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Brain Changes When Viewing Violent Media 448

Posted by Zonk
from the argh-must-destroy-pokemans dept.
Ponca City, We Love You writes "Scientists at Columbia University have used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to show that a brain network responsible for suppressing inappropriate or unwarranted aggressive behaviors became less active after study subjects watched several short clips from popular movies depicting acts of violence. These changes could render people less able to control their own aggressive behavior. Although research has shown some correlation between exposure to media violence and real-life violent behavior, there has been little direct neuroscientific support for this theory until now. 'Depictions of violent acts have become very common in the popular media,' said researcher Christopher Kelly. 'Our findings demonstrate for the first time that watching media depictions of violence does influence processing in parts of the brain that control behaviors like aggression.' The full research paper is published on the The Public Library of Science, a peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication, that publishes all its articles under a Creative Commons Attribution License."
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Brain Changes When Viewing Violent Media

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  • surprising (Score:4, Funny)

    by jadrian (1150317) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:47PM (#21601801)
    So passing a visual stimulus that is interpreted by the brain as violent affects the corresponding area of the brain...? Who would have guessed that...
    • by AndersOSU (873247)
      Also, passing a visual stimuli of bunnies, dancing animated popcorn, and a documentary on FDR's PWA each either suppressed or excited certain areas of the brain responsible for various emotional responses. Researches indicated that these changes could effect people in some way.
    • by leenks (906881)
      That's the point - lots of people did indeed guess that. This is one of the first decent experiments that goes some way to proving it.
    • Re:surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ArcherB (796902) * on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:08PM (#21603257) Journal
      So passing a visual stimulus that is interpreted by the brain as violent affects the corresponding area of the brain...? Who would have guessed that...

      Evidently, not many people who read /. Go back and read any of the summaries that deal with violent video games and look at all the people who say that video games have no effect on the minds of children. Take THIS [slashdot.org] one for example:

      Firstly, the ratings are knee-jerk reactionary mostly meaningless bullshit. kids aren't as stupid as we make out, and know the difference between cartoon and computer game versus real life violence.
      Or THIS [slashdot.org] one:

      http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=275887&cid=20322901
      And finally, THIS [slashdot.org] one and it's response:

      There are exactly zero, none, studies/experiments/research papers that have been able to support the theory that violent video games have an adverse affect on children.
      I'm afraid it's not quite as obvious as you would think.
      • Re:surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:57PM (#21604177) Homepage Journal
        Not only are they wrong, they overlook a critical piece of information. Games have been becoming more and more realistic.
        so when they look back and say "When I was a kid, nobody went crazy" it doesn't exactly apply to current games, Also anecdotal evidence is almost always wrong.
        • Good point. There is a big difference between Bugs Bunny violence and hyper realistic violence - whether movies or todays super 3D performance video games. There would also seem to be some survival value in the response. If there is a lot of violence going on around you, you need to be ready to respond in kind (or find a good hiding place).
        • by tgibbs (83782) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @07:27PM (#21605509)

          Not only are they wrong, they overlook a critical piece of information. Games have been becoming more and more realistic.
          so when they look back and say "When I was a kid, nobody went crazy" it doesn't exactly apply to current games, Also anecdotal evidence is almost always wrong.


          So let's forget about anecdotes and look at the statistics. What has happened to rates of violent crimes as games have gotten more and more realistically violent? They've dropped. [usdoj.gov] What's more, they've dropped most dramatically in the very demographic group that plays these games. That doesn't necessarily prove that games prevent violence, but it does prove that the pro-violence effect of games (if there is any at all) is so small as to be utterly swamped by other social and demographic factors affecting rates of violence.

          As for brain scans, you can be sure that pretty much any activity that people enjoy and like to do repeatedly alters brain activity, but the interpretation of these changes in blood flow over rather large regions of the brain is still pretty much at the level of "Just-So" stories. At this point, it's a lot more speculation than science.
  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scubamage (727538) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:50PM (#21601861)
    So maybe they'll stop glorifying war, violence, and all of the blood battered details of the latest shoot-em-up rampage on the evening news? Nah, why would they do that when they can blame video games instead. Sigh.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680)
      Hey now, banning video games is done for the good of the children who play them, stopping the nightly news from showing you broken and bloodied bodies is stepping on their first amendment rights.
      • Re:Hmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by scubamage (727538) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:15PM (#21602275)
        Oh yeah, I forgot! Thanks for clearing that up. Also, did you ever notice that in the US its ok for prime time tv to show someone's bullet riddled corpse, but its not ok for two people to be shown having sex, or even showing nudity? Its like the act of procreation and creating life is taboo, but the act of ending life isn't - and we wonder why we have issues with violence in our nation. Hell, its considered distasteful to even show things like "The Miracle of Life" without it being in a highly academic context.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ArcherB (796902) *
          Hell, its considered distasteful to even show things like "The Miracle of Life" without it being in a highly academic context.

