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PC Games (Games)

Computer Games Make Players Less Violent 192

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the obviously-never-been-ganked-in-the-arathi-highlands dept.
Stony Stevenson writes "A new study of computer gamers has found that a session in front of World of Warcraft can make players less stressed and more calm. The study questioned 292 male and female online gamers aged between 12 and 83 about anger and stress. They then played the game for two hours and were retested. "There were actually higher levels of relaxation before and after playing the game as opposed to experiencing anger, but this very much depended on personality type," said team leader Jane Barnett from Middlesex University."
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Computer Games Make Players Less Violent

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday April 07, 2008 @08:48AM (#22987432) Homepage Journal

    "The thinking in the field is that there is a scale along which people, even those considered to be 'normal', can be placed on," said Dr Charlton.


    Well, Dr Charlton is a bright spark isn't he.
  • by genesus (1049556) <john@johntennyson.com> on Monday April 07, 2008 @08:49AM (#22987434)
    This just in...leisure reduces stress!
    • by snl2587 (1177409)

      This just in...leisure reduces stress!

      Incredible! What else can they do with this? Maybe through this experiment they've found the link between the "fun" and "happy" genes among gamers!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Jarik C-Bol (894741)
        no, it appears that they found the link to show that if you are an avid gamer, you are probably autistic. This is explained in the end of the article.
        • by snl2587 (1177409)

          no, it appears that they found the link to show that if you are an avid gamer, you are probably autistic. This is explained in the end of the article.

          My comment was in reference to the "ruthless" gene article discussed yesterday, and I was pointing out the ridiculousness of correlation being interpreted as causation.

      • Fighting creates relaxation in the aftermath.

        So do video games.

        So does fucking.

        The first is the act of destroying society.

        The second is the act of withdrawing from society.

        The third is the act of creating society.

        The third is what you aim for.

        The first is where you go after the human rights activists have killed your potential.

        The second is where you end up once you're completely broken, if you're not already in jail or dead.
        • by Macthorpe (960048)
          If you boil society down to 'collecting human beings', sure, gaming is apparently anti-social.

          Unfortunately for you, society is a fuck of a lot more complicated than that, which is why we have multiplayer games and PAX [wikipedia.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mashiki (184564)
      Unpossible!

      Who'd really thunk it? Most people who play games, do crosswords, go out to their garage for a
      few hours and tinker, take up gardening or do other activities surprise are able to relax.
    • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:12AM (#22987664) Journal

      This just in...leisure reduces stress!
      While this is true, there have been many criticisms of World of Warcraft. Even on Slashdot, we have seen people writing purple prose [slashdot.org] about the game destroying their lives worse than a heroin addiction. This study may present evidence that stories like the above are inherent problems with that person's ability to prioritize what is most important to them in their lives. They're free to pick Warcraft as #1 but I question why they wrote that piece if they did.

      My friends have often commented that Warcraft is their second job and jokingly hate it for its 'grind.' Why do they play? Because it's still stress reduction, in my opinion.

      So while you may find it obvious, there are caveats that make this interesting to some readers. I found it interesting and wonder now if people will compare it to cigarettes even though there's no chemical exchange (people love terrible analogies). You know, my parents and grandparents that live in the middle of nowhere used to waste hours playing cards with each other. Why? Because it reduced stress, I'm sure. I don't think Warcraft is any different.
      • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Informative)

        by timeOday (582209) on Monday April 07, 2008 @10:20AM (#22988340)
        Warcraft is addictive, but that's different from objections some people have to other games, such as Grand Theft Auto. The headline of this article is (intentionally?) over-broad, wanting it to be a counterpoint to arguments against graphic violence in games, which it isn't.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          This counter point to all claims agains't the violent games I play, and if you say it doesn't, I'll fucking kill you!
        • by Hatta (162192)
          The headline of this article is (intentionally?) over-broad, wanting it to be a counterpoint to arguments against graphic violence in games

          There would have to be an argument against graphic violence in games first. There isn't. There is a measurable increase in aggression shortly after playing a violent video game. It's short term, something like 20 minutes, probably commensurate with the adrenaline surge of playing an exciting game. Big surprise there, that getting someone excited can cause them to be
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Degro (989442)
        A lot of recreational drugs help with relaxation too. The only reason they are viewed so negatively is, just as with WoW, if you spend too much time relaxed/high you're an unproductive drag on the rest of society. There's never any individual responsibility. Hardcore drug/video game addicts ruin it for the rest of us.
    • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by arivanov (12034) on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:41AM (#22987932) Homepage
      Actually no.

