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Videogames Really Are Linked to Violence 204

Posted by Zonk
from the much-like-your-average-poet-is-linked-to-black-clothing dept.
ahoehn writes "Amanda Schaffer has written a refreshingly balanced piece about the connection between video games and violence. Instead of regurgitating the typical reactionary voices in this debate, she looks at what scientific studies suggest about the issue. From the article: 'Pathological acts of course have multiple, complex causes and are terribly hard to predict. And clearly, millions of people play Counter-Strike, Halo, and Doom and never commit crimes. But the subtler question is whether exposure to video-game violence is one risk factor for increased aggression: Is it associated with shifts in attitudes or responses that may predispose kids to act out? A large body of evidence suggests that this may be so ... Given this, it makes sense to be specific about which games may be linked to harmful effects and which to neutral or good ones. Better research is also needed to understand whether some kids are more vulnerable to video-game violence, and how exposure interacts with other risk factors for aggression like poverty, psychological disorders, and a history of abuse.'"
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Videogames Really Are Linked to Violence

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:44PM (#18934355)
    I'm not a scientist, but I've played one in a video game.
    • by bradkittenbrink (608877) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:56PM (#18934479) Homepage Journal
      For once, that sentiment was actually expressed in TFA:

      Each of these approaches has its flaws. The first kind of correlational study can never prove that video-game playing causes physical aggression. Maybe aggressive people are simply more apt to play violent games in the first place. Meanwhile, the randomized trials, like Anderson and Dill's, which do imply causation, necessarily depend on lab-based measures of aggression, such as whether subjects blast each other with noise. This is a respected measure, but obviously not the same as seeing whether real people hit or shoot each other.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oliverthered (187439)
      and maybe violent video games let them vent their frustration in a virtual world instead of going out in the the real word and venting it.
      • The most likely truth would be that it increases aggressive tendencies but lets this aggression be let out in a harmless fashion. It's not like it has to be only one or the other.

        People get way too defensive about this. I mean, really, is there any doubt in any other sphere or life from driving to watching sports to riots to shopping on the day after Thanksgiving that when people are exposed to competitive and violent stimulus, they themselves become more aggressive? Why should violent video games and mo
    • I'm not a scientist, but I've *killed* one in a video game...
  • Bullskeet. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by supasam (658359)
    I like how the blurb says absolutely nothing new about the topic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah, that tends to really get on my nerves. The title seems like it's stating a fact, although the article is based on opinions and "Scientific research." I would appreciate it if they would not make their titles jump to conclusions in order to pull reader's attentions. But I guess that's business, right?
  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:47PM (#18934381) Homepage Journal
    But what is important is, which one of them is the major culprit in the process of "farting".



    with the fantastically loose relation-establishing logic of this article, correlation between snooker, billards and 3-pool and violence can be established too. But, we then need to discern which of these billards game types are a major factor in committing violent crimes.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:50PM (#18934433)
      But what is important is, which one of them is the major culprit in the process of "farting".

      Well, conventional wisdom suggests that "he who smelt it, dealt it" so I'd say the nose plays a pretty important role.
    • by rmac217 (762209)
      I remember some findings [wikipedia.org] by a Professor Harold Hill of Gary, Indiana that showed that Pool caused a great deal of trouble in River City, Iowa. If I recall correctly, this was evidenced by the fact that Trouble starts with a capital T which rhymes with P and that stands for Pool.
  • Irrelevent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wframe9109 (899486) <bowker.x@gmail.com> on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:54PM (#18934457)
    We've known from past studies that gaming is one of many, many factors influencing aggressive behavior. The extremely limited extent of this effect, and the fact that it's far more subdued in the vast majority of the population makes it a non-issue.

    A decent ratings policy, combined with enforcement for some of the more mature games w/ younger children should suffice...

    Anyhow, today I did two things apart from study: play counter-strike, and play tennis. I have to say, I was *far* more ready for a throwdown after playing in 15-30mph wind for a few minutes. Stressors happen. So do idiots who blame them for everything.
    • by snowgirl (978879)
      I think anyone doing even a cursory examination that a major contributor to aggressive and belligerent behavior is TESTOSTERONE...

      But you don't see Thompson suing steroid makers for making violent people...
      • by Doug Neal (195160)

        I think anyone doing even a cursory examination that a major contributor to aggressive and belligerent behavior is TESTOSTERONE...
        Yeah, let's ban testosterone! It'll be like the Teletubbies!
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:55PM (#18934473)
    ... is a study that can differentiate between videogames increasing the violent tendencies of the player and increasingly violent people playing violent videogames. Anything else is just trying to translate correlation into causation with a lot of handwaving.