          Well, there is a difference between "The Miracle of Life" and Ross dogging Rachel from behind while she gives him a "Reach-Under" with Chandler screaming, "Could that BE any freakier?".

        • Also, did you ever notice that in the US its ok for prime time tv to show someone's bullet riddled corpse, but its not ok for two people to be shown having sex, or even showing nudity?

          This certainly isn't limited to the US. While the contrasts of these sex and violence is easy to see on US TV, this is probably more common than most people think.

          Part of what is at issue is the business aspect of TV. Why challenge the FCC and community standards when what is being produced today is selling just fine? The o
        • by xtracto (837672)
          did you ever notice that in the US its ok for prime time tv to show someone's bullet riddled corpse, but its not ok for two people to be shown having sex, or even showing nudity?

          You see... it is a matter of national security. Imagine if you showed people all that nudity and libido waker sex material, you would get into an overpopulation problem. Instead, you show only media which makes people kill each other and with that (and the war of course) you keep your population from growing!

          BTW. In "media" every ty
        • Re:Hmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by timeOday (582209) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:12PM (#21603331)
          On the other hand, the legal punishment for murder (up to and including death) is far worse than for fornication (none). That means your analysis is missing something about how the US perceives the relative seriousness.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by daninspokane (1198749)
        I'll be honest, sometimes I wonder to myself how I ever got so desensetized. When I can watch a video of a prisoner in iraq get his head sawed off and not blink an eye... maybe that means I should cut down on the violence... Screw it, time to go beat up some GTAIII hookers for cash.
  • It's true. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:51PM (#21601865) Homepage Journal

    After watching violent movies I beat my wife much worse than usual.

    • Re:It's true. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:36PM (#21603801) Journal
      You may joke. I remember one time my wife asked me a question while I was playing Warcraft II years ago. It was a perfectly innocent question but I turned round and shouted at her horribly. It took me a few seconds to realise what had happened. I was on an adrenaline high. The game was fantasy, but the adrenaline was real. (And probably someone had just ogre rushed me...)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MrKaos (858439)
        I watched a documentary about the brain recently, and this trait was addressed specifically - and you can change it. The aggressive reaction was a trait left of from post puberty teenage brain development while the amygdala was learning coordination of the varying areas of the brain.

        According to the documentary you can condition yourself out of the behaviour by developing a reaction that takes you out of that moment, e.g when you were playing warcraft by programming your self to say "one moment" calmly as

  • by TheLostSamurai (1051736) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:51PM (#21601871)

    Our findings demonstrate for the first time that watching media depictions of violence does influence processing in parts of the brain that control behaviors like aggression.

    Okay, but how long does it last? Given the fact that I am not very likely to take off my shoe and bludgeon the person in front of me in the theater to death, how does this effect my likelyhood to do the same thing after the movie when I see someone I am not fond of?
    • Okay, but how long does it last? Given the fact that I am not very likely to take off my shoe and bludgeon the person in front of me in the theater to death,

      I know, that is so ridiculous!

      It is the ass behind me kicking my chair that I am going to bludgeon to death.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MBCook (132727)

      That's my question. The finding isn't that surprising. If you are standing in a crowd and someone is running around bashing people's skulls in... it makes sense that you be more prone to violence so you can defend yourself with all necessary force. Seems like a sane evolutionary adaptation.

      However, this finding implies(or at least in the media's reporting of it) that violent games will cause kids to be more violent. If a kid plays a violent game, does that make them more violent in 5 minutes? 2 days? 2 wee

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745)
        actually it says that the part of the brain that suppress violent becomes used less.

        This is different then 'make kids more violent'.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:51PM (#21601877) Homepage Journal
    And it doesn't make me violet and well beat the crap out of the anyone that says different.

    So here is a question. How does it effect younger people?
    Or what is the effect if the media is interactive in nature?

