Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Video Games May Dull Shock at Violence

Avid Players of Violent Video Games Less Shocked by Violent Images
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 8, 2005 -- Got a video game on your holiday shopping list? New research shows a possible side effect of overloading on violent video games.

The report recently appeared online in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The study links violent video games to two things: aggressive behavior and less sensitivity to violent images.

"These findings, along with other recent research, suggest that chronic exposure to violent video games specifically -- and not just frequent playing of any video games -- has lasting deleterious effects on brain function and behavior," write the researchers.

They included Bruce Bartholow, PhD, assistant professor in the University of Missouri-Columbia's psychological sciences department.

Less Shock Value

"Hundreds of studies have shown that exposure to media violence increases aggression," write Bartholow and colleagues.

"Media violence is believed to increase aggression, at least in part, by desensitizing viewers to the effects of real violence," they continue.

Bartholow's team focused on violence in video games. They studied 39 healthy male undergraduates who were about 19 years old.

The men reported how often they played video games and rated the violence of those games. Next, they took tests of their aggressiveness and sensitivity to violent images.

Grossed Out or Not?

First, the men were shown a series of images while they wore caps studded with sensors to monitor their brain waves. Researchers were particularly focused on a brain wave that has been linked to negative and violent imagery.

Some images were violent. For instance, one showed a man on a subway holding a gun to another man's head. Others were neutral, including a picture of a man on a bicycle. A third set were disturbing but not violent, such as an image of a dead dog.

The study showed less of the brain wave response in men who frequently played violent video games when the violent images were shown.

Those men responded similarly to others when neutral and negative but nonviolent images were shown.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd