Past research has found that playing a classic prosocial video game resulted in heightened prosocial behavior when compared to a control group, whereas playing a classic violent video game had no effect. Given purported links between violent video games and poor social behavior, this result is surprising. Here our aim was to assess whether this finding may be due to the specific games used. That is, modern games are experienced differently from classic games (more immersion in virtual environments, more connection with characters, etc.) and it may be that playing violent video games impacts prosocial behavior only when contemporary versions are used.
Although television, computer games and the Internet play an important role in the lives of children they still also play with physical toys, such as dolls, cars and LEGO bricks. The LEGO company has become the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Our study investigates if the LEGO company’s products have become more violent over time. First, we analyzed the frequency of weapon bricks in LEGO sets. Their use has significantly increased. Second, we empirically investigated the perceived violence in the LEGO product catalogs from the years 1978-2014. Our results show that the violence of the depicted products has increased significantly over time. The LEGO Company’s products are not as innocent as they used to be.
Empathy-putting oneself in another’s shoes-has been described as the “social glue” that holds society together. This study investigates how exposure to sexist video games can decrease empathy for female violence victims. We hypothesized that playing violent-sexist video games would increase endorsement of masculine beliefs, especially among participants who highly identify with dominant and aggressive male game characters. We also hypothesized that the endorsement of masculine beliefs would reduce empathy toward female violence victims. Participants (N = 154) were randomly assigned to play a violent-sexist game, a violent-only game, or a non-violent game. After gameplay, measures of identification with the game character, traditional masculine beliefs, and empathy for female violence victims were assessed. We found that participants' gender and their identification with the violent male video game character moderated the effects of the exposure to sexist-violent video games on masculine beliefs. Our results supported the prediction that playing violent-sexist video games increases masculine beliefs, which occurred for male (but not female) participants who were highly identified with the game character. Masculine beliefs, in turn, negatively predicted empathic feelings for female violence victims. Overall, our study shows who is most affected by the exposure to sexist-violent video games, and why the effects occur. (200 words).
Physical activity helps people maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk for several chronic diseases. Although this knowledge is widely recognized, adults and children in many countries around the world do not get recommended amounts of physical activity. Although many interventions are found to be ineffective at increasing physical activity or reaching inactive populations, there have been anecdotal reports of increased physical activity due to novel mobile games that embed game play in the physical world. The most recent and salient example of such a game is Pokémon Go, which has reportedly reached tens of millions of users in the United States and worldwide.
There is increasing public and scientific concern regarding the long-term behavioural effects of video game use in children, but currently little consensus as to the nature of any such relationships. We investigated the relationship between video game use in children, degree of violence in games, and measures of depression and a 6-level banded measure of conduct disorder. Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were used. A 3-level measure of game use at age 8/9 years was developed, taking into account degree of violence based on game genre. Associations with conduct disorder and depression, measured at age 15, were investigated using ordinal logistic regression, adjusted for a number of potential confounders. Shoot-em-up games were associated with conduct disorder bands, and with a binary measure of conduct disorder, although the strength of evidence for these associations was weak. A sensitivity analysis comparing those who play competitive games to those who play shoot-em-ups found weak evidence supporting the hypothesis that it is violence rather than competitiveness that is associated with conduct disorder. However this analysis was underpowered, and we cannot rule out the possibility that increasing levels of competition in games may be just as likely to account for the observed associations as violent content. Overall game exposure as indicated by number of games in a household was not related to conduct disorder, nor was any association found between shoot-em-up video game use and depression.
To study the relationship between board game playing and risk of subsequent dementia in the Paquid cohort.
The effects of video games on children’s psychosocial development remain the focus of debate. At two timepoints, 1 year apart, 194 children (7.27-11.43 years old; male = 98) reported their gaming frequency, and their tendencies to play violent video games, and to game (a) cooperatively and (b) competitively; likewise, parents reported their children’s psychosocial health. Gaming at time one was associated with increases in emotion problems. Violent gaming was not associated with psychosocial changes. Cooperative gaming was not associated with changes in prosocial behavior. Finally, competitive gaming was associated with decreases in prosocial behavior, but only among children who played video games with high frequency. Thus, gaming frequency was related to increases in internalizing but not externalizing, attention, or peer problems, violent gaming was not associated with increases in externalizing problems, and for children playing approximately 8 h or more per week, frequent competitive gaming may be a risk factor for decreasing prosocial behavior. We argue that replication is needed and that future research should better distinguish between different forms of gaming for more nuanced and generalizable insight.
The rise of electronic games has driven both concerns and hopes regarding their potential to influence young people. Existing research identifies a series of isolated positive and negative effects, yet no research to date has examined the balance of these potential effects in a representative sample of children and adolescents. The objective of this study was to explore how time spent playing electronic games accounts for significant variation in positive and negative psychosocial adjustment using a representative cohort of children aged 10 to 15 years.
We use data on game harvest from 60 Pygmy and non-Pygmy settlements in the Congo Basin forests to examine whether hunting patterns and prey profiles differ between the two hunter groups. For each group, we calculate hunted animal numbers and biomass available per inhabitant, P, per year (harvest rates) and killed per hunter, H, per year (extraction rates). We assess the impact of hunting of both hunter groups from estimates of numbers and biomass of prey species killed per square kilometre, and by examining the proportion of hunted taxa of low, medium and high population growth rates as a measure of their vulnerability to overhunting. We then map harvested biomass (kg-1P-1Yr-1) of bushmeat by Pygmies and non-Pygmies throughout the Congo Basin. Hunting patterns differ between Pygmies and non-Pygmies; Pygmies take larger and different prey and non-Pygmies sell more for profit. We show that non-Pygmies have a potentially more severe impact on prey populations than Pygmies. This is because non-Pygmies hunt a wider range of species, and twice as many animals are taken per square kilometre. Moreover, in non-Pygmy settlements there was a larger proportion of game taken of low population growth rate. Our harvest map shows that the non-Pygmy population may be responsible for 27 times more animals harvested than the Pygmy population. Such differences indicate that the intense competition that may arise from the more widespread commercial hunting by non-Pygmies is a far more important constraint and source of conflict than are protected areas.
We tested the hypothesis that an environment with fewer toys will lead to higher quality of play for toddlers. Each participant (n=36) engaged in supervised, individual free play sessions under two conditions: Four Toy and Sixteen Toy. With fewer toys, participants had fewer incidences of toy play, longer durations of toy play, and played with toys in a greater variety of ways (Z=-4.448, p<0.001, r=-0.524; Z=2.828, p=0.005, r=0.333; and Z=4.676, p<0.001, r=0.55, respectively). This suggests that when provided with fewer toys in the environment, toddlers engage in longer periods of play with a single toy, allowing better focus to explore and play more creatively. This can be offered as a recommendation in many natural environments to support children's development and promote healthy play.