As video games become more realistic, new studies find a connection between extensive exposure and muted responses to actual suffering.
The research is getting clearer that over the long term, people with more exposure to violent video games have demonstrated things like lower empathy to violence,” said Dr. Jeanne Brockmyer, a clinical child psychologist and professor emeritus at the University of Toledo. “Initially, people are horrified by things they see, but we can’t maintain that level of arousal. Everyone gets desensitized to things.”
Ms. Brockmyer has written a paper, set to be published later this summer, that will show how areas of the brain responsible for empathy become muted by violent images when teens are exposed to them over long periods of time.