We all knew Jack Thompson was crazy. But according to a recent study at Texas A&M, not only was he full of crap (okay, the study didn’t prove THAT), the inverse of his theories might be true. Not only do violent video games NOT lead to real-life violence, they might actually dissipate it instead. The study, conducted by Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson, involved 103 young adults, all of whom were given a frustrating task, meant to to induce stress. They were next broken up into four groups; two groups were assigned violent video games, one was assigned non-violent video games, and the last was not assigned a video game. The results, though not scientific in nature, showed a reduction in hostile feelings induced by the stressful task in the two groups that were assigned to play violent video games.
But you don’t have to be a scientist to see that. I personally proved Dr. Ferguson’s findings to be accurate when the other day, after an argument with my sister, I returned to my apartment angry and stressed. I could think of nothing I wanted to do more than fire up my Xbox 360 and show some Spartans who’s boss. And after a few rounds of gunslinging, I found that I was incredibly frustrated at how poorly I was doing, but my anger at the game had made me forget my real-life aggression. And when I stopped playing, I stopped being angry entirely.
Of course, results may vary, but I think most gamers instinctively reach for a controller to blow off real-life steam. And though as of now there is no hard scientific proof to this argument, I think the results of Dr. Ferguson’s study coupled with my own experience are convincing enough.