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Video Gaming a Recipe for Road Rage?

Study suggests gamers more likely to have problems behind the wheel.

by on Feb.04, 2011

Road rage ahead?

When it comes to video games, it’s a case of good news/bad news, at least when gamers put down the joystick and grab the steering wheel.

On the positive side, cognitive researchers at the University of Rochester have found that playing video games can train you to make the right decisions, and quickly.  But other studies suggest that gamers may also be less tolerant of the decisions others make – at least on the highway, where those who spend a lot of time blasting aliens and battling in dungeons are twice as likely to experience road rage.

Apparently, finds the Rochester study, the faster the games you play the quicker you are at responding to real world situations.  Those who battled it out in Call of Duty 2 were 25% quicker to respond to a situation than those who stuck to simulation games, like the Sims 2.

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On the positive side, that meant the average gamer was able to pass their state driving test in just two tries compared with three for non-gamers, according to a study by Continental Tires.  The rubber maker polled 2,000 motorists between the ages of 17 and 39, half of them gamers, half non-gamers.

Unfortunately, while they may gain some useful skills, according to the study, those gamers also seem to develop some decidedly bad habits, as well.   A full 45% of them admit to experiencing road rage, more than double the 22% of non-gamers who get worked up while behind the wheel.  Meanwhile, 22% of gamers have been stopped by the police, compared with just 13% of non-gamers.