    I am just waiting to see what excuese the "Video games don't contribute to violence" lobby will have to say about this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And it doesn't make me violet and well beat the crap out of the anyone that says different.
      Violet? You're turning violet, Violet!
    • One of the real problems that you have is that violent crime rates (robbery, murder, rape, etc) have been dropping for a long time. There is a real question of whether or why one should be overly worried about violent video games/movies/etc. when we are generally doing pretty well as a society. At some point we as a society have to be able to choose freedom to have some slightly self-destructive habits if we are to remain a free society.

      At some point the video game violence issue is the same as whether we as a country should have laws banning homosexual activity, and whether we should ban alcohol consumption. Do we want freedom or an authoritarian state?

      Note that alcohol consumption contributes to a *lot* more harm every year than video games and I support the right to consume alcohol.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        "At some point the video game violence issue is the same as whether we as a country should have laws banning homosexual activity, and whether we should ban alcohol consumption. Do we want freedom or an authoritarian state?"

        Umm... We restrict the sale of alcohol to minors don't we?
        That Freedom or an authoritarian state line is just over the top. So you DON"T want the research done because you may not like the answer...
        How open minded and scientific.

        • by einhverfr (238914)
          I never said the research shouldn't be done. I think research should always be done.

          But you asked about lobbying which concerns how that research is used to steer public policy. The public policy questions are different. Research is only a small part of that discussion and that is how it should be.
          • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:11PM (#21603309) Homepage Journal
            And if the results of the study are that violent media is harmful then why not restrict young people's access to it just like alcohol and tobacco?
            People say that parents should control what there kids watch and play but then why restrict tobacco and alcohol? Shouldn't parents control what kids drink and smoke?
            The media companies don't want any real restrictions because just like the Tobacco companies all they care about is money. Any pretense that they care about freedom is just spin.
            Hey I like to play Quake just as much as the next person but how the fanboys on Slashdot fall for media compaines freedom flag waving for profit just makes me nuts.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by einhverfr (238914)
              First, kids are pretty resourceful. I have been brewing beer since I was 16. Probably legally at first, since it was in my parents' house with their permission (BTW, I am not and have never been much of a drinker, but I *do* enjoy brewing). Later when I moved away to college it was suddenly illegal. Did I stop though? Why should I? It is not like there is any law in my state against selling brewing equipment to people under 21 (and it is strange to me that it would have been legal for me as a minor bu
      • by thegnu (557446)
        Yeah, my first thoughts were:

        Bull fights
        Lynchings
        Public Executions
        Soccer Riots
        Good Old Roughhousing
        War

        I think overall, movies are just replacing other violent and dangerous activities. Are spaniards more violent than Americans? I noticed in Mexico that while you were a little more likely to get in a fight, you were far less likely to get shivved. Not that I've ever been shivved in the US, but just statistically.

        The brain research here is assuming that we know exactly what occurs afterwards. Does the low
    • by Obyron (615547)
      So here is a question. How does it effect younger people?

      It could only "effect" younger people if watching violent makes people get pregnant and have babies. The word you're looking for here is "affect." For what it's worth you got it right in your second question though.
    • Or what is the effect if the media is interactive in nature?

      Then you are being conditioned to respond to stimuli in a certain manner. It's like law enforcement and military training. Repetition to develop a reflex response and muscle memory. The correct stimuli triggers the reflex. As a matter of fact elaborate video games are being used to train troops. The simulation's imagery is projected onto a wall and an individual soldier or squad responds to the situations with realistic but simulated weapons. I
    • by s20451 (410424)
      And it doesn't make me violet and well beat the crap out of the anyone that says different.

      This is kind of like arguing that you smoked a cigarette once and didn't get cancer, so they must be safe.
  • by F-3582 (996772)
    I wonder how long it takes science to figure out that spending time in the army leads to aggressive behaviour, as well.
    • by scubamage (727538)
      Actually they've done studies which showed a correlation to many things involving the military and violence. For example, soldiers are taught to literally drive through crowds in war situations. Strangely enough, areas around military bases have an abnormally high number of automobile collisions, and pedestrian fatalities. I wish I still had access to academic databases and could cite the studies. Similarly, soldiers who've spent time in warzones appear to have an increased tendency towards violent behavior
      • Considering we have an entirely self-selected military, you'd have to do some serious investigation into before and after to get more than correlation. Self-selection into the military could be based largely on the traits that the military trains people for. Careful, bicycle-riding, peaceful, pacifists don't generally volunteer to be taught how to shoot at gun-wielding teenagers from other countries.

