Source: Breanna Edwards / The Root
You start your favorite video game, go to character select, pick a black avatar—be it a fighter or gangster—and start playing. As a white person, what effect, if any, does this have on you?
According to a new study, the effect is significant: White players who adopt black characters are more likely to exhibit aggression and express strongly negative attitudes toward blacks, even after ending the game.
“The media have the power to perpetuate the stereotype that blacks are violent, and this is certainly seen in video games,” said Brad Bushman, an Ohio State University communications professor and psychologist who co-authored the study. “This violent stereotype may be more prevalent in video games than in any other form of media because being a black character in a video game is almost synonymous with being a violent character.”
The experiments for the study targeted white university students playing three different video games: Saints Row 2, a brutal interactive landscape of crime and gangs; the wrestling focusedWWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2010; and the boxing challenge Fight Night Round 4.
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