      In a game you can vent build up stress. This is especially valid for games played in a group.

      I used to run a small company with two people - a husband and a wife. They were shouting at each other constantly, quarreling, slammed doors and so on. Stress to the roof. I sold my share to them and left.

      A year later I came to see them. Nice, quiet, tranquil. I could not understand what was going on until I found out that they play Doom, deathmatch, no monsters every day for at least half an hour... Ahh... The joy of creeping on your best beloved with a double barrel shotgun and blowing his head off... Aaaa.... Wonderful...

      By the way, cooperative play does not do it. We tried later on to play Tie-Fighter vs X-Wing and it did not work out.
      • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday April 07, 2008 @10:14AM (#22988276)

        Ahh... The joy of creeping on your best beloved with a double barrel shotgun and blowing his head off... Aaaa.... Wonderful...
        Agreed. So much more cheaper than a divorce lawyer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by shotgunefx (239460)
        Totally agree.

        Six years ago, my Mom and a brother were both diagnosed with terminal cancers. Going through that, I'll tell you, I was an angry person. I usually had the urge to strike just about anyone and everyone as hard I could. Even if my "head" wasn't mad, my body felt it. (Yeah, healthy, I know). Anyway, this lasted for a couple *years* after they passed. Very impulsive sensation (disconcerting as well).

        So, to vent, I'd fire up GTA and take out my anger on the world. Was very cathartic. I know without
    • by digitig (1056110) on Monday April 07, 2008 @10:04AM (#22988172)

      This just in...leisure reduces stress!
      Never been on a family vacation, evidently...
    • Getting a dose of drugs reduces the craving...for a while. Addicts are more relaxed than I am after their dose of heroin
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by urbanriot (924981)
      Except when it's a daily grind... the original article didn't state whether or not these were new players, casual players or diehard players. I've smashed many keyboards and mice, angry because my mob was stolen, or a raid was blown, or various other reasons. The first month or so of WoW'ing was an enjoyable romp, exploring a new world. After settling in and learning the game, I often became stressed and frustrated and less happier than I was prior to playing.

      This just in...leisure reduces stress!

      • by agrounds (227704)
        You need to step away then.

        I have been playing WoW since the week of release. The way I keep my head clear is to just step away for a few weeks to a month at a time. It was hard the first time.. leaving the heavy raiding scene and the comfortable routines, but it was not worth the frustration or anger I would feel when things would go badly. I missed it like hell for the first couple of weeks, then I just stopped thinking about it. Once you can sit on the computer surfing, playing music, and just chatt
  • Middlesex University (Score:5, Informative)

    by QX-Mat (460729) on Monday April 07, 2008 @08:49AM (#22987440)
    For the those unaware of the British University system, you need to automatically take a popularist study from a poly-technical University with plenty of salt.
    • by gfxguy (98788) on Monday April 07, 2008 @12:47PM (#22990330)
      While that may be the case, it's been my anecdotal experience that kids who are allowed to play violent video games, and play with toy guns and other toy weapons, are much more relaxed and better behaved than kids who parents won't let them.

      I've even been scolded by people for play-fighting with my son.

      But then, I've had people come up to my wife and I out of the blue and tell us what nice, well behaved kids we have - at restaurants, on delayed flights that turned into multiple day ordeals...

      Sure, it's not just the games and playing, but if you let the kids let "it" out, it seems obvious to me that they can relieve their own built up tension. Stress isn't limited to adults, kids have a lot of pressures to deal with, too. Maybe not as much as adults, maybe their problems even seem trivial to us, but to a 10 year old they're not.

      I'd say it's a great life lesson in constructively dealing with stress.
  • Providing a safe outlet for urges results in less spilling over of these urges and less damage caused by this spilling over. Oh yeah. Big surprise.

    Cue the picture of the US murder rate plotted against video games, like Doom, etc...
    • by gfxguy (98788)
      It's true! Declining murder rates and rates of violent crime, on average, across the U.S. at least.