    Can videogames affect the mindset of people? Sure - I'm sure I'm not the only one who, after a particularly intense multi-player session of burnout ponders the best way to force the slowpoke ahead of you off the road. But I'm also sure that I'm not the only one who has realized that this is not the proper way to deal with a slowpoke ahead of you blocking traffic. What I'd like to see in one of these studies is the establishment of the direction of the link, and whether the increase in violent thought patterns translated into action. If someone can actually show that, I'll be all on-board the "violent videogames are bad for you" band-wagon. Anything short of that, and I'll fight for my right to play the latest Doom-incarnation without censor interference.
    • by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin@noSpam.lunarworks.ca> on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:50PM (#18935061) Homepage
      Last year I was discussing something similar with a friend.

      They say people who watch wrestling are more likely to be violent.

      I ask, is it not the other way around?

      Perhaps people who are naturally violent are more likely to watch wrestling?
      • by SirSlud (67381)
        In psychology (hell, in science), the difference between coloration and causation is what you are taught on the very first day you go to class at university. If a study is conducted properly (and of course, people who study psychology and science will sometimes disagree if one is,) it renders your question moot. This is the very purpose of conducting studies, to isolate causation rather than correlation.

        Perhaps people who are naturally violent are more likely to watch wrestling?

        Surely you don't think that p
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I have been reading this thread for less than 5 seconds and I know much more than the people who have been studying for 9 years. Trust me, I'm not the dumb one here.

          I also believe I can fix all the terrorist and intelligence problems the U.S. has, plan a national attack, develop nuclear weapons, and fix your car, I have watched two episodes of "24" and I know Jack! ...Don't even bother replying... I watched MacGyver man, don't mess.
      • by MonkeyBoy (4760)
        Personally, I beat the ever living shit out of kids who screwed with me when I was a young brat. Got sent around to a couple schools because of it. Other kids would push my buttons, get the shit kicked out of them, then smirk as I'm getting punished. Well, at least they were only smirking out of the side of their face that still worked.

        Didn't play a video game in the world back then. Because video games didn't exist. I'm like old 'n stuff.

        These days my favorite games are Pikimin & Pikimin 2, and though
    • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday April 30, 2007 @10:33PM (#18936783) Journal
      First, I want to establish something: I am not in favor of censorship in this area, ever. In fact, I'm not in favor of pretty much any kind of censorship, even kiddie pr0n -- go after the psycho who made it, not the pervert with a stack of DVDs.

      No matter what the effect of a piece of information, it is the effect that should be policed, not the information. In other words, if violent video games cause people to be violent, then police those people, not the violent games themselves. A game can't make you violent unless you let it.

      With that out of the way...

      Videogames have not made me more violent, measured in acts of violence. I'm actually not that aggressive. But violent games, anime, and movies probably have given me more of a capacity for violence.

      For example: I am completely desensitized to the games I play: Counter-Strike: Source, Quake 3, etc. CS:S, for example: I can shoot a fairly realistic-looking human in the face, watch them crumple to the ground, blood splattered on the wall behind them, and feel nothing at all. I can do this all day -- in general, games, especially multiplayer ones, do not give me any kind of adrenaline rush.

      I've also been to the arcade, so in a basic sense (Time Crisis 2, House of the Dead), I know how to pick up a gun, aim, and fire.

      I do occasionally listen to the news, and oddly, I felt worse for certain characters who die in certain movies (Serenity, spoiler alert, etc) than I did when I heard about the Virginia shooting. I'm talking purely on a feeling level here -- the movie almost brought me to tears, but the news simply made me go "meh" or "wtf". Intellectually, I understand that one is real and the other isn't, but I think I would have to know the kids who died to be able to mourn for them.

      Still, I can't say that it's fundamentally changed me. If I was the kind of person who would solve problems by punching someone, well, I now know how to point and shoot, and clean up after. But I'm not that kind of person -- sure, it does occur to me that it might be easier if I could just spray an Uzi across the room, but I choose not to.

      So it comes back to, guns don't kill, people do. The videogames and guns may have enabled that student, but they weren't the root cause. Certainly, we could react by tightening gun laws, or tightening security at schools, but we should also be trying to create a world where, given the choice, people won't choose to kill each other. On an individual level, especially -- were that kid's parents there for him? Anyone in his dorm?

      Stupidly idealistic, I know. But it's a start, I hope.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cornflake917 (515940)
        For example: I am completely desensitized to the games I play: Counter-Strike: Source, Quake 3, etc. CS:S, for example: I can shoot a fairly realistic-looking human in the face, watch them crumple to the ground, blood splattered on the wall behind them, and feel nothing at all. I can do this all day -- in general, games, especially multiplayer ones, do not give me any kind of adrenaline rush.

