Video Game Behavior Linked to Pro-Social Behavior
As a gamer, it can be very annoying to see one of my interests and passions regularly blamed for violent crimes. This makes research into video games all the more interesting to me, to find at least more truth about the topic. Researchers at the University at Buffalo have recently studied how immoral behaviors in video games can affect people, and the result is definitely interesting.
With the plethora of video games currently available, all manner of behaviors and acts have been committed in one or another, including some that are particularly morally repugnant. For this study, the researchers had some of their 185 subjects play a shooter as a terrorist, some as a UN soldier, and asked others to recall guilt-inducing acts they had committed. Afterward they were all asked to fill out a questionnaire and guilt scale. The researchers found that the subjects felt more strongly the moral foundations they violated in the game. Because the players felt guilty about a behavior from the game, they became more morally sensitive to those behaviors outside of the game, according to the answers they provided.
This research aligns with similar studies that also considered how mediated and indirect experiences affect one's morality, though those other studies used real-world behaviors, instead of virtual worlds. It will definitely be interesting to see how video games are considered in more moral psychology studies in the future.
Source: University at Buffalo