Is there a correlation between video games and violence? Jacksonville professor explains

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Violence and video games—it’s a controversial topic.

Following the mass shooting at a Madden EA Sports tournament at the Jacksonville Landing, Action News Jax is digging into the psychology behind video game anger.

Dr. Tracy Alloway, a Psychology professor at the University of North Florida, said video games can stress the nervous system to cause mood changes.

“One of the things that we know is the kind of game that is being played matters,” Dr. Alloway said. “Competitive games tend to foster more aggressive type behaviors.”

However, she said the video game doesn’t have to be violent to trigger aggression.

“The more long-term exposure we have to these kinds of gaming environments, researchers see that it induces a kind of chronic stress in our brain,” Dr. Alloway said.

She said that it can cause an individual’s brain to function less effectively and less better at decision making.

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Local gamer Ryan Thompson said gaming environments are highly competitive.

“Emotions get high at those events,” Thompson said.

Dr. Alloway said parents should be cognizant of changes in nuances and behaviors in their children.

“Maybe your child is becoming more emotional. It may not be necessary aggressive behaviors, it could be more internalizing behaviors. Maybe they withdraw and they’re not usually the withdrawing type of child. Maybe they engage in more crying, whining type behaviors.”