        You know, the whole "video games desensitizes players to violence" arguement never really made to sense to me. Would
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I've also been to the arcade, so in a basic sense (Time Crisis 2, House of the Dead), I know how to pick up a gun, aim, and fire.

        Not to call you out on this one, but I'd like to address the underlying mentality.

        I carry a gun. I drill with guns frequently, and I teach others. I enjoy gunning down people in GTA, I love the visceral chainsaw in Gears of War, and the ragdoll physics in Crackdown are a total blast.

        But the real thing is a different arena completely. Trust me, videogames don't teach you how to
      • by Reziac (43301) *
        "I'm actually not that aggressive. But violent games, anime, and movies probably have given me more of a capacity for violence."

        Same here. However, from these same sources, I've gained a larger measure of self-control.

        What it works out to is that thanks to being attacked by and killing countless pixels, I've developed more skill at rapidly assessing a situation and reacting appropriately. If the correct reaction is violence, then I'm more able to react that way without hesitation. On the flip side, since I'
      • by Creepy (93888)
        Having a sister-in-law that was sexually abused as a child (in the 1980s) to produce kiddie pr0n, and who is now suicidal and suffers constant anxiety, I'd say throw them all in jail, SPECIFICALLY the users. If you want to kill a problem, you have to control demand, not supply - reducing supply only increases demand, as anyone that has had Econ 101 should know (has stopping the supply of drugs or prostitutes ever worked?). Not that I don't think the suppliers should be strung up by their own intestines, a
    • If the studies in TFA are not enough for you, are you asking for scientists to generate a homocidal maniac? Is that the only proof you'll accept?

      'm sure I'm not the only one who, after a particularly intense multi-player session of burnout ponders the best way to force the slowpoke ahead of you off the road. But I'm also sure that I'm not the only one who has realized that this is not the proper way to deal with a slowpoke ahead of you blocking traffic.

      This smacks of "user error" syndrome. A bad progra

    • What I'd like to see in one of these studies is the establishment of the direction of the link, and whether the increase in violent thought patterns translated into action.

      here is my purely anecdotal non-scientific take on that very subject.

      there are a number of people in this world that don't think. i have two daughters, one is a thinker and one is not. my oldest is thoughtful and respectful and the other is constantly being lectured and punished for doing something without thinking. i don't want to go into a huge nature vs. nurture argument, but based on the past 11 years of having kids of my own, along with nieces and nephews, i have to say that there must be some s

  • Hmmm.. maybe... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Thangodin (177516) <elentar@syPARISmpatico.ca minus city> on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:56PM (#18934477) Homepage
    ...but maybe not. All of these studies are by the same researcher, a guy named Craig Anderson, who has been pushing his conclusion long before he had any data for it. There is a strong confirmation bias at work here. His latest study argues that people who play games like Halo are more aggressive at the end of the school term than people who play something like Myst.

    But here's the complication. Myst appeals to casual gamers--people who play games in their spare time. Halo appeals to hardcore gamers, who do it as a hobby. That means they make time for it. Given that the time they make for it may be time taken from their studies, and their work load may be piling up, is this result due to the aggressive influence of gaming, or due to the impact of the stress of having their workload pile up at the end of the term? Too much work, and too little time to do it, will make anyone irritable, impatient, and aggressive. All he has demonstrated here is that the people who play Myst are different from the people who play Halo. Duh! The industry could have told him that years ago.

    Recent research into human behaviour finds too main causal factors: genetic predisposition (measured in twin studies), and peer influence (for example, why do children speak with the accent of their peers and not that of their parents.) These probably account for as much as 90% of variance. The remaining 10% includes parent, teachers, life experience, and all media. So how much influence is left for video games? Not a lot.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kraeloc (869412)
      You clearly never played Myst. I spent a good solid year at that game, and filled many notebooks. I was NOT what you'd call a casual gamer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      Here is the problem. Just as some people see violent video games as an easy scapegoat other refuse to consider the possibility that they do contribute to violence.
      I have played video games for 30 odd years. I am now what I consider a casual gamer but in the past I was pretty hard core for the time.
      A video game will not make a good Quaker in to a mass murder. However they do influence you mood. I can remember going to Malibu Grand prix and driving a few laps. I soon learned that I need to wait a little whi
      • So basically your whole confirmation there is that you, yourself, were _worried_ that you _might_ drive aggressively.

