Many years ago, researchers confirmed the existence of the "Lady Macbeth Effect." The gist of it is that we humans really do associate metaphorical uncleanliness with the more literal sort: if we've done or witnessed something immoral or unethical, we are often likely literally to want to go wash or bathe in response. Like Lady Macbeth and her infamous, "Out, damned spot," when we say, "I kind of want a shower after reading that," we mean it.
So other than the obvious stereotypical hygiene jokes, how does the Macbeth Effect relate to gaming? It turns out that video games can cause it. Science Daily reports that a team of psychologists at the University of Luxembourg have observed the Lady Macbeth Effect in "inexperienced" study participants who played violent video games.
There's a lot of violence in many genres of video games. Researchers have spent decades going back and forth wondering whether violent games inspire violent behavior in the real world. The verdict on that seems to be "probably not," but it does seem, according to new research, that those of us who are regular players are desensitized to and unfazed by the virtual acts we perpetrate on digital people. But players unfamiliar with the conventions and on-screen blood react differently.