This episode is sponsored by betterhelp. Stay tuned for more information at the end. Politicians often blame video games for some of the violence in our world and while it is true that the top five most popular video games right now are all shooter games, do the guns on screen really translate into aggression in real life? Can video games make you violent? One of the main arguments people make against video games is that they prime kids to be violent. Priming is a non-conscious form of memory where one stimulus influences the response to a subsequent stimulus. For example, if I said the word yellow then asked you to name a fruit you would most likely say banana. This led to a study in which researchers had participants play one of two games. One game where they were in a car avoiding collisions. Another where they were just a mouse avoiding a cat. Following the game, the researchers, based on priming, hypothesized the players would be faster at categorizing objects associated with the game they played, more quickly in the real world. So the players looked at pictures of things like a bus or a dog and were asked to quickly label them either as a vehicle or an animal. Those who played the car game were no faster at categorizing vehicles. And those who played the cat game were no faster at categorizing animals. In fact, those who played each game had a slower reaction time to the related category. Meaning negative priming might actually be occurring. Oh, science, you’re always just messing with us, aren’t ya? But unlike the 8-bit games of our past, today’s game designers are capable of producing incredible graphics. Therefore another criticism is the more realistic a game the more likely it will activate aggressive behavior. To study this concept, one study had participants play one of two Kombat games. One where the characters were modeled using rag doll physics: movements modeled off of the human skeleton, which means they had very physically realistic death behaviors. The other game used deaths that were extremely unrealistic. Afterwards, aggression was assessed via a word association test and the game with the more realistic deaths showed no increase in aggression. Of the available research, most find no link between video games and violence. A meta-analysis of studies showing a positive link between games and aggression found that they often used ineffective lab tests of aggression. For example, measuring brain waves and heartbeats, which doesn’t necessarily translate to actual criminal behavior. And in the past when a correlation has been found, it’s been weak. Criminologists who study mass homicides refer to the link between violent games and crime as a myth. In fact in 2011 the US Supreme Court ruled that research did not find clear connection between violent videogames and aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, we all know how often after a crime, video games and violent media get brought into the conversation. But the truth is this might actually be distracting from the more significant causes of violence. Thank you so much to betterhelp for sponsoring this video. As someone who has had therapy benefited my life over the last three years betterhelp is an accessible, low-cost way to access a licensed therapist, something that we all can benefit from. -So you have to be 18 years or older to use the service, which gives you access to licensed therapists through chat, text, your phone, and online video. You can even start now by using the link below and connecting with a licensed therapist within under 24 hours. -It’s important to know that this is not a crisis line, but a way to schedule video and phone chats with licensed therapists for a low cost of $35 to $65 a week. Betterhelp makes therapy, which can be intimidating and expensive feel secure, convenient, and affordable. Head to betterhelp.com/ASAP to check it out. Thank you so much for watching and we will see you next week for a new science video. Peace!