Logan Colhoun Pruitt AP Seminar 10/15/2019 Neurological Effects of Video Games Introduction In recent years video games have become increasingly popular among people all over the world. What many people recognize as the first video game, Pong, came out in 1972 and since then, the video game industry has skyrocketed. Today we can play video games on phones, computers, and a multitude of gaming consoles. As the popularity of video games continues to increase people have started to question some of the effects of video games on the human brain. One of the suggestions given by neurologists and researchers is that video games can cause people to be more violent. This is supported by the increase in the amount of mass shootings alongside video games. Politicians and the media have also been blaming video games for antisocial and isolated behaviors. This issue could alter the course of a multi-billion dollar industry and affect the safety and security of the entire population. This will also change political policies on companies such as the ESRB and create laws that may inhibit the future growth of video games. Aggression and Visuospatial Cognition The debate on whether or not video games have negative psychological effects on the brain have reigned on in political and scientific debates since Columbine. The problem in this particular topic is the lack of sufficient research without biases. There are also so many different factors involved that it is very difficult to account for them in one study. This has caused a lot of biases in the media and in various studies but a study by John Ferguson, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Meta-Analytic Review of Positive and Negative Effects of Violent Video Games, eliminated biases and looked in to both the negative and positive effects of video games. For the negatives he looked into whether or not that violent video games lead to aggressive behavior. A total of 17 different studies were collected with a total of 3,602 participants. When all of the data from these studies were put together they found that the r value (correlation coefficient) was 0.14. This is a weak correlation and when the data was put into a funnel plot they determined that there was some publication bias and the value was moved down to 0.04. This value shows that there is almost no correlation between violent video games and aggressive behavior. This same process was completed to find if video games had an impact on visuospatial cognition. This is the cognitive process responsible for depth perception and spatial navigation. For this they found 7 studies with a total of 384 participants. The r value for these studies was found to be 0.49. This is a correlation to be considered to have moderate strength and after any publication biases were removed the r was still a 0.36. This is a much stronger correlation than was found with the aggression studies which suggests that there is no correlation between playing video games and aggressive behavior. Aggression and Stress Another study done by Chritopher Ferguson, Violent Video Games Don’t Increase Hostility In Teens, but They Do Stress Girls Out, helps support the data found in the meta-analysis and establish a consistency in between the studies. A group of teen participants took pre-assessments to determine their stress and hostility levels. They also surveyed them on the amount of video games they played and what type of video games. They then had everyone play violent video games to try and determine if there was a difference in there scores before and after playing the video games but they found that there appeared to be no noticeable difference. Interestingly enough they conducted the same test but with stress levels and it was found that the stress levels of females actually increased after playing violent video games (from 30.25 to 38.63) while males stayed at about the same from (29.47 to 29.56). This finding supports the previous data by suggesting that video games don't cause aggressive behavior but rather some other unexpected positive and negative effects. Affective Orientation Another study done by Vincent Cicchirillo and Rebecca M. Chory-Assad look into the effects of violent video games aggression and how it related to affective orientation. Affective orientation could be defined as “the degree to which individuals are aware of and use affect cues to guide communication” (Booth-Butterfield & Booth-Butterfield, 1990, p. 1451). In the study they had two different groups of people; one group played violent video games and the other played non-violent video games. They then put the two groups through different tests of evaluating their researchers courtesy and a test on aggressive thoughts. When the testing was complete they found that there was no difference between the two groups in the amount of aggressive thoughts. In relation to people’s affective orientation the people with a higher affective orientation had more aggressive thoughts after playing violent video games than the people with a lower affective orientation. Their hypothesis is that people with a higher affective orientation had more of an emotional response to the video games and therefore retained more of the violent action of video games with them. This may give us an answer as to why research on this topic in the past has been so inconsistent because violent video games have different effects on each individual person. Conclusion With all of the research that has been done we have reached a few hypotheses on why the research on this topic has been so inconsistent and what we can do to further our knowledge. From this research we learned that there is a correlation between people's affective orientation and the effects that video games have on them. This is a big find and may help us find more reliable data. The research also showed us that the findings for aggression may still be uncertain but there was solid evidence of increased visuospatial cognition. This finding shows us how biases in the media have shed light on all of the proposed negative consequences and not the positives. The future of this research needs to be focused on how videogames can be used for good from its positive effects instead of being scrutinized for the uncertain cause of aggression. Work Cited: Bulik, Beth Synder. Despite Recession, video game industry shows massive growth. 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