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Violent video games have lower effects on highly-exposed teens
Date:5/3/2013

faster heart rates after playing the violent game, compared to the night after playing the nonviolent game. In contrast, for boys in the high-exposure group, heart rate was lower on the night after playing the violent game.

There were also some significant differences in heart rate variability (HRV), which measures beat-to-beat variations in heart rate. The patterns of HRV differences suggested blunting of sympathetic nervous system reactions among boys in the high-exposure group.

Emotional and Sleep Responses Also Affected

On sleep questionnaires, low-exposed boys also reported lower sleep quality on the night after playing the violent game, compared to the nonviolent game. For high-exposed boys, there was no difference in sleep quality after playing the two games. After playing the violent game, the low-exposed boys reported increased feelings of sadness.

Both groups had higher anxiety and stress levels after playing the violent game. "The violent game seems to have elicited more stress at bedtime in both groups and it also seems as if the violent game in general caused some kind of exhaustion," Ivarsson and colleagues write. "However, the exhaustion didn't seem to be of the kind that normally promotes good sleep, but rather as a stressful factor that can impair sleep quality, especially for low exposed gamers."

Previous studies have shown that playing violent video games can induce anger and aggressive behavior, as well as sleep problems. Heart rate and HRV are useful indicators of physical reactions to stress and emotionsmediated through sympathetic nervous system responses. "Both types of violence-related psychophysiologic outcomes probably reflect increased sympathetic activation," according to the authors.

The differences between groups may represent a desensitizing effect of frequent exposure to violent video games, the researchers speculatealthough it's also possible that boys with certain trai
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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