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Violent Video Games Don't Make You Aggressive (but Tetris Might)

To anyone who has seen the carnage of Call of Duty or the gleeful sadism of Grand Theft Auto, the connection drawn in a new psychology study between video games and aggressive behavior may not seem surprising—at least not at first. How could these festivals of violence not instill antisocial feelings, even bloodlust, in their players?

But the study, conducted by researchers at the the University of Oxford, the University of Rochester, and the company Immersyve, found that aggressive thoughts and actions don’t come from the violent content of a game—instead, it’s being bad at playing difficult games that gives rise to real-world aggression. A few frustrating rounds of Tetris, in other words, would be more likely to make a gamer lash out than an hour spent absorbed in virtual decapitation and evisceration on an easy level of Gears of War.