Do you get along with Americans? No? Well, we have a solution for you: play a round of Nazi Zombies on Call of Duty: Black Ops.
A study in Psychology of Violence has found that people of different backgrounds who play co-op video games together gain improved opinions of each other’s social group, along with reduced stereotypes of each other. Researchers had a group of students at Brock fire up Nazi Zombies on Black Ops. Half were told that they were playing a round with a fellow Brock student (true), while the other half were told that they were playing with an American over at the University of Buffalo (false—it was just another Brock student). Prior to the game, they were asked their opinion on the University of Buffalo and Americans in general. After playing about twelve minutes of the game (pff, noobs), they gave opinions once more. The students who thought that they’d been playing with people from the University of Buffalo had “significantly more favourable” opinions towards students from the University of Buffalo and Americans in general.
Of course, as video gamers ourselves, we have to wonder what happens when you know you’re playing against someone of a different social group—say, you’re up against a predominantly Russian corporation in Eve.
Either way, we’ll take this as a good excuse to dust off Nazi Zombies . . . in the name of a kinder, gentler world.