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

ns about how likely they were to spend time and money helping people in need, to cooperate with others and share their belongings, and to react aggressively in various situations.

As in numerous other studies, the researchers found a strong correlation between playing violent video games and hurting others. But the study also found a strong correlation between playing prosocial games and helping others.

The second study analyzed the long-term connection between video game habits and prosocial behavior in nearly 2,000 Japanese children ages 10 to 16. Participants completed a survey about their exposure to prosocial video games, and rated how often they had helped other people in the last month. Three to four months later, they were surveyed again, and researchers found a significant connection between exposure to prosocial games and helpful behavior months later.

"This suggests there is an upward spiral of prosocial gaming and helpful behavior, in contrast to the downward spiral that occurs with violent video gaming and aggressive behavior," said Bushman, a professor of communications and psychology and a research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).

For the third study, the researchers carried out an experiment with 161 U.S. college students, with a mean age of 19. After playing either a prosocial, violent, or neutral game, participants were asked to assign puzzles to a randomly selected partner. They could choose from puzzles that were easy, medium or hard to complete. Their partner could win $10 if they solved all the puzzles. Those who played a prosocial game were considerably more helpful than others, assigning more easy puzzles to their partners. And those who had played violent games were significantly more likely to assign the hardest puzzles.

"Taken together, these findings make it clear that playing video games is not in itself good or bad for children," Bushman said."The type of content in
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Contact: Diane Swanbrow
swanbrow@umich.edu
734-647-9069
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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