        First of all, that doesn't say anything about actually driving aggressively, it just says you had a thought about it. I thought "heh, if this were City Of Heroes I'd jump out the window instead of taking the stairs" but it doesn't mean I'd actually do it. If anything, all that _really_ proves is that you've been influenced by the media/peer hype, not by the game itself. You were told that gam
    • Sorry, you're wrong. TFA described a controlled experiment, where the FPS and Myst players didn't choose what to play. They were assigned their game randomly. There are different ways to criticize their conclusions, but yours misses the point.
  • WHAT??? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    i play CS:Source almost every day and i'm NOT FUCKING VIOLENT oke??? I will CRUSH YOUR HEADS if you ever bring this topic up again.
  • by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:02PM (#18934537) Journal
    The study in TFA basically compares the way players of Myst and Wolf 3-D treat each other. Amazing! In a game that deliberately increases adrenaline through various means (play Wolf 3D if you haven't, you'll jump out of your skin in some places even though the graphics are really low-tech), players show aggressive behaviour toward one another. I bet we'd see this effect in other competitions that are heavy on the adrenaline, such as football or hockey.

    Myst, on the other hand, does not involve anything of the sort, focusing instead on intellectual puzzles. There's no real time pressure except for the other players. An RL analogue I suppose would be Chess. Not surprisingly, highly intellectual activities where the players are not directly competing with each other leads to a more patient sort of competitive behaviour. Less adrenaline means more reasonable discourse.

    The question, of course, is whether activities that cause high adrenaline actually do cause violence. I'd say yes, though in many cases the violence is contained to a particular activity, say sacking the quarterback. I'd say I'm a violent, aggressive person. However, I'd also add that I try to keep those tendencies away from places where it's not appropriate. I love a good adrenaline rush, and I'd rather not take cocaine or meth to get one. Just because WoW and football bring out my overly dominant tendancies doesn't mean that WoW and football are bad, nor WoW players and football players.

    For some real news, try finding a causal link between people who have high-adrenaline outlets (don't forget competitive sports!) and violent criminals (as determined by conviction rate). I doubt that we'll find anything significant there.
    • by Alsee (515537)
      I have a modest proposal.

      Lets do one study on videogames and violence, and a second study under the same terms on football and violence. Then we ban the one with the higher violence result. Oh... and we don't ban the other one... in fact from that point on anyone who so much as suggests banning the other one gets a boot to the head.

      Sounds like a fair deal to me.

      Someone get Jack Thompson on the phone and get him on the plan... assuming he's not too busy firebombing the Florida Bar Association and some godles
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7 AT kc DOT rr DOT com> on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:08PM (#18934613) Homepage
    How is this any different than Joe Six-pack who gets pissed off after his team looses on Monday Night Football and decides to beat his wife to take out his frustrations, or the guy that has a bad hole on the golf course and wraps his driver around a tree? There have been losers like that since Ally Oop lost 20 clams on a Mastodon race, went back to his cave and clubbed his wife. Some people just can't handle things not going their way. If there was a way to screen them and take them out of gene pool I'd be all for it, but to try and point the root cause to some external influence is just shifting the blame. The problem isn't that Johnny plays counterstrike; it's that Johnny has a violent temper and lack of self control. You can plug any anything in place of video games, the stock market, sports even jobs, basically anything that can involve a positive or negative outcome can lead to violence in a person inclined to be violent.
    • by wellingj (1030460) on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:50PM (#18935063)
      I wanted to Parent as insightful but I'd like him to consider the fact that it is a very similar
      aggression that allows people to see an injustice and actually do something about it rather than
      sit on the sidelines. Also if it wasn't for this kind of aggression do you think we'd of had a civil
      rights movement? Some times the only way to make things 'right' is by aggression. I'm not saying that
      every one should as aggressive as they are in a video game. I'm just saying that you can't totally
      decry this part of our humanity(or is that instinct?) because it is very vital to your own personal
      continued existence when it comes to actual injustice. The problem as I see it is that no one taught these
      kind of people what to expect from life. And there is the rub, because not many video games teach you how
      to loose graciously, where life sometimes demands it.
      • You made me sad, send me a million bucks.

        What people don't seem to get about civil rights movements is they require 3 things, people who feel there is an injustice, people who feel guilty and people in power who believe justice isn't being served.

        People who feel there is an injustice are arguably the smallest part of the equation, homosexuals and slaves had little or no voice before their civil rights movements were born. The guilt is a product of "White Civility" and while spreading isn't universal (S
  • by ductonius (705942) on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:09PM (#18934623) Homepage
    Two of the studies use kids - who the entire video game industry agrees shouldn't play violent games, and to that extent has developed a rating system to help *parents* control this.

    The third study simply says that the college undergrads were more aggressive after engaging in a mentally stimulating activity. People tend to be more aggressive right after watching sports too. We've known this for years.

    So, what we have here is two studies that have very low validity because they have nothing to do with reality and one that's deliberately designed to come to the conclusion 'video-games make people aggressive'.

