Same game, same gamers — but a very different reaction.

A new study has found that gamers who play violent video games on a 3-D screen are more likely to become angrier than gamers who play the same violent game but on a 2-D screen.

The study, from researchers at Ohio State University and published in the Psychology of Popular Media Culture journal, took a look at the anger levels of players after they had played games on either 2-D or 3-D screens. They recruited 194 college students to play "Grand Theft Auto IV" on a 17-inch 2-D screen, a 96-inch 2-D screen, or a 96-inch 3-D screen (while wearing 3-D glasses.) Half were told to play the game violently while the other half were instructed to play the game's nonviolent bowling game. After each session, the participants described their feelings and rated their anger level on a 1-to-5 scale.

Researchers found that for the non-violent gamers, the choice of screen had no effect on their moods. But for those who played the game violently — in other words, they were instructed to kill as many virtual foes as possible — they reported greater feelings of anger, frustration and irritability overall, with particularly increased feelings of anger when they played in 3-D. 

“3-D gaming increases anger because the players felt more immersed in the violence when they played violent games,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State and a co-author of the study. “As the technology in video games improves, it has the ability to have stronger effects on players.”

Researchers concluded that the difference between 2-D and 3-D is worth further study.

"The combination of violent content and immersive technology like 3-D can be troublesome," says Bushman. "This is something that needs to be considered by everyone involved: electronics manufacturers, video game developers, consumers, parents and content ratings agencies."

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