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Video Game 'Teams' Tied to Cooperative Behavior in Players

Having a teammate may lead to less negative aggression than playing violent games alone

MONDAY, Sept. 10, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Playing a violent video game with a teammate can reduce the negative behavioral effects of the game, according to two studies.

"Clearly, research has established there are links between playing violent video games and aggression, but that's an incomplete picture," study co-author David Ewoldsen, a professor of communications at Ohio State University, said in a university news release.

"Most of the studies finding links between violent games and aggression were done with people playing alone. The social aspect of today's video games can change things quite a bit," he noted.

Ewoldsen and his colleagues found that college students who teamed up to play violent video games later showed more cooperative behavior, and sometimes less signs of aggression, than lone players going head to head.

The findings indicate that playing a violent game with a partner changes how people react to violence, the researchers suggested.

"You're still being very aggressive, you're still killing people in the game -- but when you cooperate, that overrides any of the negative effects of the extreme aggression," study co-author John Velez, a graduate student in communication, said in the news release.

One study was released online in advance of print publication in the journal Communication Research and the second related study was published recently in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

"These findings suggest video game research needs to consider not only the content of the game but also how video game players are playing the game," Velez said.

More information

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry explains how violent video games might affect children.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Sept. 4, 2012
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