It's not the video game per se that's causing your rage; it's the fact that you stink at it, says a new study from the University of Rochester.
Intense feelings of anger after gaming are not unusual, the study says, but the content of the games is not to blame. The hostile behavior some gamers experience is actually linked to a sense of failure, the study says.
The finding is the work of Andrew Przbylski at Oxford University and Richard Ryan at the UR. Their research, which recently appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is the first to examine what gamers experience while playing.
And they discovered that it's the failure to master the game that leads to frustration and aggression. Whether or not the game's content is violent doesn't matter, Ryan says.
Ryan says he has long been interested in what drives gamers. He says the violence in the games is definitely an attraction to some people. But in their work with 300 gamers, Ryan and Przbylski say they found that threatening people's sense of competency often causes them to become aggressive.
That sense of competence is integral to what motivates people, Ryan says. Conversely, people who win games have a positive experience of being entertained, Ryan says, and they don't feel aggressive.
The aggressive response to failure is not unique to gaming, he says. Individuals involved in sports have similar reactions, he says.