While violent video games are getting bombarded with criticism and even legislations, an Iowa State research team finds that non-violent games may enhance pro-social behavior in players. The team, from the Insciences Organisation, conducted a study and found that players who play prosocial games behave more prosocially than those who play other forms.
By prosocial games, they mean games such as Chibi Robo, and Super Mario Sunshine - the actual games that they used for the study. The research team was led by Douglas Gentile, and overseen by Craig Anderson, who are often critical of violent video games.
As reported by Insciences:
College students... who were randomly assigned to play prosocial games (Chibi Robo and Super Mario Sunshine) behaved more prosocially... in a subsequent task than those who played either neutral (Pure Pinball and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe) or violent video games (Ty2 or Crash Trinsanity). Those who played the violent games engaged in more harmful behaviors...
"Video games are not inherently good or bad," wrote the researchers in the paper. "Video games can have both positive and negative effects.
"Content matters, and games are excellent teachers," they continued. "Violent content in video games can lead people to behave more aggressively. Prosocial content, in contrast, can lead people to behave in a more cooperative and helpful manner."
As far as "prosocial" games go, they didn't mention any criteria on how a game would qualify as prosocial, at least not in the abstract. Furthermore, the study is a correlation, and that it doesn't actually prove that such games indeed improve gamer sociability. You may hit this link and read the abstract for yourself.
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