    Can we have some real science now, please?
    • People tend to be more aggressive right after watching sports too. We've known this for years.

      Not to mention those who play sports! Quick, compare how many times in high school you were physically threatened or hurt by a jock versus a video game nut. Can anyone honestly say that the videogame kids are more dangerous overall? The football players I knew were (and to my knowledge, have been as long as the damn sport has been around!) always the most obnoxious, arrogant, and physically abusive people aroun

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by servognome (738846)

        The football players I knew were (and to my knowledge, have been as long as the damn sport has been around!) always the most obnoxious, arrogant, and physically abusive people around.
        Other than the physical part, I've found there are always people who are arrogant, obnoxious, and abusive when they are in an element they feel they control. Try playing as a noob on WoW, and you'll enjoy a few people who "have 4 level 60 chars" and spew out obscenities and verbal abuse.
    • by Alsee (515537)
      Can we have some real science now, please?

      Probably not, but I admire your optimism.

      -
  • New study (Score:4, Funny)

    by Joe U (443617) on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:15PM (#18934691) Homepage Journal
    And a new study conducted by me says everyone is unique in their own way and reacts differently to different situations.

    Yay, I saved billions in research, someone send me a new gaming rig, my old P4 is showing it's age.

    (If you don't, I'll play a few levels of Doom at you.)
  • by earthbound kid (859282) on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:19PM (#18934725) Homepage
    Given that violent crime dropped dramatically from the mid-90s on (during the same time period in which the first generation to grow up with violent videogames came of age) the burden of proof for this lies on the side that proposes a link between videogames and violence. Unless there is really clear proof that violent crime would be even lower than it already is, I don't see much of a positive correlation between the two in the real world.
  • Books? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698)

    I haven't seen any studies that indicate one way or another whether violent books contribute to violent behavior. Why is nobody concerned about this?

    That's rhetorical... the answer is that video games are new and scary to a large group of relatively influential people. In a few decades, nobody will worry about this issue at all.

    And, as another poster mentioned, how about the catastrophic number of injuries and deaths throughout the nation caused by sports? Why aren't people enacting panicked legislat

    • by cdrguru (88047)
      Silly.

      There should be no question by now that if you expose a vulnerable/suggestable person to the right kind of stimulus that you can get them to do things. Clear example is the "Stockholm Syndrome". It should not be surprising that by repeatedly play-acting killing people and creating general mayhem that some people are going to be influenced to go out and kill people.

      The real question is if this affects more than just particularly suggestable people or if over time people become more open to this kind
  • by The Living Fractal (162153) <{banantarr} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:35PM (#18934879) Homepage
    Football, baseball, hockey, basketball, dodgeball, foosball, ping-pong, bocce ball, lawn darts, beer pong, soccer, racing, raquetball, handball, volleyball, wrestling, javelin and frisbee golf have been linked to violence.

    This can mean only one thing! Video games are at fault! Down with teh gory bits! Er.. wait...

    TLF
  • I really like this topic. So I am wondering if I should use my 4 remaining mod points or post something here... Any thoughts?

    Ahh.. damn.

    But seriously. We've known there's a link to pretending to do something and actually ending up doing it. Look at the prisoner vs. guard studies in that college of which the name I forget... Basic idea: normal people pretended to be prisoners and other normal people pretended to be guards. After a while, the people who were pretending to be prisoners actually FELT like prisoners (even though they could leave whenever they wanted in reality) and the Guards.. oh man the guards... they started getting violent and abusive. We're talking college students.. I mean, they're the epitome of maturity, I don't understand how this could've happened :)

    Ok so that wasn't entirely serious. Let me try again. People who like violence will play violent video games. This does not mean the game turned them violent. It was already in them. It's human nature. Really.

    TLF
    TLF
    • by Echnin (607099)
      You are thinking about the Stanford prison experiment [wikipedia.org].

      Interesting experiment.

    • by merreborn (853723)
      You're thinking of Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_Prison_Exper iment [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kelbear (870538)
      "People who like violence will play violent video games."

      That statement is fine, but I'd also like to add that people who like games will also play violent video games. There's two attraction factors being addressed here. Violence, and gaming. The vast majority is being drawn by gaming. The goal in Counterstrike is to win, or get points. Violence is just being painted over what is really just people playing a form of "tag" at a distance...virtually. The violence is hardly worth mentioning, and goes unnotice
  • What the hell is that supposed to mean? Videogames and taking a shit are "linked," I guarantee you that 100% of people who play games also take a shit at some point. That doesn't mean that videogames cause bowel movements.

