Study: Violent video games dull feeling of guilt

Posted at 6:00 PM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 11:34:47-04

Violent video games are an everyday part of life for many Americans. So, one researcher at University at Buffalo wanted to know what kind of impact that can have on the minds of those who play the games. The results of that study show that the constant barrage of violent images can have a dulling effect on the senses. 

Maxwell Avery is a senior at the university and an avid gamer. He wasn’t part of the study. But, he understands how researchers can draw that conclusion. “I could definitely see it. When you're playing games with violence and they don't have any effect on real life but you're seeing it, it could definitely dull your senses and make you feel less remorse.”

The study asked 145 gamers to play a violent video game over the course of 4 days. In the end, researchers said they saw a decrease in guilt response amongst players.

Matthew Grizzard is an Assistant Professor conducted the study. ”Through repeated play, games kind of lose their ability to elicit guilt in the same magnitude as they originally did.” Furthermore, he said he's not surprised by his findings. But, he also said he isn't sure it will transfer over into real world experiences.

“I don't know if that's necessarily the case though because there's another explanation where games are completely artificial and so they don't really hold any real baring on the real world. If you do something bad in a game, it's not like it's going to come back to haunt you in the real world. There are no consequences with it.” Instead, Grizzard said it’s possible players may be re-interpreting the game as they continuously play it, and focusing on other aspects of the game. But, that will have to wait for another study.