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Researchers Find Desensitization Occurs with Gamers in Video Games

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 07:58AM
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As technology has advanced, video games have benefited with richer and sharper graphics, which is well demonstrated now by the virtual reality displays currently available and those scheduled to release later this year. This realism has resulted in several studies finding players will actually feel guilty after amoral acts, such as unjustified violence. Now researchers at the University of Buffalo have discovered gamers can become desensitized as they continue to play a particular game, and this spills over to similar games.

A sometimes used defense of violence in video games is that actions in a virtual world do not translate to the real world, but the findings that gamers feel guilty after committing these virtual acts would seem to challenge that claim. This new study adds on that playing a violent game over and over again desensitizes the player to this guilt, and that this applies to similar games as well. Why this happens and what the mechanisms are behind the desensitization is unclear though.

Currently the researchers have two arguments, with the first being that games become less sensitive to the stimuli causing guilt. The second argument considers tunnel vision, with a gamer's perception changing from that of a non-gamer with repeatedly play. Eventually a gamer might just be processing what they see differently, disregarding meaningless information and coming to recognize how artificial the virtual environment is. The researchers are planning future work to try to answer determine what the answer is.

Source: University of Buffalo



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