        Also, since our military is comprised mostly of people who have barely made the age of majority (and mostly m
    • by qbzzt (11136)
      This is the reason military training includes a huge component of impulse control - the point is to train soldiers to be violence when appropriate.
  • This seems like something coming straight out of clockwork orange.
    • by wattrlz (1162603)
      Not really. Now if they were studying what would happen if the subjects were subjected to unpleasant stimuli like nausea or electric shocks while watching violent images, now that would be interesting.
    • by techpawn (969834)
      Right right little Alex. Just without the medication and surgery...
    • but perhaps I should've used !clockworkorange, since in the movie (never read the book) being exposed to violence had a different effect than what this research seems to imply.
  • OK... but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:52PM (#21601891)
    There's no discussion of how long these effects last. Of course our brain is going to prepare us for violence when we witness violence. If it didn't, you'd probably get killed in your first violent confrontation because you wouldn't be prepared to fight back. The question is, does viewing violent media today make me more likely to go kill people tomorrow.
    • Cumulative (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iknownuttin (1099999)
      There's no discussion of how long these effects last.

      In America, everything we watch has violence. You can't get away from it - go ahead, try to! (God forbid if a women's nipple is shown! Think of the children! It's OK for them to see someone get shot, though.)

      What I'm trying to say is, we're constantly seeing violent images. Yeah, if you just saw that one movie or played that one game and then went into a monastery, sure the effects may not last that long. But I think that the researchers are confusing l

      • by hoggoth (414195)
        > In America, everything we watch has violence. You can't get away from it - go ahead, try to! (God forbid if a women's nipple is shown! Think of the children! It's OK for them to see someone get shot, though.)

        This bothers me. I'd much rather have my children see a nude person than an act of violence. Censors are ok with decapitations, but won't allow a breast to pop out. Are they nuts?

        Recently I showed my kids 'Clash of the Titans' and I found it refreshing that it showed a beautiful young woman walking
    • There's no discussion of how long these effects last.

      The military considers combat conditioning, decision making and reflexes, to be perishable skills.

      The question is, does viewing violent media today make me more likely to go kill people tomorrow.

      Probably only if you were willing and able to kill in the first place.

      I'm not sure why this is such a mystery. Are military veterans who never saw combat more likely to commit murder? Are combat veterans more likely to commit murder? Surely such trai
  • That the brain may be showing that it is repulsed? Instead they just blindly assume this activity is excitement. So the assumptions of the researchers determine the outcome. Junk science.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spyrochaete (707033)
      I'm sure everyone responds differently, but what we all have in common while viewing violent images is empathy.
    • Not junk science. (Score:4, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @08:33PM (#21606325) Homepage Journal
      the study was "Is there an effect of the brain." Using an fMRI they detected an effect.

      "In a paper in the Dec. 5 on-line issue of PLoS ONE (published by the Public Library of Science), Columbia scientists show that a brain network responsible for suppressing behaviors like inappropriate or unwarranted aggression (including the right lateral orbitofrontal cortex, or right ltOFC, and the amygdala) became less active after study subjects watched several short clips from popular movies depicting acts of violence."

      That's not junk science. IT's saying "Is there an effect, and if so what is it?"

      They know a lot about what the brain does. the fMRI in it self is amazing. for example, limited studies have shown it to detect when people are lying 100% of the time. Pretty cool stuff. The next question, does that hold for a larger pool of people. If it does work, is it considered self incrimination? or is it physical evidence?

      Any ways, the mysteries of the brain are starting to unravel in some very unexpected ways.

      This study seems good. certianly good enough to warrant a better study with a larger pool of people.
  • It's a damn shame Jack's disbarrment hearing wraps up today [gamepolitics.com]. The only thing funnier than Jack getting planked is Jack getting planked even though he was right* all along.

    * Still a liar too stupid to be an effective bully. But right.
  • by sweet 'n sour (595166) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:56PM (#21601987)
    If the subject knows that the violence they are watching is fake then the brain wouldn't have to worry about filtering out violent behavior because it is not violent behavior. Perhaps the brain is just being efficient.


    I'd be more interested in seeing the results of people watching real violence on T.V and knowing it, or seeing the results of a child who doesn't know that fake violence in a movie is not real.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If the brain were "just being efficient", then porn wouldn't be the biggest thing on the internet. Your statement phrased ANOTHER way...

