DISCUSS RESEARCH INTO THE EFFECTS OF VIDEO GAMES AND COMPUTERS
Some psychologists believe that video games and computers have a negative effect on people, and they also argue that they may be a link between excessive game play (or excessive use of the computer) and violent or antisocial behaviour in real life.
Guo identified four main effects of playing violent video games.
One effect is that it increases physiological arousal. This means that playing violent video games increases a person’s heart rate and their blood pressure. This is a negative effect because an increase in heart rate or blood pressure can potentially lead to a person having a heart attack, and there is even a chance that a person can die from that heart attack if they are given the right treatment in time.
Tafalla examined the effects of music on using the game ‘doom’ and found that both men and women showed an increase in heart rate and blood pressure when music was being played. This suggests that video games do increase people’s physiological arousal and this could be rather dangerous as a person’s life could potentially be at risk. However, having said that, it could be argued by some psychologists that although violent video games may increase a person’s heart rate and their blood pressure, it does not necessarily mean that they would get a heart attack and die- the increase in heart rate and blood pressure may not be high enough to cause any real harm to a person, so it shouldn’t be assumed that just because violent video games increase people’s physiological arousal, this would have a negative effect on a person.
Another effect of playing violent video games is that it reduces helping behaviours. For example, if a person, who is usually helpful towards others, plays a violent game such as call of duty, it is expected that they will eventually become less helpful towards others.
Sheese and Graziano studied the relationship between playing violent games and later helpful, co-operative behaviours. 48 participants were used and they played a violent or a non-violent version of the game ‘doom’ in pairs. They were then given the option of co-operating with or exploiting each other or withdrawing from the game. It was found that those who played the violent version of doom were more likely to choose to exploit than to co-operate. This suggests that violent video games do have a negative effect on individuals as they cause people to become less helpful towards others. However, because this study lacks population validity as only 48 participants were used, generalisation should not be made. Just because those participants in the study were more likely to exploit each other doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone in the world would behave in the same way if they were to be put in the same situation. Also because the participants were playing a video game, it is expected that there would some element of completion. For example, those who chose to exploit each other could have chosen to do that as they wanted to win the game that they were playing- it does not necessarily mean that in real situations, they were less helpful to other people. In addition to this, other factors such as personality may be important in determining whether video games would reduce a person’s helping behaviours or not. For example, if someone is easily influence by others or by the media, they would be more likely to become less helpful towards others than those who are not influence by others and by the media.