The authors note that rates of adolescent violence, homicide, weapon-carrying, and other markers of antisocial behavior fell consistently during the period when violent video games became ubiquitous, more graphic, and more realistic. Furthermore, no consistent theories have emerged to explain a causative relationship between violent video games and antisocial behavior. Theories linking video games to violent behavior include learning and imitating aggressive behavior, arousal by the success or peer status of winning a violent game, and “priming” (changing the threshold at which violence seems acceptable or increasing the likelihood that ambiguous behavior is perceived to be threatening).
An extensive search of literature databases, personal contacts, and other sources identified 29 studies of this topic. The studies varied greatly in design and quality, leading the authors to conclude that a major deficiency in randomized, well-controlled studies prevents firm determinations from being reached. In children of middle-school age and younger, no association was found between video games and aggression in girls. In boys, studies report both increased