RESEARCH by Dr Brock Bastian from the University of Queensland's School of Psychology has found evidence that playing violent video games leads players to see themselves, and their opponents, as lacking in core human qualities such as warmth, open-mindedness, and intelligence.
Dr Bastian and his co-authors looked at whether the experience of cyber-violence had dehumanising consequences.
He said, given the findings, concerns about the effects of playing violent video games were not surprising, especially when they appeared to reflect changes in behaviour, emotions, and cognitions in ways consistent with a loss of humanity.
"There are good reasons to be concerned: the negative effects of violent video games have been well documented and appear to be more significant than those associated with other forms of violent media," he said.
Study participants were opponents engaged in violent behaviour against each other in the popular game Mortal Kombat.
Dr Bastian said he believed the findings pointed to the potential long-term effects of violent video game play and suggest that repeated exposure to these dehumanising experiences could result in chronic changes in self-perception.
He expected that engaging in the violent, compared to the non-violent video game, would lead players to view themselves as less human.