Violent games increase pain tolerance?

1 min read


We’ve heard all too often how violent videogames turn children in to mindless husks, sociopathic killers driven by wanton game-induced bloodrage. Violent videogames, many believe, desensitise children to violence, numbing their empathy cores and making them homicidal maniacs. Some new research suggests they not only do that – but also numb their physical pain.

The great British bastion of journalism, The Daily Mail, reports that participants in a study were made to play despicably violent videogames for ten minutes (with a control group instead playing a golf game) – and then dunk their hands in nigh-frozen ice-water. the largely pointless Keele University study found that 40 volunteers were able to withstand the pain 65 per cent longer after playing violent games than peaceful hippy crap.

“We assumed that swearing eases pain by sparking an emotional reaction in participants – most likely to be aggression – in turn setting off the body’s fight or flight response, says the University’s Dr Richard Stephens.“This latest study was a test of that assumption in which we set out to try and raise participants’ aggression levels by having them play a violent video game.”

“We then tested the effect on pain tolerance. The results confirm our predictions that playing the video game increased both feelings of aggression and pain tolerance.”

So what, I hear you ask, is the point of all of this? The study suggests that videogames may – temporarily at least – aid in pain or trauma relief, and could eventually be used in virtual reality settings to help broken people become…well, unbroken. Before they go off and kill everybody, obviously. BBL, gotta go play videogames until I can’t feel feeling anymore.

Last Updated: September 11, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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