    The reality is that people who commit acts of violence can be shown, either by previous diagnoses or by forensic analysis to have very severe personality disorders. Those personality disorders can develop due to a variety of causes, physical/sexual abuse are strongly implicated, as

    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Also consider that such shooting sprees are hardly new. The first one that I know of in the U.S. happened in the 1800s, when someone went to a school and started blazing away. (I don't recall the details.) Unless he was a time traveller, I doubt video games had anything to do with it.

      The only same comment I've ever seen on these shooting sprees came from a priest in SoCal who works with neglected teens. He said quite bluntly that these incidents are NOT murders. They are LOUD, MESSY SUICIDES, where the idea
      • by Cadallin (863437)
        Yes, but I've read multiple studies that indicate clearly that purely depressed patients are not violent against other people. Only patients with personality disorders present as complications showed that kind of behavior. There are plenty of depressed people including teens out there, and of the ones that do, the vast majority take their own life without physical violence against anyone else.

        Depression, in my opinion, is not sufficient to spark a killing spree, it takes some additional predisposition

  • There is a market... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Monday April 30, 2007 @07:10PM (#18935229) Homepage
    Those that don't want violence in video games should just start producing non-violent ones. With all the violent games out there, you would guess there is quite a bit of a market left for non-violent onces, but except a little sports game here or a mini-game there, the market is mostly ignored by the developers/publishers. Where are the non-violent triple-AAA titles?
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Same place as the triple-AAA tv series and movies that don't rely on either violence, sex or both. Seriously, they're two common themes right from Tom and Jerry beating each other up to the fight for Daisy's favor between Donald Duck and Gladstone Gander. The only question is whether it's too adult, too soon. In the bigger picture I don't think you can stop it though, though you're welcome to try on the personal parenting level.

      What we need to instill that PC violence is not real violence, it's Tom and Jerr
    • Wouldn't that depend how you define non-violent? For example is throwing a banana skin or a red shell in Mario Kart violent?

      And there are a few awesome non-violent games like Kororinpa on the Wii, which is just rolling a marble around by using the Wiimote as the level (you turn it, the level turns). It's really fun and everyone I know who played it loved it, but it isn't getting much marketing so it'll go pretty much unloved compared to say Halo 3 which will be over hyped and the same as Halo 1 in every sin
      • by grumbel (592662)
        One problem with the Wii is that while it opens a new market, it makes little to attract to the old customers. When I have the choice between rolling a marble and some nice sci-fi setting. I'll pick the sci-fi setting, not because of the violence, but simply because I like video games that allow me to explore different worlds and well, rolling a marble just isn't enough. Today there simply are almost no big titles that have some good story and lack violence, which is kind of sad, since a lot of good story t
    • by rbright (54766)

      On Wikipedia's top 20 console games of all time [wikipedia.org] only two are violent: GTA:III and GTA:SA.

      If you cruise through the detailed lists for Sony and Nintendo consoles, you'll see tons of AAA non-violent titles beyond sports and mini-games. The XBoxes look pretty violent by comparison.

      On a related note: Guitar Hero II is awesome. It doesn't get much more AAA than that.

  • by Durrok (912509) <calltechsucks&gmail,com> on Monday April 30, 2007 @07:12PM (#18935245) Homepage Journal
    Does everyone who has violent tendencies who does not play video games go out and commit murder? No.

    Does everyone who has violent tendencies who does play video games go out and commit murder? No.

    Sometimes they do though. Who is to say that running over a hooker in GTA4 to get their money back did not push them over the edge? One could also argue that if running over the virtual hooker did not make him "snap" something else would have. You could also argue that being able to run over virtual hookers may have stopped him from "snapping" sooner. The possibilities for debate for this topic are endless but what it really comes down to is the person who does the act.

    Take me for example. I have not gone on a killing spree but I have picked up smoking recently. I'm 23 years old. Both of my parents and all my family members smoked or dipped and have for all of my life. Out of the dozen or so close friends I have all but two smoke habitually and the other two will do so on occasion. Did this make me predisposed to smoking? Perhaps. Did my friends and family strap me in a chair and force me to smoke cigarettes until I was addicted? Of course not. I made a decision to smoke knowing full well the consequences that could come from my actions. If I were to go pick up a gun today, point it at someone and fire it would be decision I made for myself. I can fool myself into thinking I can get away with it just as I could fool myself that I was not going to get addicted to smoking cigarettes but the issue still remains: I pulled the trigger. Whatever mind tricks I played on myself would be because I knew I was going to get caught.

    As far as being insane goes, I know if for whatever reason I did kill someone I would plead insanity and do whatever I could to pull it off. I'll take heavily medicated and alive over the needle any day. I'm sure some people who do plead insanity really are but I'm sure most are just smart enough to know how to stay alive.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Who is to say that running over a hooker in GTA4 to get their money back did not push them over the edge?

