

By Stephen Luntz

People see themselves as less humane after playing the violent games.

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Participation in violent video games makes people rate themselves lower on measures of humanity than playing non-violent games like online tennis, a paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology reports.

Dr Brock Bastian of the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology studied players competing in violent and non-violent computer games, both against each other and against computer-generated avatars. Afterwards participants answered an eight-question survey rating themselves and the other person for characteristics such as interpersonal warmth, open-mindedness and refinement.

“There are good reasons to be concerned: the negative effects of violent video games have been well-documented and appear to be more significant than those associated with other forms of violent media,” Bastian says.

People saw themselves as less human, or at least less humane, after playing the violent games, irrespective of whether they were working with or against another person.

However, while their assessment of the other person was lower if they had competed at Mortal Kombat than Topspin Tennis, there was not a similar lowering effect in the perception of the other player if the two combined at a violent game rather than uniting on the same side of the net.

Bastian says the surveys were taken immediately after the game, and he imagines that...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.