Bad Video Game Behaviour Can Increase Your Moral Sensitivity

So, you’re playing GTA V. You get to that torture scene. You torture the snot out of that guy. It’s violent, gratuitous, and makes you wonder why people didn’t complain about that scene instead of the game’s depiction of women. It also makes you wonder if you’re a bad person.

Well, it’s actually important that you wonder about stuff like that. In fact, your thinking may carry over into the real world. According to a study published in Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, behaving badly in video games may cause you to behave better in real life.

Researchers had 185 people play violent video games (they were first person shooters with the players cast as terrorists). Afterwards, they had to complete a questionnaire that measured their levels of guilt, along with one that assessed which aspects of their moral foundation had been rattled by the experience. The study found significant correlation between video-game guilt and the moral foundations violated.

According to Matthew Grizzard, one of the study’s co-authors, “Rather than leading players to become less moral, this research suggests that violent video-game play may actually lead to increased moral sensitivity. This may, as it does in real life, provoke players to engage in voluntary behavior that benefits others.”

So, the next time you’re on a murder spree up the side of Mount Chiliad and your girlfriend yells at you, tell her you’re becoming a better man. We bet she’ll go for it in a big way.

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