      Sure, you have these highly reported outbursts from some unstable people from time to time, but it's not representative of the big picture.
  • by servognome (738846) on Monday April 07, 2008 @08:50AM (#22987448)
    Just add spam and lag then watch the fireworks
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by thermian (1267986)
      I've been using games as a way to relax at the end of a days coding for years. I started off by firing up Elite (on the bcc model B), and pirate hunting, or hunting down jiucy freighters and getting them to drop their cargo.

      In later years this turned into an evenings doom, or CnC.

      Nowadays it's X3, that's beside the point though The one constant theme has been that I play games to go from stressed to unstressed, or just to wind down if there's no stress.

      I wouldn't pick an online game for that though, like a
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)
      Or give them a basic gameplay requirement like:

      "Get a pug together and run Arc."

      I'm pretty sure the stress level will go way up.
  • Finally. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2008 @08:50AM (#22987450)
    I've been saying this for ages. With most people video games are a way to vent their anger instead of taking it out on others. If you're crazy enough to go kill 20+ people you really don't need a video game to encourage you.
    • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xelios (822510) on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:17AM (#22987702)
      I liken it to visiting a shooting range or taking martial arts lessons. Neither make a person more violent, and both can be great outlets for stress or aggression. I don't see what makes video games any different, aside from the fact that you don't use up much physical energy playing them.

      The parents who are campaigning against video game violence are likely the same parents who threaten to sue their school when their kid comes home with a few bruises after a fun game of football in gym class. Not that I was ever any good at sports (this is /. after all), but no-contact football is their handywork.
      • Re:Finally. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by boris111 (837756) on Monday April 07, 2008 @10:20AM (#22988338)
        Yes I grew up on the cusp of Americans becoming pussified. In the 7th grade 15 yrs ago.. we had a brilliant gym teacher that made up a game called Q-Soccer (his last name was Quedenfeld). The game was a cross between football (American), soccer, rugby, and basketball. This was when gym class was still fun. The game involved little bit of contact, though not as much as football game with pads. Well incidentally some kid was running and twisted and broke his ankle. No contact was involved. His parents turned around and sued the school to have the game banned. Gym class was no longer fun after that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Sounds lame. British Bulldog is the best game ever. Full contact with total intent to cause pain. No goals, no score, just repeated violence till theres only 1 kid standing. Nothing like getting slammed down face first onto the tarmac as you and 50 other kids all charge across the playground. Except of course doing it to the next kid, lol.
        • Its very interesting how different cultures such a problem:

          * Americans sue the school, lots of money is involved and afterwards a few individuals might be richer and most people have to suffer ridiculous consequences.
          * Here in Europe he will be properly treated in a quality hospital immediately, will be back in school the next day, and be able to play again in a week.
          * In Africa he might never be able to walk properly again because there's no money for a treatment.
          * Japanese would blame the kid for beeing s
  • by garcia (6573) on Monday April 07, 2008 @08:50AM (#22987452) Homepage
    Not that I 100% disagree with this, just remember that anyone is likely to be calmed by the effects of an outside influence on their brain. It's when they are away from that "fix" for a prolonged time that they may become agitated.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mkettler (6309)
      Aye, this is the first thing that came to my mind. Particularly since the test subjects were gamers. The article didn't specify if the gamers were WoW players, non-WoW players, or a mix. If you've got WoW players in there, essentially all you're testing is if addicts have stress level goes down when you give them some of what they're addicted to.

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday April 07, 2008 @10:01AM (#22988146) Homepage

      Sure, this would be like arguing that murderers should be encouraged to commit small, regular slayings of unimportant people in order to avoid building up the urge to go on a real rampage.

      (Not really, I just wanted to give Jack Thompson some easy quotes).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Eli Gottlieb (917758)
        Actually, I think that having murderers kill randomly selected politicians (ie: unimportant people) with low approval ratings sounds like a great way to keep the government efficient and trustworthy.
    • That's OffTopic. That was not what this research was about. It was about stresslevels before and after playing WoW.

