According to a study conducted by Brad Bushman, Professor of Psychology at Ohio State University, there may be evidence that playing violent video games leads to aggressive behavior.

The study also demonstrated that those who played nonviolent games showed no significant changes in aggression or hostile expectations over that same period.

As a recent article points out, however, whether playing violent video games causes violence is not a simple question to answer.

Rende says some studies do report links between aggression and playing violent video games, but that doesn't mean playing violent video games is predictive of aggressive behavior. In addition, Rende says, many studies focus on self-reporting of aggressive behavior, which constitute only one way of measuring aggression.

Rende concludes by saying, “We all know that association (or correlation) is not the same thing as causation.”

The fuss about violent video games comes from renewed scrutiny following the shooting in Sandy Hook, Conneticut; a school shooting in which violent video games were cited as a possible contributing factor.

In addition to the negative publicity for video game manufacturers, January was not kind to video game stocks. CNBC notes that one publisher (THQ) was broken up; one studio, Disney’s (NYSE: DIS [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]) Junction Point Studios, was shut down; and another, Majesco (NASDAQ: COOL) is trading for well under $1.

The Oklahoma Gazette interviewed Samuel Balaban, the owner of The Little Shoppe of Games, a store that specializes in board games. Balaban noted that he has had an influx of new customers in recent weeks.  

Balaban says he prefers board games to video games, arguing that board games are more personal. “You’re sitting across from a person and you’re actually talking to them. You don’t get that feeling from video games,” claims Balaban.

In the video game arena, shares of Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ: TTWO) recovered Friday, up 5 percent, after taking a hit Thursday when it revealed that Grand Theft Auto V won't hit the market until September.

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) and Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI) both had modest gains Friday, while Gamestop (NYSE: GME), the world’s largest retailer of video games, ended the week up almost 6 percent, resulting in an upgrade to “Overweight” from “Neutral” by Piper Jaffray.

On the board game side of the ledger, Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) -- maker of Monopoly, Sorry, Scrabble and many others -- closed up slightly Friday despite the company’s announcement that it would be cutting jobs due to lagging sales. Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT), which publishes Apples to Apples, UNO, and Pictionary, ended the week up 1.7 percent despite reporting fourth quarter results that fell short of expectations.


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