Ohio State University Professor Studies Violent Video Games, Aggression In Midst Of National Gun Control Debate


UPDATED: Friday January 11, 2013 6:11 PM

Vice President Joe Biden sat down with executives from several video game companies Friday, seeking their input in the ongoing conversation about gun control, a subject one Ohio State University professor has been examining for years.

The link between video games and violent behavior has been in the spotlight since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., late last year. Biden is expected to make recommendations to the President as soon as Tuesday.

OSU Professor David Ewoldsen said he began studying the connection between video games and aggressive behavior years ago.

Many think that violent video games increase aggression, however Ewoldsen said that isn’t always the case.

Through his research, he has taken a closer look at the aggression of video games, to see if the users are playing competitively against the computer or, cooperatively, with another player.

“We always used to say, ‘It's not whether you win or lose the game.’ We would say, ‘It's not the content of the game that matters, it's how you play the game,’” Ewoldsen said.

Through several months of research, he has studied students behavior after playing video games.

OSU Graduate student Morgan Ellithorpe said after a competitive game, she can get aggressive in a playful way.

“When you're getting beaten, all you want to do is come back and hit the other person just as hard,” she said.

However, she said it wouldn't affect her friendships after the game.

In the conversation about gun violence surrounding the Newtown shooting, Ewoldsen said the issue is more complex than just a game.

“We know there is a link between violent video games and aggression, but to say that's the issue that would have led to that horrific event, is egregious,” he said.

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