Long-time readers may remember our previous coverage of the on-going debate concerning video games and the looming Armageddon we keep hearing they're going to cause - as though Skynet were preparing the youth of today to take the place of its mindless cyborg soldiers after Judgement Day. Or something like that.
Anyway, recent research out of the University of Gothenburg has cast more doubt on the premise that video games turn good people into violent people. After observing hundreds of hours of gamers playing games, researchers have found that multiplayer video games - even violent ones - promote co-operation, not aggression.
Using a variety of methods, the researchers measured gamers' interaction, motivation, and thought processes while playing video games, and found that tactical thinking and co-operation, not aggression, were promoted by gameplay. Players who became aggressive performed poorly compared to those who co-operated, as they didn't get along well with others and dragged their teammates down with them; therefore, even violent multiplayer games promote co-operation through conditioning - play nice, get a reward. Of course, this may not come as any surprise to anyone who has ever played a video game with one or more other people, but to the kind of folks who believe that anyone who sees something is then compelled to go do that thing, this obvious fact, supported by bona fide scientists, may come as a revelation.
The researchers' findings can be found in the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.