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Racing games cause most aggression

More than shooters or ping pong.

A pair of scientists from Huddersfield University have discovered that racing games cause more agitation and aggression in players than shooters.

Rather than using their time to find a cure for cancer or an alternative source of renewable energy, Dr Simon Goodson and Sarah Pearson monitored 30 people as they played three Xbox 360 games - Project Gotham Racing, an unnamed first-person shooter and "a 3D table tennis game".

Physical changes to the players' heart rate, breathing and so on were monitored, along with their mental responses such as aggresssion before and after the gaming session.

The scientists found that PGR caused the greatest change in heart rate and brain activity, while the FPS caused the smallest change.

"Previous researchers have made sweeping generalisations about the nature of videogames. This study is one of the first to use one of the latest games consoles that have a much higher level of realism," said the boffins.

"Surprisingly the results showed that the driving game made participants more agitated and aggressive than the game with graphic violence. Given the high levels of realism in modern games a re-evaluation of the relationship between videogames and violence is needed."

Goodson and Pearson's findings will be revealed at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference, which begins today at Brighton's Holiday Inn. Might pop down.

Check out the conference programme for the full rundown. We're particularly looking forward to the talk by P. Chassy of the University of Toulouse: "The purpose of the study was to quantify the mistakes that chess players of various levels of expertise make in ecological situations. The quality of 311,722 moves made by 8,000 chess players was assessed."