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Violent computer games may make players less violent by giving them an outlet for their aggression

July 15, 2010

A new research study seems to demonstrate that people who play violent computer games are a lot less likely to act out aggressive impulses as a result of their dose of on-screen violence.

An article on a gaming website says:

"If certain well-meaning, but misinformed, people are to be believed, playing videogames can make you aggressive and possibly even violent. But a new study, conducted by Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M International University, suggests that in reality the opposite is true, and that playing a game, especially a violent one, can actually help relieve stress and make people less violent."

Of course depth psychologists might argue that it is not only the acting out of aggressive impulses that presents a problem, but also, just as important, how they are used in fantasy. Violent games may, arguably, dissipate the energy to act out on aggressive urges, as masturbation may dull sexual impulses, but as a result the individual is not encouraged to develop more mature ways of working with aggression in fantasy – Freud’s term "sublimation" comes to mind in this respect.

In short: is not not possible that aggression is too important an impulse to waste on cheap thrills.


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