Exposure to violence makes you more likely to lie, cheat

December 03, 2015

Can watching a violent movie make you more likely to lie, cheat or steal? What about reading a violent book? While that may seem like a stretch, a new research study shows it may be the case.

The study, published in the Journal of Business Ethics, finds that exposure to human violence is strongly linked to an increase in cheating for monetary gain. In other words, violence may be making us less ethical.

"Research shows that violent media increases aggressive behavior towards others, but what we're showing here is that it goes beyond that," said study coauthor Josh Gubler, a professor of political science at BYU.

Gubler and coauthor David Wood, a professor of accounting in the Marriott School of Management, carried out three experiments with roughly 1,000 participants (recruited from Amazon's Mechanical Turk) for the study.

In the first experiment, participants were paid to review sentences and edit those with mistakes. Half of the participants were given sentences with violent language. Subjects were told they would be paid whether or not they were correct, providing an incentive to mark all sentences "correct" to earn money quicker. Those who reviewed violent sentences were 24 percent more likely to cheat.

In another experiment, participants were hired to watch and evaluate movie clips. (They were told they needed to watch the entirety of all the clips to be paid.) One clip consisted of 10 minutes of a blue screen with a monotone voiceover. The researchers found those who viewed violent movie clips were more likely to lie about watching all the videos.

Surprisingly, while both male and female test subjects responded to violently worded media (experiment 1), only the men's ethics were negatively influenced by violent videos.

"We have whole industries that glorify violence--in video games, in media, in Hollywood--and then, on the opposite side, we have a significant body of research showing very serious effects to this," Wood said. "There is a disconnect between what science is saying and what we choose to do in society."

One such study, published in 2009, found that subjects who played violent video games for only 20 minutes took five times longer to help a person in need. The study also found that people who had just seen a violent film took 26 percent longer to help an injured woman.

Last year the journal, Psychology of Popular Media Culture, published a study showing the majority of media researchers, not to mention parents and pediatricians, see the link between violent media and increased aggression.

Wood believes our society needs to have a "really serious gut check" and ask why we tolerate and glorify violence. He and Gubler said their study is the latest to show that violent media has more negative impacts than most people imagine.

"We hope this provides another piece of evidence to the debate we're having within western society of the effects of media on behavior," Gubler said. "We hope this information informs parents and communities as they make decisions about what types of media they consume."
-end-


Brigham Young University

Related Video Games Articles from Brightsurf:

Video games improve the visual attention of expert players
Long-term experiences of action real-time strategy games leads to improvements in temporal visual selective attention.

Study questions video games' effects on violent behavior
A new Contemporary Economic Policy study finds that there is not enough information to support the claim that violent video games lead to acts of violence.

Do video games drive obesity?
Are children, teenagers and adults who spend a lot of time playing video games really more obese?

DeepMind's new gamer AI goes 'for the win' in multiplayer first-person video games
DeepMind researchers have taught artificially intelligent gamers to play a popular 3D multiplayer first-person video game with human-like skills -- a previously insurmountable task.

How does dark play impact the effectiveness of serious video games?
A new study has shown that allowing ''dark play'' in a serious video game intended to practice skills transferable to a real-life setting does not impact the game's effectiveness.

Study: Collaborative video games could increase office productivity
Move over trust falls and ropes courses, turns out playing video games with coworkers is the real path to better performance at the office.

Pitt researcher uses video games to unlock new levels of A.I.
Dr. Jiang designs algorithms that learn decision strategies in complex and uncertain environments like video games.

For blind gamers, equal access to racing video games
Computer Scientist Brian A. Smith has developed the RAD -- a racing auditory display -- to enable visually impaired gamers play the same types of racing games that sighted players play with the same speed, control, and excitement as sighted players.

Video games to improve mobility after a stroke
A joint research by the Basque research center BCBL and the London Imperial College reveals that, after a cerebral infarction, injuries in areas that control attention also cause motility problems.

No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour
Researchers at the University of York have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent.

Read More: Video Games News and Video Games Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.