Dr. Brad Bushman: Pro-social Video Games are Good

This post is twelfth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

Are all video games negative? According to Dr. Brad Bushman, a 2014 Hinckley presenter, there are negative effects of violent video games, but there are positive effects of pro-social games.

Bushman lists video games that encourage kindness and helpfulness. He studied young adults who played pro-social, neutral, or violent video games. The young adults were assigned to give another young adult a puzzle. They could pick the difficulty level. If the person could figure out a certain number of puzzles within a certain amount of time, they got ten dollars. Bushman used this experiement to understand if pro-social games help people be kind.

As we mentioned in previous posts about his lecture on the subjects of measuring aggression in teenage boys and other effects of violent media, Dr. Bushman acknowledges that adults have the right to choose what media they consume, but he advocates making these effects on children known. Realizing that some of his findings are unpopular with mainstream channels, Bushman challenges popular conceptions by taking painstaking efforts to design his studies in accordance with the scientific method.

His studies have been published in prestigious scientific journals. He has testified in the U.S. Congress on topics related to youth violence and aggression, and has served as a member of President Obama’s committee on gun violence.

Since this topic can be controversial, we encourage viewers to watch the full lecture and the Q&A session that follows for a more complete look at these findings.

Bushman received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from Weber State in 1984 and holds an MEd in Secondary Education from Utah State University (1985), Masters in Psychology and Statistics from the University of Missouri (1987 and 1990 respectively), and a Doctorate in Social Psychology from the same school in 1989. He is the Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication at Ohio State University and teaches both psychology and communication classes. The professor has been featured in media such as BBC, NPR, and the New York Times.

The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities and single parenting.


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