Previous research has assessed links between violent video game playing, aggression, and desensitization in the moral domain, but here we find that frequent violent video game play additionally may be linked with differences in perceptual processing. In an emotion-induced blindness task–wherein graphic images typically outcompete and impair perception of targets–violent video game players suffered less perceptual disruption following aversive images than non-players did, despite no group difference following neutral images. This difference persisted when controlling for sex and other violent media consumption and despite no group differences in trait aggression, disgust propensity, or disgust sensitivity. Importantly, the recruitment method ensured that participants were not aware of links between the experiment and their videogame playing history. Although a causal relationship has yet to be established, the findings suggest that violent video game players might sometimes, literally see the world differently.
- video games
- violent media: emotion-induced blindness