      "If the subject knows that the sex they are watching is fake then the brain wouldn't have to worry about filtering out sexual behavior because it is not sexual behavior. Perhaps the brain is just being efficient.

      "I'd be more interested in seeing the results of people watching real sex on T.V and knowing it, or seeing the results of a child who doesn't know that fake sex in
      • by berashith (222128)
        Thanks, you just explained why I prefer the homemade amateur stuff so much better.
      • As long as you're bringing this to a psychological level as opposed to the neurochemical level, I have a few questions about the validity of some conclusions from that perspective. Isn't the id always a base sort of thing, and isn't it necessary to have an active id to get by? Aren't the ego and superego supposed to balance out the id and keep us from doing antisocial things under normal circumstances?

        Having an impulse -- even a strengthened impulse -- and not being able to control that impulse are, after a
  • They should now make the obvious follow-up study and let their subjects watch select porn and measure its transformative effect on the brain.
    Of course, the results probably wouldn't be as popular or easy to write a press release about - porn makes people happy!
    • by wattrlz (1162603)
      The analogous study would be more along the lines of, " Does porn make people less inhibitted/more horny?" . Which, I think, would be quite an interesting study.
  • What they proved... (Score:5, Informative)

    by king-manic (409855) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @03:57PM (#21602011)
    The brain reacts to violent imagery, may affect impulse control after

    What they didn't prove:

    Violent imagery makes you violent.

    Most of the studies present a violent image and ask you questions after. Partly because it'd be unethical to show them imagery and then attempt to induce violence. Thus they must use proxies which only prove a relationship from the imagery to the proxy.

    Common Study:
    Show a 3 min clip from bioshock - ask "are you feeling more or less violent" or "please push this button as hard as you want" and then write a conclusion " Bioshock makes you violent".

    I doubt violent imagery has no effect on you, it likely agitates the flight or fight response but I am skeptical on whether it can induce violence in a normal/average person. I dislike how media and various groups try to portray a stronger relationship. Doom 3 has not made me a serial killer, it's highly unlikely doom 6 will make my children serial killers, and if it does it's probably partly mine and my communities fault. It my kid does end up being a serial killer there is most likely a biological factor too. Media alone does not make a killer.
    • by yali (209015)

      Most of the studies present a violent image and ask you questions after. Partly because it'd be unethical to show them imagery and then attempt to induce violence. Thus they must use proxies which only prove a relationship from the imagery to the proxy.

      Are you suggesting they should have tried to measure actual violence inside an MRI scanner?

      Or are you speaking more broadly about research on media violence in general? Because plenty of studies have randomly manipulated media exposure and then measured rea

    • What you said:

      What they didn't prove: Violent imagery makes you violent.

      What the summary said:

      Although research has shown some correlation between exposure to media violence and real-life violent behavior, there has been little direct neuroscientific support for this theory until now.

      While it isn't _proven_ that exposure to violent imagery leads to more aggressive behavior, the correlation had already been established. The question isn't whether exposure to violent media makes ordinary people into serial killers, it's if it makes ordinary people more violent than they were. Serial killers are statistical outliers, I don't think they are testing for that anyway.

  • Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Itninja (937614) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:04PM (#21602123) Homepage
    When any game (video or otherwise) rewards a player for brutalizing a passive, non-threating character, I think it's reasonable to call that a desensitization device. Once someone become desensitized to something considered by all modern cultures to be objectionable, they are more likely to react the same way to similar real-world stimuli.

    Just like therapists use certain interactive video imagery programs to help people with extreme phobias. If you have severe arachnophobia, but spend several hours every day interacting with realistic spiders in an simulated environment, you will be less likely to have a panic attack when confronted with a real-world spider. This is a long-documented psychologically valid method.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by VorpalRodent (964940)

      When any game (video or otherwise)

      I'm particularly interested in this "otherwise" category. What (non video) games out there will reward me for beating upon someone who isn't remotely a threat?

      Monopoly: Mob Edition - when someone lands on your space, you walk over to their side of the table and "collect rent" by any means necessary. Alternately, you may choose not to injure them, in exchange for protection money.
  • I am Jack's desensitization to violence.

