Videogames get blamed for a lot of stuff: murders, drunk driving, foul language, the downfall of Western civilization. However, this is the final straw. Games are now being blamed for doing good. A bunch of psychologists over at Iowa State University went ahead and conducted a study that they say shows that “some non-violent videogames can teach kids to be more cooperative and helpful to others.” Add another finger pointed at videogames to the list, I guess.
The study, titled (deep breathe) The Effects of Prosocial Video Games on Prosocial Behaviors: International Evidence From Correlational, Longitudinal, and Experimental Studies, was conducted in three countries with a wide range of age groups starting at fifth grade and ending in college. The different age groups were given “prosocial” games to play and then studied for varying amounts of time. According to the research those who played prosocial games were more prosocial to others in the short and long term (four months).
“Content matters, and games are excellent teachers,” the study said. “Violent content in video games can lead people to behave more aggressively. Prosocial content, in contrast, can lead people to behave in a more cooperative and helpful manner.”
The study was conducted by a group that had previously come out with a study that claimed violent videogames made people more violent, so on a whole this study is basically backing up the idea that games can change how we act. I would argue, however, that nice people are usually nice and violent people are usually violent and all a round of Gears is going to do is make everyone want some toast.
[It is my pleasure to introduce our intrepid/plucky new weekend editor, Matthew ‘Cowzilla‘ Razak! -Niero]