      Greetings, fellow time poster! I'm afraid you betrayed yourself by mentionning playing a game that is yet to come out. Please avoid doing such a mistake again, for if people of this time were to figure out our secret it might ruin the experience of the rest of us who decided to live in this era of time. Thank you.

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday April 30, 2007 @07:17PM (#18935297) Homepage Journal
    The only thing that I've learned from the debate is that studies are a primary cause of conflict.

    Scientific debates always seem to end with a bunch of guys in nice outfits yelling at each other until their faces turn red.

    Clearly, we need to ban science.
  • by FroBugg (24957) on Monday April 30, 2007 @07:18PM (#18935309) Homepage
    The author of this article fails to reference a recent study that reaches completely different results.

    An Institute in Australia studied 120 11-15 year-olds and concluded that violent games did affect children who were already predisposed to violence and aggression, but children who were not violent to begin with were unaffected.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Most-kids-unaf fected-by-violent-games/2007/04/01/1175366055463.h tml [smh.com.au]
  • by toddt (731370) on Monday April 30, 2007 @07:20PM (#18935333)
    I think we should probably be careful about hanging our hats on the argument that video games are completely innocuous, because I think there's going to be a mounting accumulation of evidence linking games to violent behavior.

    Here's what we know from a neuropsych framework:
    1) Impulsivity and aggression are linked to activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) (the "fight or flight" part, if you remember your basic psych). The more the sympathetic system is activated, the more likely we are to make rash, impulsive decisions. The racing-heart/sweaty/stressed feeling you get when you lose your temper? That's the sympathetic nervous system talking, hopping you up on adrenaline. (And noradrenaline, et cetera) Think of how much more likely people are to make stupid, impulsive decisions when they've lost their temper than when they're thinking "rationally". (e.g., road rage or bar fights)
    2) Video games, exciting movies, gambling, and the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (if you're five) all activate the SNS. We know this from measuring galvanic skin response, looking at pupillary reflexes, or simply measuring the level of cortisol in the bloodstream.
    3) It could be inferred, then, that video games are likely to increase your arousal which will then make you more likely to cut that guy off when you're driving home from the LAN match or escalate the trash talk into something physical. AS COULD ANYTHING ELSE EXCITING. We've seen this, somewhat less conclusively, from behavioral observations. Five-year olds are more likely to karate-chop the dog after some Power Ranger action. People are more likely to drive recklessly after playing a lot of Gran Turismo or watching Oceans Twelve.

    In short, video games *do* change the brain... and that's why we like them. We crave excitement and novelty. We like being surprised; we like scary movies; we like jumping out of planes; we like gibbing people in Quake. We *like* jacking up our SNS.

    I think we, as gamers, are setting a trap for ourselves when we say that video games have no impact on our cognition. Of course it does. Everything does. Claiming there's no mental impact of gaming is a foolish position, and when you lose this argument, it makes it that much harder to win the subsequent arguments. A more interesting question is whether games go behind the simple modulation of arousal levels. Are games fundamentally different than sky-diving, for example? I don't think so, but honestly, the jury is out. I can see the other side, too. We tend to play games for nine straight hours, when it's a rare person who sky-dives that much. When we're gaming, we actually envision ourselves in the role of Kratos, God of War, while we don't usually have that involvement with action movies. Maybe games *are* different.

    Of course, the *real* question is how much this matters. Even if there were a well-controlled, randomized study showing that the amount of game time played directly correlated with the likelihood of a violent crime, is that enough cause to ban games? I think not, but, then again, I prefer not living in a nanny-state.

    Anyway, just some thoughts... (and yes, I am a neuroscientist. And a gamer.)
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Perhaps there's something else going on, tho. Consider this theory, which I made up this very instant, but is based on observation of people under various kinds of pressure:

      In everyday life, most people don't have much call for fight-or-flight reactions. So when something happens that triggers it, they really don't have any experience in how to react. Their reaction is therefore more likely to be irrational and unconsidered, or they may simply freeze and be unable to react at all.

      Whereas a violent-games gam
  • I like how the title of the article is so definitive, when really there is still a big ol' question mark. Yes, I suppose video games are linked to violence in as much as a correlation exists. Whether or not that correlation actually means anything has yet to be proven. Similarly, the decline in pirates over the past couple hundred years correlates well with the rise in global average temperature... as I'm sure you're all aware!
  • The author's comment about how video games aren't proven to "cause" violence is true. That she dismisses that the lack of causality or even correlation is suspect. Essentially, what she's saying: If even the most creative manipulation of numbers doesn't give you the statistics data you want, then throw it all out because the issue is more complex.

