Are video games bad for your driving?

There are several pieces that I have been meaning to write but just haven’t found time to do so. I also don’t want to disappoint those of you who drop by to have a look now and then. So while posts on water shortage, ethical issues faced by academics in dealing with security, and the shortage of engineers are in the offing, here is a fun litle piece that I am simply reproducing from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus Blog.  (This is the permalink to this piece.)

March 19, 2007

Driving Under a Different Kind of Influence

The next time you’re stopped at a red light, and a young driver knocks into your car from behind, take pity: He may just have played too much Grand Theft Auto or Mario Kart. People who play driving-themed computer games like those are much more likely to take risks on real roads, say researchers at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich.

In the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology, the researchers report that Grand Theft Auto players are uncharacteristically aggressive drivers and that the game made men, but not women, take more risks when using a driving-simulation program.

But the studies, also reported in the Telegraph, have a certain chicken-or-the-egg quality about them: Do video games really encourage reckless driving, or do they just appeal to the kind of drivers who might be fairly aggressive anyway? —Brock Read

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