We all know that violent video games serve as a scapegoat for violence in youth. There have been studies that prove, disprove, or have found inconclusive evidence regarding the correlation between real life violence and violent video games. A recent study at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, though, has come to the conclusion that violent video games don’t actually lead to violence: they lead to cooperation.

In the study, researchers spent hundreds of hours playing games and observing other games, focusing on games that depict violence and aggressive action in both competitive and cooperative scenarios. What the study found was that players who reacted emotionally to the games they were playing tended not to fare as well as those who considered strategy, and were willing to cooperate with other players when the need arose. It basically proved what a lot of gamers could tell you: these video games don’t always suggest that aggression is the sole key to victory. Teamwork is, more often than not, quite important as well.

Not always, though.

Jonas Ivarsson, docent of the department of education, communication and learning at the University of Gothenburg, tries to explain the theory behind the connection of video games and violence:

“The suggested link between games and aggression is based on the notion of transfer, which means that knowledge gained in a certain situation can be used in an entirely different context. The whole idea of transfer has been central in education research for a very long time.”

As this theory of transfer is still an unproven one, Ivarsson and his team were heavily skeptical about the violence and video games debate, since it is so heavily based on this unconfirmed idea, which lead them to run these tests of their own. That’s what universities do, of course: if you don’t know, find some guinea pigs and get testing.

via [The Globe and Mail]