The Daily Fail Mail has published the results of a tenuous new study that purports to link (once again) violent games with violent behavior... but this time around, it's sports titles that have come under the pseudoscientific spotlight. According to new research set for presentation today at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in Glasgow, analysis of 40 male and female players has led to the sensational conclusion that conceding goals can make people angry.
The heart rate, respiration and brainwave activity of 40 male and female subjects was measured during gaming sessions of an "Xbox 360 sports title" and a violent videogame, and apparently, the results demonstrate that killing a virtual enemy caused little in the way of a stress reaction. However, conceding weak goals and fluffing tackles created high levels of angry brain activity. Much as would happen if your team let in a soft goal during, you, know, a real football match.
So, apparently violent games don't cause violence. Sports games do.
We all know how people react when England play in the World Cup, and we found these strong emotions could be reproduced by playing a football video game.
The player can identify with a real-life experience and call up those emotions and aggression more easily than in a situation they would not have encountered, such as killing an individual. There is much concern over the effects of violent video games and how these contribute to general aggression.
However, this research indicates that “killing” someone is not as “real” as playing a sport, and that the brain recognises this and doesn’t react in the same way. - Dr Simon Goodson
However, it seems that the whole study was a complete waste of time - as even the project lead admitted that the findings don't technically prove anything in particular.
These findings suggest it cannot be automatically assumed that violent content leads directly to aggression, and that further research should attempted to uncover the aspects of video games which can lead to an aggressive response.
I apologise for wasting your time. Troll harder, Daily Mail.
In all seriousness, this study actually goes a long way towards disproving the perceived links between violent videogames and violent behaviour, and we'll keep you posted on the full report.