Researchers say racing games may cause more accidents and more road rage

Several days ago, DailyTech reported that researchers at Britain's BSM driving institution conducted a study that revealed gamers who play driving games tend to drive faster in real life.

A new study by researchers at the Allianz Center for Technology in Germany and researchers at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians University now say that racing video games could be a contributing factor to people's bad driving habits (PDF) such as competitive behavior, recklessness and performing risky maneuvers. According to the report, people who play these games and drive cars are more likely to drive recklessly and get into accidents than people who don't play racing games.

The abstract from the report states "[The authors] found that the frequency of playing racing games was positively associated with competitive driving, obtrusive driving, and car accidents; a negative association with cautious driving was observed."

The researchers also indicated that because driving games are becoming more and more realistic, the games feel real and directly affect how gamers drive. "Driving actions in these games often include competitive and reckless driving, speeding and crashing into other cars or pedestrians, or performing risky stunts with the vehicle. In short, most actions in racing games imply a very high risk of having an accident or severe crash in a highly realistic virtual road traffic environment," said the researchers.

The research included 198 men and women, from those who played racing games often to those who did not. People who did play racing games often reported to have engaged in more aggressive driving more frequently than those who did not. Interestingly, the researchers indicated that racing games had a direct effect on risk taking behavior. The study showed that 68 men who played even one racing game took more risks in a driving simulator than those who played other types of games.

DailyTech previously reported that a study suggested that violent video games affect the brain, inhibiting players from demonstrating more self control and restraint. Recently, Germany declared that it would work towards banning all violent video games, while a university professor said that the current style of education in North America is outdated and books should be replaced by games.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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