Video games may help you relieve stress but if those games are violent in nature, it may result in aggressive outcomes and problems.
The study authored by graduate students James Alex Bonus and Alanna Peebles at University of Wisconsin-Madison and assistant professor Karyn Riddle, looked at how video games may be used to manage emotions-specifically, whether playing the games can improve mood.
For the experiment, half of the subjects were asked to play a frustrating video game called, appropriately, 'Maximum Frustration.' The other subjects skipped the frustrating game and went directly to the next phase of the study.
The researchers found that frustrated players were motivated to progress farther in the games, which decreased their frustration and boosted feelings of competency. This process of emotional restoration increased players' enjoyment of both games. However, those players who highly enjoyed the violent game showed a tendency to perceive the world in a more hostile way than those who played the nonviolent game.
The findings suggest that video games can be used to manage negative emotions, but doing so with violent games might be problematic. If video games are going to be sought for emotional release, the authors recommend players seek out nonviolent games.
The results are published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior