Buff characters give gamers negative body image

Research from Kansas State University has found that computer games can have a negative impact on players' feelings about their bodies.

Apparently playing a game that features exceptionally muscular men, or very thin women (thanks Lara) for a mere 15 minutes is enough to affect player self-esteem.

Psychology professor Richard Harris led the research with graduate student Christopher Barlett. They set up two study groups of university students - the men played WWF Wrestlemania 2000, while the women played a beach volleyball game.

Participants were surveyed about their body image both before and after playing the games, as well as being questioned in full.

Harris said both male and female subjects viewed their bodies more negatively after playing the games, adding that the immediacy of reaction by game players was particularly disturbing.

He concluded that this showed just how powerful an element of popular culture video games are.

Do you feel affected by buff game characters?


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