Players of the video game MadWorld can use their Nintendo Wiis to impale enemies on spikes, gouge out their eyes with street signs, and chop them in half with chain saws. The Mortal Kombat series offers its users similar thrills: ripping foes’ heads from their bodies, tearing their hearts out of their chests, and burning the flesh off their skeletons.

Although their producers argue that these games have no ill effects, a new research article shows that violent media blunt people’s altruistic...


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