  • I would propose that perhaps the age-old argument for the presence of violent media - that it mitigates real violence by offering a release valve - would be the explanation here. I'm not a neuro-scientist (IANANS), but wouldn't less activity mean that that portion of the brain is not working as hard at blocking violent impulses, maybe because there are fewer of these impulses?
  • How much more scientific evidence do we need to convince people that watching adults having consensual, mutually enjoyable sex is better for teenagers than watching people killing each other?
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:12PM (#21602231) Homepage Journal
    the issue of unwanted expression of violence isn't that you can't suppress it, but that you have too much rage. it doesn't matter if your ability to decipher right and wrong is pristine when you are in a fit of madness: the gates of reason may be strong, but the flood can be worse

    therefore, a superior way to prevent spasms of violence in real life is to allow for some way to express violence in harmless ways

    such as violent videogames

    what gets released harmlessly on a keyboard or joystick is that which will not be released in real life situations

    it's not like the violent videogame creates violence. what made the ancient romans violent? violent is inherent to human nature. look at a roomful of 4 year olds if you don't believe this. a violent videogame can only catalyze the release of violent potential that is already in the person

    so certainly, if someone is already unstable, a violent videogame could serve as the flashpoint which makes a previously unstable person blow up. but this still isn't a ding against violent videogames, since something else would have eventually set an unstable person off

    by and large, violent videogames reduce violence in society

    the daily friction of life creates a build up of rage. the question is how is that rage released. a violent videogame provides that release, in exaclt the mechanism described above. but it's not like that rage has anywhere else to go were it not for violent videogames

    i think we as a society should play more violent videogames to reduce real world violence

    i am not in the least joking

    there are unstable individuals who can't differentiate from reality who should not play them, sure. as if the existence of violent videogames or not makes them any more or less unstable
  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:13PM (#21602237) Homepage
    Perhaps because it's a way to release aggression in a safe way? I mean how often do you say "I just want to punch something" and you would take it out on a punching bag, but not on a person? I'm certain that if I did I would temporarily lower my own inhibitions, just like a meditating man can slow his heartbeat. Why? Because I know it's a punching bag I'm punching, so I can just let go, let the adrenaline flow and punch the shit out of it. Which pressure cooker would you have, the one with or without a vent?
    • Have you tried a peaceful alternative? Since getting the Rabbids 2 game, my wife and I, whenever we're really, really, angry, just go to the Wii, shake the controller as hard and quickly as possible, and destroy Paris with the resultant burps.

      Wait, no, that's destructive too. Does burping count as violence if it's destructive? Or, say, if you've eaten Thai food?

  • So how does that explain why playing quake 3 arena makes me comfortable and sociable while watching an episode of full house makes me want to invade iraq?

    I didn't rtfa, but I would think their explanation would have something to do with empathizing with the (real people) characters on a sort of might-makes-right thing.
  • by GrEp (89884)
    Another conclusion is that after viewing violent media the brain knows it doesn't want to copy this behavior so it goes into a "yeah whatever" mode. This might have a negative impact on learning soon after watching violent media. They should test this.
  • when will people realize video games don't cause violence? They cause people to show up to work late, neglect real life issues and revert to a hermit-like state.

    But not violence... nosiree
  • Controlled and focussed aggression and competition are at the heart of our survival as a species and our great works of civilization. Its importance is shown in our old sagas and stories of heroes, in our current movies and books, in the games we play, in the glorification of sports players.

    Every study or report that says that such and such "increases aggression" as though it is the more horrible thing in the world disgusts me. They would have as living as women were once forced to live in our society - as
  • When Shall we Dansu [imdb.com] was playing, patrons were seen ballroom dancing out of the theater.

    I would say any visual stimulation that invokes strong emotions be they violent or exuberant will have an after effect on some people.

    Nothing to see here, etc.

     
  • Heh, old news - I cited this last week in a research paper.