      No, that isn't even research into agression, that is still another thing.
      • It's not off-topic. It is speculation about the nature and cause of the observed phenomenon. If the study finds "large quantities of smoke in town," the suggestions "maybe it's because something is on fire" is not off-topic.
    • by Nullav (1053766)
      Perhaps it was just that every raid I was in had like ten leaders; it could have just been Stranglethorn Vale and all those damn Night Elves, but I don't recall having to go to some MMORPG recovery clinic where I was given 15 minutes of EQ per day to help me through withdrawl after my subscription ran out. I wasn't even given a box of patches to put on my arm. I feel so left out now. The only attachment I had to WoW was because I had already thrown money at it.

      I seriously doubt the relaxing effect mentioned
    • But cigarettes build a physical dependence -- WoW does not.

      Although I don't play WoW (anymore), I'm on Second Life in another window as I type this, and given how much time I spend on my computer, if I've gotta be addicted to some aspect of the internet (gaming or otherwise). When I find myself stuck without internet, I get bored. No shakes, no extreme agitation, nothing like that... just overwhelming boredom mixed with loneliness, because all of a sudden I have a huge void in my life, and I don't know
  • So, in other words: if you use the game as a tool to relax, it relaxes you; while if you use the game as an outlet for your violent urges, it makes you more violent.

    Shocking that a tool could be used in multifarious ways.
  • by mikkl666 (1264656) on Monday April 07, 2008 @08:50AM (#22987456)
    I can see the way that a RPG can calm you down, but I don't think this is a general rule for games. I've seen people all fired up from FPS so that they actually had to stop playing for a while to cool down again.
    • I have seen many online and offline players throw a mouse, controller, or keyboard. I've also see people get into fights over a card game. FPS, MMOG, RTS, or Euchre can been seen as a game to relax or as competition that causes stress.
    • by wattrlz (1162603)
      ... to be fair, that was when I was being pwned. Where I the pwnx0r you'd have seen a very different reaction.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ShadowsHawk (916454)
      I enjoy a bi-annual LAN party. My heart is normally pumping after an intense session, but I never feel violent.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      Whether you see an effect or not, you have to ask if it's relevant to crime. Normal people get excited and a little more aggressive when they do something exciting like a fast shooter. Demonstrating that video games cause a short term increase in violence shouldn't be an interesting or controversial result. It's a long way from there to demonstrating that a person who plays violent games is more likely to commit crime.

      Video games may make a person more violent temporarily, but they doesn't make them a vi
  • Very often it is the case that acquiring one's next 'fix' results in a dopaminergic neuron activation, resulting in a calming and pleasurable feeling. Did the study discriminate between its subjects who are or are not gamers? I assume using such an advanced game as WoW that they chose players familiar with the game. Perhaps a control group unfamiliar with it and forced to learn it for the same two hour sessions would not have been so at ease afterward... Or changing the gaming activity to bejeweled or card
  • I'm glad this headline specified "World of Warcraft", because I've seen some headlines that said "violent video games". And that just isn't true.
    • Actually the headline to the Slashdot article didn't specify "World of Warcraft." But it was specified in the link.
  • Junk Science (Score:5, Interesting)

    Every day now, and I really mean every single day, I read another news story about some psychological/biometric/neurological/... study from which some spurious result is obtained. These "studies" are often done on first year university student volunteers, under dubious conditions with little controls. The results are apparently "statistically significant", a quality which, nowadays, is not itself very statistically significant. Very often, a precisely conflicting "study" will be seen a few weeks later.

    I'm concerned that these junk studies are doing real harm to science as a whole. It's becoming increasingly difficult to see quality studies amid all the noise, and even when you do, you may be too jaded to investigate further. This effect is I suspect, magnified enormously in the public at large, which may explain the modern public cynicism and even dismissal of scientists as a whole.

    It's easy to blame the media, and in fact I do. But part of the blame lies with the scientific community. There are a lot of people running around calling themselves scientists, and their investigations experiments, when neither are anything of the kind. Scientists, and others, need to tackle theses people. Politeness be damned.

    To conclude, I link once again to the Cargo Cult Science [pd.infn.it] speech.
    • I agree with you, and I'll take it one step further. In my humble opinion, there are a LOT of grad students out there desperate to produce a decent graduate thesis that will impress their peers. Perhaps a lot of the junk science in terms of 'studies' as described are due to either desperation to produce 'something' of note in order to pass the degree program, or to get one's name noticed. Not only do you, as an academic, have to 'publish or perish', but you also have to make sure that what you publish gets
    • by joe 155 (937621)
      the thing is, they are trying to deal with aspects of the social world and human nature. These things are difficult and a shade unpredictable. Political science and sociology have been working in this field for hundreds of years and we still have significant amounts of disagreement over the first principles of society - so it hardly seems like a huge criticism to say they don't often agree.

