The Macbeth Effect

Out, damned spot! out, I say!

Apparently, playing violent video games causes a similar physiological effect as Lady Macbeth felt

The Macbeth effect is the phenomenon in which people wish to cleanse themselves physically when their moral self has been threatened The study, Macbeth and the Joystick: Evidence for Moral Cleansing after Playing a Violent Video Game by Mario Gollwitzer and André Melzer, tested how members of the public reacted to playing violent games, in terms of their response to being offered a selection of various gifts after playing, including hand-cleaning products. The study found that people who were not accustomed to such games were far more likely to reach for a hand-cleaning product after playing, than those who had played many games before

The study had 70 students playing one of two violent video games (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Flatout 2) and were then asked to select four out of 10 gift products, half of which were hygiene products. The results showed inexperienced players selected more hygiene products than frequent video game players. The report’s compilers believe that not reaching for the hand-wipes, for experienced players, is an act of protecting what they enjoy about playing games

Why do we need a study on this? Maybe people just wanted to wash their hands because they felt the controller was dirty. I would comment further on this but I’m not an “inexperienced gamer”

To read the full study click here


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