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Inexperienced video gamers show Macbeth effect

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Published on Thursday, 12 July 2012

Current research from the University of Luxembourg, found that when participants were asked to select gift products after they had played a violent video game, inexperienced players selected more hygienic products, such as shower gel, toothpaste and deodorant and felt higher moral distress from playing violent games.

 

“Out, damned spot”, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, resonates with these recent findings which link cleanliness and morality in violent video games. Dr. André Melzer, along with Dr. Mario Gollwitzer, Philipps-University Marburg, examined 76 participants following 15 minutes of violent video game play.  “The need to cleanse to keep moral purity intact, the Macbeth effect, is a psychological phenomenon in which a person attempts to purify oneself in order to cope with feelings of moral distress”, describes Melzer. “We find that the Macbeth effect can result from playing violent video games, especially when the game involves violence against humans”. Melzer also stresses that experienced gamers seem to use different strategies to cope with violence in games.

Aggression research experts meet

Future studies aimed at bridging moral psychology and the effects of violent media, will help to reveal how the long term exposure to violent media negatively affects attitudes towards aggression. 

Dr. André Melzer will present his research findings at the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) World Meeting 2012 at the University of Luxembourg, and study findings will be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

What are the factors that lead to aggression? Is aggression genetic? Do hormones, family dynamics or violent video games play a role? On 17 to 21 July, members of ISRA, will meet to discuss the latest research findings in all facets of aggression, from violence in the media, to the impacts of violent video games, to cyber bullying, alcohol-related aggression, violence towards the police, and more.

World-renowned Professors, Miles Hewstone, from the University of Oxford, Randy Nelson, Ohio State, and James Blair from the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland, will discuss cutting edge findings ranging in the areas of intergroup conflicts, interactions between genes and the environment, as well as neuro-cognitive bases for aggression. 

 The president of ISRA, Craig Anderson, will give an address on how video games affect attention, aggression, and helping behaviors. Presentations will be given by 130 researchers, and over 200 scientists have registered. “Luxembourg beat several top European cities to host this prestigious event”, describes Vice-Dean Prof. Georges Steffgen of the Integrative Research Unit on Social and Individual Development (INSIDE), who is co-organizing this conference along with Dr. André Melzer. 

 Dr. Melzer is head of the Media and Experimental Lab in INSIDE, at the University of Luxembourg. For more information on the ISRA World Meeting 2012 please visit http://isra.uni.lu/ .