The effects of prosocial video games on prosocial behaviors: international evidence from correlational, longitudinal, and experimental studies

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2009 Jun;35(6):752-63. doi: 10.1177/0146167209333045. Epub 2009 Mar 25.


Although dozens of studies have documented a relationship between violent video games and aggressive behaviors, very little attention has been paid to potential effects of prosocial games. Theoretically, games in which game characters help and support each other in nonviolent ways should increase both short-term and long-term prosocial behaviors. We report three studies conducted in three countries with three age groups to test this hypothesis. In the correlational study, Singaporean middle-school students who played more prosocial games behaved more prosocially. In the two longitudinal samples of Japanese children and adolescents, prosocial game play predicted later increases in prosocial behavior. In the experimental study, U.S. undergraduates randomly assigned to play prosocial games behaved more prosocially toward another student. These similar results across different methodologies, ages, and cultures provide robust evidence of a prosocial game content effect, and they provide support for the General Learning Model.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Behavior*
  • Students / psychology
  • Video Games / adverse effects
  • Video Games / psychology*
  • Violence / psychology
  • Visual Perception*