Study Finds Games Reinforcing Positive Behavior, Too

Illustration for article titled Study Finds Games Reinforcing Positive Behavior, Too

Last year some researchers at three universities found, of course, that "violent games normalize our children to violence." The same researchers, this year, say "prosocial" games can normalize kids to good behavior.

Middle schoolers in Singapore and Japan, and college students in the U.S. were observed in three studies, according to the research, which has been released online and will be published soon in a professional journal. Here's the breakdown:

• Of 727 Singaporean middle-schoolers, research showed "those who played prosocial games exhibited more cooperation and empathy."

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• A study of 780 fifth-graders and 1,050 eighth and 11th-graders in Japan found that "prosocial gameplay predicted later increases in prosocial behavior over a three- to four-month time span.

• And a study of 161 U.S. college kids found that those who played prosocial games behaved more prosocially toward another student in a subsequent task than "those who played either neutral or violent video games."

In the U.S. study, at least, the prosocial games were Chibi Robo and Super Mario Sunshine; the neutrals were Pure Pinball and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, and the violent ones were Ty2 and Crash Trinsanity.
"Those who played the violent games engaged in more harmful behaviors toward other students."

Conclusion - well, mine anyway: Video games, like books, movies, conversation, anything else in your environment, can have an effect on your expectations of the world and how you manage them. But it's nice to see that while violent games correspond to violent behavior, someone asked the extra question to see if play-nice games meant likewise.

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Video Games Can Teach Helpful Behavior, Too [PhysOrg via Destructoid]

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DISCUSSION

Time to play devil's advocate.

Video games are bad for children. As a father of two kids.....uhm it's like crack cocaine. They saw me play Mario Kart one day and all they want to talk about now is CAN WE PLAY THAT MARIO GAME? Kids do not know how to stop and are very bad at moderating their own behavior. Yes, parents can intervene but my personal theory is to just not let them play until they've shown enough maturity to be able to stop playing without me or my fiancee having to intervene.