Chicken Soup for the homicidal soul: Gaming is good for you

I love the smell of years of experiential evidence finally gaining validity in the morning! Today, two researchers from Middlesex University are presenting the findings of a study involving 292 World of Warcraft players, ranging in age from 12 to 83, at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference. Just what did they seek to determine with their study? Whether or not violence in games has a positive or negative effect on players.

Turns out that what gamers have been saying for years is actually true, and that playing a violent game not only doesn’t turn you into a rampaging sociopath, but has a demonstrably relaxing effect on players. Granted, the test was run with World of Warcraft, so whether the test subjects were relaxed from having spent two hours gaming or simply from having gotten a fix of that sweet, sweet WoW golden brown isn’t clear.

Sadly, while the results of the study are a brief public triumph for gamers, a comment by one of the researchers is cause for a bit of eyebrow raising. 

“This will help us to develop a emotion and gaming questionnaire to help distinguish the type of gamer who is likely to transfer their online aggression into everyday life.”

I’m definitely all for removing the psyche-shattered nutters that can’t distinguish the difference between fictional violence and real violence from the general population, but the creation of a profile to single out individuals like this, while a really swell idea in theory, is a horrifying thought.  The range of personalities that play games, especially violent ones, is incredibly broad, and it’s unlikely that with our current technologies a reasonable profile to weed out psychotic morons could even be approached.

[Via MCV — Thanks, Adam] 

Qais Fulton