Violent games lead to eating and cheating?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

violent video games
I wonder if these guys would be chowing down on M&Ms.

According to a new study, violent video games just might lead youth to be more aggressive, have less self-control, and increase their odds of cheating. Ohio State University compared teens who played violent games to those who played nonviolent ones in a lab experiment, and the first group ate more chocolate and stole more raffle tickets than the second group. While the impact of video games on aggressive behavior has been studied often, very little research has focused on behaviors like cheating and eating.

Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, explains, “When people play violent video games, they show less self-restraint.  They eat more, they cheat more. It isn’t just about aggression, although that also increases when people play games like Grand Theft Auto.” He worked with fellow researchers from Italy to complete the study, which examined 172 Italian high school students between the ages of 13 and 19.

The gamers played Grand Theft Auto III or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for the violent category, and Pinball 3D or MiniGolf 3D for the nonviolent category. They practiced for 10 minutes and then played for 35 minutes, while a bowl of chocolate M&M candy was placed beside the computer. The ones intensely gaming with Grand Theft Auto were chowing down on the candies three times as much as the other teens. Bushamn says, “They simply showed less restraint in their eating.”

Apparently, even female gamers showed similar signs, as Bushman said, “One of the major risk factors for anti-social behavior is simply being male. But even girls were more likely to eat extra chocolate and to cheat and to act aggressively when they played Grand Theft Auto versus the mini golf or pinball game. They didn’t reach the level of the boys in the study, but their behavior did change.”

Featured image courtesy of Macronix on Flickr. Image of Playstation gamers courtesy of pinguino on Flickr.