The following work is an academic paper on the subject of the effects of cooperative play in video games. As suggested by you, I decided to treat this assignment as if it had been an academic research paper assigned by a professor. The document is a little dense with information, but I believe this is appropriate considering this paper would be read by a professor, whom would be able to digest all the information. The purpose of the document was to identify the effects of playing video games in cooperative settings, and identify the benefits and possible uses for this media. The tone used was formal, because the intended audience was this imaginary professor. As an academic paper, I would most likely have been required to provide the resources I used in the form of bibliographies. I included these at the end of the paper. Most of the information I used in the paper came from databases available through the university’s library website. The two databases I used the most were ProQuest, which has a wide selection of information on many topics, and PsycINFO, which focuses on psychological topics.
I believe the paper could still be improved. I present a lot of information from studies that show the effects of game, and then some analysis that explains some possible uses for the games based on the data. I feel like there is too much information compared to the analysis I provide. This information does serve another purpose, which is to help me by establishing authority on the subject and making my claims more credible.
Thank you for your consideration,
Effects and Potential Benefits of Cooperative Video Game Play
Video games, like other mass media such as music, television, and newspapers, have the potential to influence its consumers. For the past two and a half decades, these games have been under study to identify the effects they have on players. Recently, two large murder cases brought the issue of violent video games and its effect on players to the public. Over 90 people in total perished because of both incidents. In both instances, the murderers self-identified themselves as avid violent video game players.  These incidents caused large public outcries and caused many people to connect violent video games with destructive behavior. Many vilified video games, and blamed them for these two criminal’s actions. Heated discussions over whether these games were responsible for their actions surged. Those that were “in favor” of violent games usually stated if these games caused violent reactions, the huge player base of millions of people would have been committing despicable acts around the world. Since only a few cases of violence have been related to the games, these people felt that the anger was misdirected. Among their arguments was also the claim that video games had potentially beneficial effects. Studies on the effects of violent games on players had already been done to that point, and it explained that the players were likely to act aggressively after playing violent titles, because they “learnt” the content of the games, and later applied it in subsequent tests. Although many studies have found that violent video games do indeed increase violent tendencies in their players , it is important to note that these studies have mainly focused on single-player gameplay.
Most modern video games have some sort of multiplayer option, many of them in cooperative contexts. It is estimated that a 76% of adolescent gamers play with others in some way. In light of this, studies were conducted to ascertain the effects of video games while played in cooperative contexts. The findings indicate that the content of the video games is not the only factor that influences people’s behavior; the methods by which players participate greatly affect how the games influence the players.
The context in which players participate in a video game is important, as it greatly changes their behavioral tendencies in subsequent tasks. Recent studies have suggested that when played in a cooperative setting, the games either have slightly positive effects on cooperation or greatly promote cooperative behavior, depending on the content. When experimenting with cooperative play in video games containing violent content, the results indicated that the players’ cooperation in subsequent tasks was approximately equal to those that played single-player non-violent video games. This suggests that cooperative play has the potential to ameliorate the negative effects of violent video games on cooperative behavior.  Playing neutral (non-violent) games cooperatively, however, increased cooperation in subsequent tasks compared to other participants that played the same neutral game in single-player contexts.  These findings suggest that playing violent video games in cooperative contexts do not harm subsequent social interactions, but that playing neutral video games in cooperative contexts actually benefits social interactions. One of the positive effects of cooperative play in neutral video games is increased cohesion within teams. 
There is more to video games than just entertainment. Studies that linked aggressive behavior with violent video games suggested that the individuals first learned the behavior from the games, and later “applied” their newly learned violent knowledge in social contexts. This phenomenon could possibly be beneficial in other contexts, such as education. Since the people who play the games learnt the content of the games, educational games could prove useful in that students would willingly play games and learn the content, to later apply it in school. The positive social effects of cooperative play in neutral video games could also prove useful in other ways than just entertainment: it could serve as an effective team building exercise. This could be useful in business scenarios in which a group of people must work together to achieve common goals. One specific example in which this could prove useful is when a group of people gathers with the purpose of starting up a new company. This requires a team effort, in which all members contribute to achieve collective success. Increased team cohesion would give a competitive edge in such a situation.
1. Pidd, H. (2012, August 24). Anders behring breivik spent years training and plotting for massacre. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/24/anders- behring- breivik-profile-oslo
2. Barron, J. (2012, December 15). Children were all shot multiple times with a semiautomatic, officials say. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/nyregion/gunman-kills-20- children-at-school-in-connecticut-28-dead-in-all.html?_r=2&
3. Eastin, M. S., & Griffiths, R. P. (2006). Beyond the shooter game: Examining presence and hostile outcomes among male game players. Communication Research, 33(6), 448-466. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/docview/19713 3683?accountid=14667
4. Greitemeyer, T., Traut-Mattausch, E., & Osswald, S. (2012). How to ameliorate negative effects of violent video games on cooperation: Play it cooperatively in a team. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(4), 1465-1470. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.03.009
5. Greitemeyer, (2013). There’s no ‘I’ in team: Effects of cooperative video games on cooperative behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43(3), 224-228.6. Anderson, (2010). The impact of cooperative video games on team cohesion. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses