Violent computer games have been at the receiving end of immense ridicule as they have been said to promote aggressive behaviour in people playing such games even outside the game. This notion is known as transfer—which suggests that knowledge gained in a certain situation can be used in an entirely different context. But researchers are questioning this association between violent computer games and aggressive behaviour.
"In a nutshell, we're questioning the whole gaming and violence debate, since it's not based on a real problem but rather on some hypothetical reasoning," says Jonas Ivarsson, Docent (Reader) at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg, one of the study authors.
The research group spent hundreds of hours playing online games and observing other gamers, including on video recordings. They focused on complex games with portrayals of violence and aggressive action where the participants had to fight with and against each other. "The situations gamers encounter in these games call for sophisticated and well-coordinated collaboration. We analysed what characteristics and knowledge the gamers need to have in order to be successful," says Ivarsson.
What they found is that a successful gamer is strategic and technically knowledgeable, and has good timing. Inconsiderate gamers, as well as those who act aggressively or emotionally, generally do not do well.
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