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For Gamers, Intense Competition May Fuel Aggression

TUESDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Intense competition, not violence, may be the main factor in video games that fuels aggression, according to a small new study.

It included two experiments in which college students played video games such as "Fuel," "Mortal Kombat" and "Left 4 Dead 2" with different degrees of difficulty, pace, competitiveness and violence. The participants' levels of aggression were assessed after they played the games.

The researchers found that more competitive games resulted in higher levels of aggressive behavior than less competitive games, no matter how much violence was in the games.

Aggression was measured by asking the students to make a cup of hot sauce -- from the least hot to very hot -- for a taster who didn't particularly like hot or spicy foods. The hotter the hot sauce, the more aggressive the behavior, in the researchers' opinion.

The study was published online Aug. 17 in the journal Psychology of Violence.

"These findings suggest that the level of competitiveness in video games is an important factor in the relation between video games and aggressive behavior, with highly competitive games leading to greater elevations in aggression than less competitive games," wrote lead author Paul J.C. Adachi, a Ph.D. candidate at Brock University at St. Catharines, Ontario, in Canada.

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers parents advice about video and interactive computer games.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Psychology of Violence, news release, Aug. 29, 2011

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