Video games can teach how to shoot guns more accurately and aim for the head
Just 20 minutes of playing a violent shooting video game made players more accurate when firing a realistic gun at a mannequin and more likely to aim for and hit the head, a new study found.
Players who used a pistol-shaped controller in a shooting video game with human targets had 99 percent more completed head shots to the mannequin than did participants who played other video games, as well as 33 percent more shots that hit other parts of the body.
In addition, the study found that participants who reported habitual playing of violent shooting games also were more accurate than others when shooting at the mannequin, and made more head shots.
It's not surprising that video games can improve shooting accuracy -- the military, police departments and others already use video games for training purposes, said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.
But this is the first study to show that average players using violent shooting games with realistic human targets can improve firing aim and accuracy.
"For good and bad, video game players are learning lessons that can be applied in the real world," Bushman said.
Bushman conducted the study with Jodi Whitaker, lead author of the study and a graduate student in communication at Ohio State. The study appears online in the journal Communication Research and will be published in a future print edition.
The study involved 151 college students who first completed questionnaires measuring their aggression levels and their attitude toward guns, and asked about their firearms training, their favorite video games, and how often they played them.
They then spent 20 minutes playing one of three different video games: a violent shooting game with realistic human targets that rewarded head shots (Resident Evil 4); a nonviolent shooting game with bull's-eye targets (the target practice game in Wii Play); or a nonviolent, non-shooting game (Super Mario Galaxy).
For the two shooting games, the participants either played with a standard controller including a joystick, or used a pistol-shaped controller.
Immediately after playing the video game, all participants shot 16 "bullets" at a 6-foot tall, male-shaped mannequin covered in Velcro at the end of a narrow hallway, 20 feet (6.1 meters) away.
The gun a black airsoft training pistol -- had the same weight, texture and firing recoil of a real 9mm semi-automatic pistol. The "bullets" were .43 caliber rubber training rounds covered in soft Velcro. All participants were instructed in the use of the pistol and wore safety goggles.
Participants who played the shooting game using a pistol-shaped controller completed the most head shots at the mannequin (an average of about 7). They were also the only group who completed more head shots than they did shots to other parts of the mannequin.
"We didn't tell them where to aim we just told them to try to hit the mannequin," Bushman said.
"But the violent shooting game they played rewarded head shots, and so they shot at the mannequin like they were playing the game, aiming for the head."
Participants who played the nonviolent, non-shooting game had the fewest head shots, an average of about 2. Those who played the other games, including those who played the violent shooting game with a standard controller, fell in between those extremes.
Participants who played the violent shooting game with the pistol-shaped controller also made the most shots to other parts of the mannequin, averaging slightly more than 6.
Those who played the nonviolent, non-shooting game made an average of about 4 shots to other parts of the mannequin, the least of any group.
All of the differences among the groups regarding total hits and head shots stayed the same even after taking into account the participants' levels of aggressiveness, attitudes toward guns and firearm experience.
When the researchers examined the participants' experience playing video games, they found that those who habitually played violent shooting games had more total hits and head shots to the mannequin when compared to less experienced players.
"The more frequently one plays violent shooting games, the more accurately one fires a realistic gun and aims for the head, although we can't tell from this study which factor is the cause," Bushman said.
Bushman said these results should give parents and policymakers pause.
"We shouldn't be too quick to dismiss violent video games as just harmless fun in a fantasy world they can have real-world effects," he said.
Some killers have credited video games for helping them prepare, he said. For example, Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man who shot and killed 69 people at a youth camp in Norway last year, wrote in a manifesto: "I see MW2 (Modern Warfare 2) more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations."
Bushman said he's not claiming that these games necessarily lead people to commit violent crimes.
"But this study suggests these games can teach people to shoot more accurately and aim at the head," he said.
Provided by The Ohio State University
- Kinder, gentler video games may actually be good for players Jun 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Violent video games increase aggression long after the game is turned off Sep 20, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Study: Violent videos desensitize people Jul 27, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Advertising in violent video games results in poor recall, negative brand perception Aug 31, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Violent video games reduce brain response to violence and increase aggressive behavior May 25, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
5 hours ago From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
22 hours ago I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
(HealthDay)—Most Medicare beneficiaries treated in inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) exhibit characteristics associated with hospital readmission, according to a report prepared for the National Association ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Skydivers show the same level of physical stress before every jump whether a first-timer or experienced jumper, say Northumbria researchers.
Psychology & Psychiatry 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Children of depressed parents pick up on their parents' sadness—whether mom or dad realizes their mood or not.
Psychology & Psychiatry 23 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 1 |
(HealthDay)—As many as one in five American children under the age of 17 has a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to a new federal report.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 16, 2013 | 2 / 5 (4) | 1 |
(Medical Xpress)—Whether we're listening to Bach or the blues, our brains are wired to make music-color connections depending on how the melodies make us feel, according to new research from the University ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
19 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
16 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |