Opponents of violent imagery in video games have been stymied for years by the fact that no actual evidence existed to support their theory that in-game behavior led to in-life behavior. After all, Grand Theft Auto didn't lead to a suburban car theft and prostitute rape epidemic. Bioshock didn't lead to the mass murder of libertarians. LA Noire didn't cause police to be any more crooked than they already were. But now, new research has linked violent video games to a change in thought patterns that could lead to violent behavior in men.

According to Futurity, researchers at Indiana University have found what they say is preliminary evidence that video game playing and a decrease in both cognitive function and brain control are linked. The study analyzed the brain patterns of 28 men between the ages of 18 and 29 who had little prior exposure to violent video games. The men were randomly assigned to one of two groups— the first group was told to play 10 hours of violent video games over the course of a week, and then refrain from playing for one week. The other group was told to forsake video games altogether for a two week period.

Subjects and researchers reconvened after the first week and their thought and association patterns were analyzed. Men who had played games showed significant decreases in activity in parts of the brain that regulate emotional control and cognitive activity.

But don't worry, gamers or significant others of gamers. The brain changes aren't permanent. Researchers say that their findings are evidence that violent games cause long term damage, but in fact, after a week of abstaining from making sweet sweet love to the Playstation, the men in the game playing group were more or less back to normal.

This isn't to say that the media we choose to consume doesn't affect us; to suggest otherwise is either dishonest or obtuse. (For example, I was a total dick for like two weeks after I read The Fountainhead in high school and my boyfriend kept getting distracted by red things for a week or so after playing Mirror's Edge.) But it's still not fair to say definitively that immoral behavior in a virtual space is eroding behavior in the physical space. That's what the homosexual agenda and rap music are for.


Guys' Brains Change After Violent Gaming [Futurity]