Violence in video game produces a lower activation of limbic and temporal areas in response to social inclusion images

  • Carlo LaiEmail author
  • Gaia Romana Pellicano
  • Daniela Altavilla
  • Alessio Proietti
  • Giada Lucarelli
  • Giuseppe Massaro
  • Massimiliano Luciani
  • Paola Aceto


Exposure to violence in video games has been associated with a desensitization toward violent content, a decrease of empathy, and prosocial behavior. Moreover, violent video games seem to be related to a reduction of neural activation in the circuits linked to social emotional processing. The purpose of the present study was to compare the neural response to social inclusion images after violent and nonviolent video game playing. Electroencephalographic data of the 32 participants were recorded during a visual task with three presentations (T0, T1, T2) of 60 stimuli (30 social inclusion vs. 30 neutral images). After the T0 presentation, the participants played with a video game (orientation or violent). After the T1 presentation, the participants played with the other video game (orientation or violent). The two types of video games were randomly displayed. Event-related potential (ERP) components and low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) were analyzed. The main findings showed a longer latency of the P2 component on occipito-temporal montage and a lower activation of the limbic and temporal areas in response to the social inclusion images post violent video game compared with the post orientation video game. The findings suggest a reduction of emotional engagement in social processing after playing violent video game.


Violent video game Social inclusion Event-related potential sLoreta 



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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo Lai
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  • Gaia Romana Pellicano
    • 1
  • Daniela Altavilla
    • 1
  • Alessio Proietti
    • 1
  • Giada Lucarelli
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Massaro
    • 1
  • Massimiliano Luciani
    • 2
  • Paola Aceto
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Dynamic and Clinical PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of NeuroscienceCatholic University of Sacred HeartRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesia, Emergency and Intensive Care MedicineFondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCSRomaItalia
  4. 4.Institute of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care MedicineUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuoreRomaItalia

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