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The Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) is dedicated to improving the physical and mental health of Canadians by empowering individuals with scientifically grounded information on the effects of stress on the brain and body.
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A game is considered violent if the only chance for the character to survive is to kill all the other characters that he meets during the adventure. Swedish researchers asked themselves if your stress levels could be influenced by virtue of playing this type of game. Over 2 hours during a weeknight, they asked boys ages 12 to 15 to play a violent game OR a non-violent game OR not to play at all. They collected saliva from these adolescents before they played, just after and on the following day. No differences were noticed for salivary cortisol levels during these three activities. The authors conclude that the realism in the violent game is not sufficient to induce a stress response.

Title: Playing a violent television game does not affect saliva cortisol.

Authors: Malena Ivarsson, Martin Anderson, Torbjörn Akerstedt, Frank Lindblad.

Laboratory: Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University

Journal: Acta Paediatrica (2009) vol. 98 pp. 1049-1056