      As to whether the science is "junk", I would say not. Lets say that the conditions that it was conducted under were
    • by mbius (890083)
      Wonderful insight. I'm fond of criticizing soft science thusly: if your "research" only produces questions, never answers, you're doing philosophy. The ideal of Feynmann's science is an eagerness to answer all critics. Decorum in statistics requires that you hedge whatever tentative correlation you're able to make; funding requires that you sound conclusive regardless. "We're pretty sure the dice are loaded, although it should be noted we're throwing them in sand." Not an avenue for further study, I th
    • by adavies42 (746183)

      Scientists, and others, need to tackle theses people.
      Nice typo, in context.
  • Interesting study (Score:5, Interesting)

    by word munger (550251) <dsmunger@gmail.c ... minus physicist> on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:01AM (#22987564) Homepage Journal
    It's an interesting study. I emailed Barnett for a copy of her poster and it's the real deal (though it hasn't yet been peer-reviewed). There has actually been similar work [scienceblogs.com] (which Barnett cites in her poster) previously. RPGs are definitely different from shooters or games like Carmageddon where the whole point is to take out innocent people.

    The take home point is that all "violent" games are not equal. Some games fire us up and some cool us down.

    • "RPGs are definitely different from shooters or games like Carmageddon where the whole point is to take out innocent people."

      Eeeehm, no. First of all, there are no innocent people living in your computer, and there are no computer games that I know of whose point is to kill innocent people. Representations thereof, maybe, real people, no.

      Moreover, very little shooters involve innocent characters. Most are just plain adversaries, you know, soldiers from the other side, the other gang, monsters, aliens, etc.e
      • So are you saying it's acceptable to run people over in a car because they might be rapists?

        What I'm saying is that researchers have found that people are more aggressive after playing a game like Carmageddon which rewards "bad" behavior. The research has not found that people are more aggressive after playing social games like WoW which also involve violence. Part of the reason may be that being involved in a scenario where friends are treated well and enemies are attacked leads to less generally aggress
  • Choice of games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpricejones (950353) on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:01AM (#22987574)
    I'm sure it's difficult, costly, time-consuming to do these surveys, but I imagine the type of game is key. They chose a relatively benign game for their study. If they had chosen a more stressful game, the results surely would be different. (F.E.A.R., Doom 3, etc.)

    First-person shooters vs. RPG vs. strategy ... they'll all have slightly different effects on average, and they'll all affect different personality types differently ...

    The point is that by choosing different types of games, it would show that not all games induce violent behavior even if they have some degree of violence.
  • And I can only agree with her findings. Since living in the same house as me, she's been playing WoW. In that time, she's not stabbed me once.

    Proof positive there I think!

    Seriously though, while there's plenty of comments already about this being obvious, it does contradict some of the findings of the much vaunted Byron Report in the UK. And as the UK Government seem to be planning an entire series of laws based on the Byron Report, we badly need research like this to avoid unnecessary regulations being pla
  • On one hand I can agree that gaming IS can be a stress relief. However, if a person is easily agitated and prone to violence it may actually contribute to desensitizing a person to violence. In the past some studies show violent games and tv viewing lead to more aggressive behavior in kids. My daughter, husband, and I play Guild Wars. I can say that I've never witnessed my daughter showing an increase in aggressive behavior, but asking people how they feel is very qualitative and not a good study. It w
  • This test was as far as I can see performed in the following way: after the participants comes directly from whatever stressful or stress less daily life they have, start by asking some questions. Then let them play for two hours and then re-ask the questions.

    My guess is that just letting someone sit down and do something shutting off the "outer world" for two hours will reduce stress. I would have found this study much more interesting if they had split the participants and compared with for instance reading a book for two hours.

    (Aargh, why are headings limited to 50 chars?)

  • Yeah right (Score:5, Funny)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:08AM (#22987626) Homepage

    Computer Games Make Players Less Violent
    My keyboard strongly disagrees with this statement.
  • Especially when you sit in front of high end dungeon X waiting for 2 hours for everyone to assemble, spending hundreds of gold on all sorts of misc things to prepare.. step into the zone.. and wipe out...

