Computer games featuring the thrills and spills of car racing could be helping cause of real-life road accidents, a study suggests.
Psychologists found motor-race game fans were more likely to drive aggressively when they got behind a real wheel, and be involved in crashes. Less frequent virtual racing was associated with more cautious driving.
Researchers also showed that after playing just one virtual racing game, men took greater risks in critical traffic situations on a computer simulator. The findings are evidence that playing racing games can result in riskier motoring, say the German scientists.
The team, led by Dr Peter Fischer, from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, questioned 198 randomly chosen men and 92 women aged 16 to 45 about their driving behaviour, accident record and the extent to which they played racing games, prevent most common road accidents with this texas approved online course.
After adjusting for factors that could affect the results, such as age, the researchers found frequent virtual race-playing was associated with more aggressive and competitive driving behaviour, and more reported accidents. The association was stronger for men than it was for women.
Men were found to take more risks when they had previously played a racing game.The findings were in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, which is published by the American Psychological Association.