It's been assumed by many that most video games include violence, and this can allegedly affect the player’s own propensity for aggression and violence.
People who enjoy picking up their PS4, Nintendo Switch or Xbox 360 will be quick to tell you otherwise though.
Researchers from Southwest University in China set out to challenge the 'popular' theory by looking at the ability of video game players to empathise with pain.
They asked 18 participants to list their favourite video games, how often they play each game, and rate how violent they are.
Participants were then divided into non-violent and violent video game groups, and handed 80 photos of people’s hands, arms or feet in painful or non-painful everyday situations, such as their finger being chopped by a knife used to cut vegetables.
All the photos were taken from first-person perspectives, like this:
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers found that there were no differences in the perception of pain between the two groups.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, states:
fMRI results showed that there is significant difference between viewing painful pictures of others and viewing non-painful pictures
They say their findings:
May indicate that long-time exposure to violent video games is not strongly associated with desensitisation to violence, especially pain empathy to others.
Back to GTA, people!