    Many other countries with violent video games do not have the high crime rates we do. As the number of violent games increases, violent crime decreases. This is a
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      When you have war, you have absent fathers, which is a known cause of violent "acting out" in young teen males.

      When you have war, parents often feel uncertain about their future, and take it out on their kids, by imposing needless restrictions "for your own safety", which would be deemed ludicrous if there weren't "terrorists and perverts lurking on every street corner". Kids chafing under unfair restrictions often overreact and express their frustrations through violence (if only by beating up their little
  • I don't think anyone here denies that young kids playing violent video games may cause them to be more violent. The question is whether the games do more to cause violence than watching violent tv and movies, reading violent books, or playing potentially violent sports. These studies quoted do nothing to show that or if they did, the article does not mention it.

    Also, we still have to question how/why these 3rd and 4th graders in the last study got the violent games. Well, no, we know how and why but I'm
  • No one blames the Bible for David Koresh. Why is that do you think? It seems pretty obvious to me: Koresh was a crazy loser and if he hadn't picked the bible as his poison, he'd have just picked something else. That's what crazy losers do: they latch on to something and turn it destructive.

    The Bible is not causitive to insanity. And regardless of how you may massage the numbers, its not correlative either. Neither are slasher flicks, ghost stories, football, rock and roll, cops and robbers, or, yes, video g
  • Ok, simple logical question: Do video games cause violence, or do violent people seek out video games? Which is the cause and which is (an) effect? So numerous studies show that people who commit major crimes statistically tend to play violent games. How do we know that they didn't play the games because they enjoyed (or were obsessed by) violence a bit more than average? People enjoy violent entertainment. Violent stories through oral tradition, Punch and Judy, violent books, violent movies, violent gam
  • I would like to see other activities analyzed. What about playing football? Does it make kids more aggressive? Do the percentage of violence perpetrated by members of the football team is higher? If its the case, should then Football be banned?
  • ...which is that aggression can be a good thing. After all, this is why we teach kids to play football, because we want them to learn how to tackle.

    But she dismisses this idea in a 3-sentence paragraph:

    "Critics counter that some kids may use games to vent anger or distract themselves from problems...but other studies suggest that venting anger doesn't reduce later aggressive behavior, so [i'm still right, let's move on.]"

    Overall this article assumes that aggression==crime, and that's an axiomatic flaw. Ag
  • Thesis: Videogames don't cause violence, but are rather a indicator of tendancies.

    1) Get a group of people that don't normally play much in the way of video games.

    2) Perform a psychological analysis on the people, and split them into three categories:
    [A] nonviolent, [B] intermediate, [C] violent tendancies

    3) Find a number of games, and fit them into the three categories that the people were in.

    4) Split each of the three groups up into sets:

    [a] Control set - they are simply observed
    [b] This set is introduced
  • The article is NOT balanced. All of the sources that it mentions are from Craig Anderson who has never met a medium that he didn't think caused "agression." The problem with Anderson is, at least in the Anderson studies I've read, he never defines what "aggression" is. In one study he gives the example of saying something mean as being aggressive. So for Anderson aggression can mean anything from killing someone to saying, "You suck!" Regardless of the type of media he has studies Anderson has consistentl
  • by tbannist (230135) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @10:31AM (#18941503)
    There is a big problem with this article and others like it. It is very difficult to get reasonable results out of them. There is no single causational trigger for violence. If there were, we'd see armies of 28 days style zombies everywhere.

    The evidence pretty clearly indicates that all media has a weak influences on violent behaviour whether it be comics, novels, newspapers, music, movies, television, or video games, but real life has the largest impact. The violence we witness or participate in is more important than any other factor.

    For young children, parents tend to play the pivotal role in their development. The parent's reaction to violence can be more important than all of the media that the child consumes. But a parent actually has to be there. They have to talk to their children. They have to make sure that their children are understanding the context of what they see and hear.

    I think the "protect the children" crowd has it terribly, terribly wrong. They want to protect children from seeing the consequences of violence. That might be worse than teaching children self-confidence instead of knowledge, which everyone should know by now was disastrously bad. Children learn from what they see and hear, when violence is portrayed as having no consequences they learn that violence has no consequences.
  • Counterstrike is NOT that violent. Yeah you can unload a gun pointblank into a "persons" face BUT the effect is cartoonish. They just crumple to the floor with fake and totally unconvcing blood and a fully intact body (unless new damage modelling has been added).

    Soldier of Fortune and a game I don't remember had location damage. Shoot someone in the groin and they react to that.

    In Mafia death was far from instant. People would fall to the floor and attempt to crawl away begging for their life.

    In CS your

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