    Then you want to go outside and randomly shoot people...

    ps to the person above complaining about the horde... we liked killing you :)
    • by brouski (827510)
      I think we've all heard the recorded Vent sessions that show they are some pretty stressed WoW players out there.
  • I bet a heroin user is less stressed right after shooting up too.
  • There's nothing like a good healthy session of rampant whore bashing and unadulterated cop mashing in GTA to dampen my desires to do it for real.

    Thank god we have games; they're the only thing keeping me out of jail.

    *twitches*
  • debate rages on (Score:5, Informative)

    by cvd6262 (180823) on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:15AM (#22987684)
    I once heard a "scientist" on a local NPR show claim to have definitively linked violent games to violent behavior. There were two problems with his claim:

    1. His research only investigated the immediate effect of viewing violent or non-violent images and a single measure of aggression immediately following the treatment. His "link" was grossly exaggerated.

    The research in the TFA seems to have measured only immediately following the session. Hey, heavy drinkers are often less stressed after their first shot too.

    2. More apropos, the debate as to whether vicariously living an experience increases the participants' desire to engage in that experience (contagion), or it purges them of the desire to engage in that experience (catharsis) has been raging for more than two millennia.

    While the research in TFA informs the debate, it still assumes that contagion is the case.

    "This will help us develop an emotion and gaming questionnaire to distinguish the type of gamer who is likely to transfer their online aggression into everyday life."

    We should be just as skeptical of research that appears to support gaming as we are of research with contrary findings.

  • by borkus (179118) on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:17AM (#22987706) Homepage

    The study questioned 292 male and female online gamers aged between 12 and 83 about anger and stress. They then played the game for two hours and were retested. ... "This will help us develop an emotion and gaming questionnaire to distinguish the type of gamer who is likely to transfer their online aggression into everyday life."
    I'm pretty skeptical of whether a questionnaire can accurately measure stress and relaxation better than physical measures (heart rate, blood pressure, etc). It'd also be good to know if playing in the game was actually relaxing. In the end, it seems like the study was more about developing a measurement tool than the actual results.

    The conference also heard that people who play computer games obsessively display similar characteristics to those suffering from Asperger syndrome. ... This is typically characterised by neuroticism, and lack of extraversion and agreeableness.
    Which makes me wonder what the first study tested in the game. Did they have players simply go out and grind daily quests (which are a simple, repetitive tasks done individually) or was it something truly multi-player such as running an instance or engaging in PvP? I'd assume that stress and relaxation responses are different when playing solo versus playing cooperatively versus playing competitively. A few instance groups that I've been in come to mind when I think about the second study.
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      Besides, I was wondering if, besides those 83 yo, the rest of them were young and hot teens that want to chat with you.
    • by bar-agent (698856)

      I'm pretty skeptical of whether a questionnaire can accurately measure stress and relaxation better than physical measures (heart rate, blood pressure, etc).

      I'm the opposite, I'm pretty skeptical that physical measurements can accurately measure stress and relaxation. I refer here to emotional relaxation or happiness. After playing sports or pedaling my way through traffic, my heart rate is elevated and I'm breathing hard, but I've got a smile on my face that I didn't have before. I'm physically stressed, b

  • The headline should state that one specific computer game relieves stress. I'm not arguing that WOW turns people into serial killers, but this study is only looking at immediate effects, only looking at one specific game, and using a pretty subjective means of determining stress level.

    I can't help but wonder how the study would be different if they were instead looking at first person shooters, and using a more reliable method of measuring stress...
  • by Shotgun (30919) on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:45AM (#22987990)
    Two hours of running a marathon will also make a person calm and less stressful. The question is, how are the stress levels the next day at approximately the same time?

