A British study has found no link between violent video games and players behaving violently themselves.

Researchers interviewed 1,004 UK adolescents aged 14 and 15 about their recent gaming habits, and then asked their carers about the teens' behaviour over the same time period.

The Oxford University experts wanted to test the hypothesis that recent violent game play is related to aggressive behaviour.

Results did not support this prediction.

There was no evidence for a critical tipping point relating violent game engagement to aggressive behaviour.

Analyses indicated these null effects extended across different kinds of violent game engagement.

There was also no crossover observed between games and behaviour when the focus was on another behavioural outcome, namely, prosocial behaviour.

The researchers point out in their discussion that there can be some negative outcomes for gamers.

“This is not to say that some mechanics and situations in gaming do not foment angry feelings or reactions in players such as feelings of incompetence, trash talking or competition,” the study states.

“These topics provide promising avenues for inquiry and have direct implications for literature focused on antisocial behaviours such as bullying, trolling and griefing.

“Instead, we argue that mere exposure to, and enactment of, putatively violent virtual acts in gaming contexts in aggregate is unlikely, on its own, to bear positively on perceivable differences in adolescents' aggression in real-world settings.”

The full paper is accessible here.