    I also managed to work in a citation of the Desert Bus for Hope [desertbus.org] fundraiser for the Child's Play charity, as a bit of a contrast.
  • by dave562 (969951) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:35PM (#21602633) Journal
    Language is the perfect example of the brain learning by imitation. This research is common sense. If the brain/mind is exposed to a lot of a particular stimulus, it will associate with that stimulus as being okay and worth mimicing. A lot of it probably has to do with survival. If you see everyone around you drinking water, it probably makes sense to drink water. Conversely if you see everyone around you avoiding poisonous berries, you probably want to avoid the berries too.
  • This news actually can be helpful to gamers, and should NOT be used as the basis for any Jack Thompson-like legislation. Guess what!! Sexy women make me hot! But that does not mean that I have the moral imperative to make inappropriate advances toward women, nor does it warrant laws requiring women to wear chaste clothing in public, as long as the clothes pass basic obscenity laws, at least in secular societies like the US (no offense intended toward countries following Sharia laws). In other words, hu
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <(moc.eroomnived) (ta) (ofni)> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:45PM (#21602807) Homepage Journal
    If this was the case, then why doesn't every boxing match break out into 50,000 individual boxing fights? Apparently it only affects people who would not only reenact something that on the surface is dangerous, but also explicitly says "DONT DO THIS" in effort to dissuade people from ... trying to do it.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @04:48PM (#21602881) Homepage
    Not in the traditional sense. It is much more similar to how /. works. PLoS ONE accept articles from all branches of science and medicine, and the articles are deemed "worthy" of publication by the editorial board mostly on technical issues (necessarily so, since no editorial board can cover all branches of science). Like /., the *real* "peer review" is done after publication, by comments and annotations.

    This is quite unlike traditional scientific journal (and unlike all the other PLoS journals which are quite traditional apart from being Open Access) where an article is reviewed anonymously by peers (from the same discipline) before publication.

    It is actually quite nice that PLoS, apart from pioneering Open Access, also experiments more fundamentally with the scientific process, by adapting techniques from sites like /..

    But it is misleading to state that the article has been published in a peer reviewed journal, as it means something different in this case. It would be more correct to say that it has been published for peer review in a journal. At the time I'm writing this, no peers have yet to review the article.

    Most scientist would hesitate publishing in PLoS ONE simply because it does not have an impact factor rating, which is very important for how valuated when seeking grants etc.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      "This is quite unlike traditional scientific journal (and unlike all the other PLoS journals which are quite traditional apart from being Open Access) where an article is reviewed anonymously by peers (from the same discipline) before publication."

      Traditionally, Publication is the beginning of peer review.

      It almost all fields, it is impossible to get all the experts to review and critique before publication.
  • If a suppression network is less active, isn't it perhaps just as reasonable to presume that it has less to actively suppress than that it has things to suppress but isn't doing its job as well? It certainly makes sense that as we carry around these violent impulses all day we constantly restrain ourselves from acting upon them, but entertainment depicting scenes of violence provides a harmless, vicarious release. It seems to me this research found the conclusion it was looking for with the facts it had on
  • I would imagine there is an intrinsic response built in to us to switch into a more aggressive mode as a defense mechanism. I would imagine the changes disappear more quickly in people based upon their past and current lifestyle. This is almost seems like simple deductive reasoning to me.
    • by aztektum (170569)
      Oops! I meant as a defense mechanism when faced by the potential of violence. "Well adjusted" folk who recognize or are able to keep in mind it's fake would shake off the effects quicker/more easily.
  • Basically when we observe the actions of others we mentally mimic it in order to understand what we're seeing. So in a sense when you see someone commit a violent action a small part of you shares with it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neurons [wikipedia.org]

    I know it disagrees with the politics on gaming and how many simply are unwilling to accept the idea of outside factors influencing our minds, but this seems to be a basis for the idea that repeated exposure to violent materials can have some effect on us. The q
  • i wrote this paper (Score:2, Informative)

    by Chris Kelly (1199445)
    I'm the author of this paper from Columbia. I'm happy to answer any serious questions about it if people are interested. I can tell you a few things right off, though: 1) We are not advocating censorship of any kind, nor will we participate in any effort that does. This sort of research exists for the sake of being informed, as well as being educated about how the brain works. 2) If you read the paper, we clearly state that these changes in neural processing are not sufficient on their own to make a normal
  • In the classical tragedies (Aeschylus, Euripides) all the violent action takes place off the stage. It was considered too upsetting to show it on stage. But most of the men in the audience would have been involved in at least one war. (it's well known that a philosopher like Sokrates could afford a hoplite panoply and had been in battles.)

    I wonder if there is in fact a connection. The kind of short term warfare in the Classical period did not lend itself to desensitisation. The audience had probably seen ar

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @05:28PM (#21603663) Homepage Journal
    Individuals are still responsible for their own actions, that has not changed.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:21PM (#21604543)
    Yes it shows brain activity! woooooooooooooo.. Its called thought and response.

    It doesnt mean its negative or positive response, that would still be up to the individual.

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