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Playing video games for better, not worse
Date:6/17/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Some video games can make children kinder and more likely to help---not hurt---other people.

That's the conclusion of new research published in the current (June 2009) issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a top-tier, peer-reviewed academic journal.

The article presents the findings of three separate studies, conducted in different countries with different age groups, and using different scientific approaches. All the studies find that playing games with prosocial content causes players to be more helpful to others after the game is over.

The report is co-authored by a consortium of researchers from the United States, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

"Dozens of studies have documented a relationship between violent video games and aggressive behaviors," said lead author Douglas Gentile, an Iowa State University psychologist. "But this is one of the first that has documented the positive effects of playing prosocial games."

Prosocial video games involve characters who help and support each other in nonviolent ways.

"These studies show the same kind of impact on three different age groups from three very different cultures," said Brad Bushman, a University of Michigan co-author of the report. "In addition, the studies use different analytic approaches---correlational, longitudinal and experimental. The resulting triangulation of evidence provides the strongest possible proof that the findings are both valid and generalizable."

"These studies document that children and adolescents learn from practicing behaviors in games," said Rowell Huesmann, a U-M co-author of the report.

One study examined the link between video game habits and prosocial behavior among 727 secondary students in Singapore, with a mean age of 13. Students listed their favorite games and rated how often game characters helped, hurt or killed other characters. They also answered questio
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Contact: Diane Swanbrow
swanbrow@umich.edu
734-647-9069
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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