    Are people made less stressful, or like preparing for a sport, are the stress levels simply being trained to be more intense?
  • Flawed Logic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kwik3mart (1268846) on Monday April 07, 2008 @09:49AM (#22988028)
    hmmm... Let's think for a second: If you are a violent person with lots of bad stuff in your life that you are pissed at then WOW will allow a cathartic release of those emotions. So the test results are valid. BUT... If there's lots of stuff in your life that you are angry at, playing video games gives you the sense of accomplishment without actually solving any of your real problems. So you have experienced release, but not actually changed anything. So... the study is deeply flawed in that the timeline for the research was too short. Of course people feel better after having a cathartic release of violence. But, what about the long term effects of this cathartic release without actually helping life get better. That's where real violence comes from: a fake world that feels good and a real life that keeps getting worse because you don't deal with it. Not a helpful study.
  • what is more interesting than the relaxation-game relationship is their remark at the end that people who play games heavily approach the autistic/asperger spectrum of disorders.

    Like geeks need yet another claim on being high-function aspergers?
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      If it's a spectrum, then everyone's on it, from Neuro-typical to Aspie to Savant to Unresponsive. I'd say most of society would agree that geeks are not neuro-typical.
  • Sure, they're calm after they got their fix.

    Any consideration that their heightened state of agitation before playing might have been caused by having to take the stupid test instead of logging in?
    • blah! That's like the 50th comment about heroin junkies. Is this some sort of co-ordinated trolling effort?

      My stress levels are increased by YOU!
  • Drug Problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday April 07, 2008 @11:04AM (#22988838) Homepage Journal
    Most people's "drug problem" is when they can't get drugs, not when they have or are on them.

    This study would mean that "gamers are less violent" overall if it tested their stress levels all the time, including when (if) they're not gaming, but agains their will/preference. And then it would still need to establish a direct correlation between stress levels and violence. What if being physically (not virtually) violent lowers their stress levels? Good for the gamer, bad for their victims.

    What this study has probably shown is that gamers have incorporated their gaming "fix" into managing their stress. But it doesn't show whether gamers have become dependent on the games, whether their stress levels would go up without the games, whether they'd go up more than if they'd never played them, whether they've increased their "stressability" by gaming.

    Instead, these results are the videogame version of scientific conclusions. Play again? Another score!
  • If WoW chills him out [wowcentral.com], I'd hate to see what he looks like when he's wound up.

    This is an interview [kotaku.com] with the same guy, by the way, relaxing with a stogie and alcohol, the old fashioned way.
  • These players were obviously not doing endgame raids.
  • I live in a duplex. My neighbor has his computer system, complete with 5.1 sound, in his basement on the other side of the wall from my basement workshop.

    As I'm doing stuff in my workshop, an electronics hobby workshop (I don't have noisy tools), he's always playing Call of Duty online with an apparent bunch of reject players. Evidence I have for the players is his constant "navy style" swearing at his game. He's relentless. Either that or he is so lousy and getting fragged endlessly that he want's to curse
  • The question really should be when much later they are faced with a situtation that would require Fight or Flight, has this changed how they would react? Would they be more likely to "talk things out" or more likely to run or more likely to fight?
  • Pr0n makes people less horny and Al Queda opens a puppy store...details at 11.
  • Losing at games makes me throw around and smash up cups and glasses, not to mention controllers.
    • by kesuki (321456)
      you know, it does with me too, but only when I've been playing too long. or when i get ranked too high in a ladder based game...

      but then conversely playing the same game for many thousands of hours, introduced me to the fun OF playing Games To make your team loose!

      I mean it's an activity that people always say 'they'll ban you for this' but to be honest I've never heard of anyone getting banned, except this one guy who had used 'alt +q +q' 20,000 times on the same account... he was called 'world peace' he
  • It's difficult to be violent when you're out of breathe after getting up from your chair and waddling over to the kitchen to open another jumbo bag of Doritos.
  • ALL MMORPGS are pathetically boring, a redundant repetition of the same actions over and over again in area after area after area!

    I personally have broken 7 keyboards and 2 game CDs and i almost broke my whole desktop when i kicked it once, playing You guessed it A BLIZZARD GAME.

    Specifically Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Ladder is enough to drive anyone batty after you pass level 30. I specifically know of countless people who intentionally prevent their systems from getting past level 20, by account cy
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday April 07, 2008 @06:36PM (#22994348)
    If the article accurately reflects the study, the study does not support the headline. "Relaxed" is not the opposite of "violent".
    The argument for video games making people more violent is that people have an innate resistance to killing others and that playing video games reduces that innate resistance. Whether this theory is valid or not, this study doesn't address the issue at all.

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