Study Links Gaming and Cooperation, Not Violence

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Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have completed a study about aggression and gaming. The study found that, to be good at video games, gamers must hold their temper. Successful gamers are strategic, technically knowledgeable, and have good timing. Bad Gamers are ones who are inconsiderate or those who react aggressively and emotionally.

"The situations gamers encounter in these games call for sophisticated and well-coordinated collaboration. We analysed what characteristics and knowledge the gamers need to have in order to be successful," says Jonas Ivarsson, Docent in the Department of Education, Communication, and Learning. Jonas, along with Ulrika Bennerstedt and Jonas Linderoth authored the study and titled it How Gamers Manage Aggression: Situating Skills in Collaborative Computer Games. The study focused on gamers playing complex games with portrayals of violence and aggressive action where the participants have to fight with and against each other. The researchers themselves spent hundreds of hours online, playing games and observing other gamers.

The found that the actions gamers took in the name of both aggression and collaboration were tied directly to the game world. "The suggested link between games and aggression is based on the notion of transfer, which means that knowledge gained in a certain situation can be used in an entirely different context. The whole idea of transfer has been central in education research for a very long time. The question of how a learning situation should be designed in order for learners to be able to use the learned material in real life is very difficult, and has no clear answers," said Ivarsson. "In a nutshell, we’re questioning the whole gaming and violence debate, since it’s not based on a real problem but rather on some hypothetical reasoning."

This all sounds encouraging for those of us pacifists who know violent video games are simply a way to unwind. However, the description of this study sounds as if it was designed so that researchers could simply sit around and play video games all day. What do you think? Do you feel violent after a long bout of Modern Warfare 3? Have you ever eliminated the population of Skyrim's Whiterun because that guy insulted you again? Do violent video games need more warnings, or even taxes? Let me know in the comments section below.

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