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Violence in Games, Once Again, Not That Compelling 191

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the chickens-and-eggs dept.
One of the great arguments of the digital age has been over the effects of video games on aggression — especially if you have ever heard the name Jack Thompson. A recent study suggest the counterpoint once again, that violent video games really don't have that much impact. "The authors performed six studies in total, but they were in broad agreement, so we'll only discuss the more compelling ones here. For the experimental portion, these involved playing an essentially identical game with different degrees of violent content. One group of participants was randomly assigned to play the game House of the Dead 3 on the different extremes of its gore settings, while a second was split between those who played the normal version of Half-Life 2, and a those who played a modified version that turned the adventure into an elaborate game of tag. In both cases, the primary influences on enjoyment were the sense of competence and satisfaction, along with the immersive nature of the game. Generally, females rated immersion as more important, while males went for competence (and consistently rated their own expertise very highly). Violence didn't register when it came to enjoyment, even for those with pre-existing violent tendencies."
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Violence in Games, Once Again, Not That Compelling

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16, 2009 @07:05PM (#26490421)

    "Generally, females rated immersion as more important, while males went for competence (and consistently rated their own expertise very highly)."

    There's a joke about sex in there somewhere, I'm quite sure of it.

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hatta (162192) on Friday January 16, 2009 @07:13PM (#26490551) Journal

      If it were sex, it would be males who were more concerned with immersion, and females more concerned with competence.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mfh (56)

        If it were sex, it would be males who were more concerned with immersion, and females more concerned with competence.

        This statement was obviously written by a man.

        Women are more interested in immersion into a mental state of connection, while men are more interested in how well they performed the act, and the joke is that these desires are completely incompatible with one another, and therefore we have the war of the sexes still raging today, getting worse and worse until the women win. Do not kid yourself

        • by digitig (1056110)

          getting worse and worse until the women win. Do not kid yourself -- they will win.

          If they do, they will find that they have lost, too, because the sexes need each other. Fortunately, most women are smarter than you appear to be, and already realise that.

        • therefore we have the war of the sexes still raging today, getting worse and worse until the women win. Do not kid yourself -- they will win.

          Seems to me the power women have over men is the power to get a group of men to single out and attack an individual man. If men ever became so jaded that they decided it wasn't worth sticking up for women, the war would immediately be over.
          • *raises hand*

            I'm already in this don't-give-a-shit army. Where were you at our last drill? You missed out on all the good beer!

            • I'm already in this don't-give-a-shit army. Where were you at our last drill? You missed out on all the good beer!

              Sorry dude, you're way beyond me. I'm still caught in that hate-the-bitches-but-love-my-mom psychological thing...
      • If it were sex, it would be males who were more concerned with immersion, and females more concerned with competence.

        Yes, girls know there's more than just knowing how to use the joystick to playing the game...

    • I hear what you're saying but I think they are looking at gender roles in games. Physical gender, and mental makeup are two separate things that should be addressed separately.

      For the purpose of understanding gaming, understanding the physical gender is less important than understanding the mental states a particular player will gravitate towards.

      Separate the terms masculine and feminine from men and women.

      In World of Warcraft, both masculine and feminine players trend in the direction of an eventual end-ga

  • How do you explain the fact that the Columbine kids along with multiple other child criminals played video games?!?!

    ITS FOR THE CHILDREN!

    • Not only that, but as recent news has taught us, kids these days are so dumb that they'll kill their parents and expect them to respawn.

      Clearly there is no way to make smarter kids, and there's a lot more political opposition to banning certain people from having kids than to censoring games, so banning videogames is the only way.

      The current study, with its "facts" just makes the only option more difficult.

      • I have yet to see one decent long-term experiment to this day that truly checks if video games should have to suffer the scrutiny of parents. I'm talking about one lasting decades checking on the same patients from a very early age, setting up multiple controls, and then having multiple upbringings with different video games played routinely to rule out any other factor that may contribute to the future behavior of the child. It should be one where the patient does not know he/she is being observed, and one

      • by khellendros1984 (792761) on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:32PM (#26491483) Journal
        Well, if children are accessing inappropriate material, and killing parents, then I have a better solution. We'll ban kids. Get to it, people! =p
        • by genner (694963)

          Well, if children are accessing inappropriate material, and killing parents, then I have a better solution. We'll ban kids. Get to it, people! =p

          I'm doing my part here in my parents basement.

    • How do you explain the fact that the Columbine kids along with multiple other child criminals played video games?!?!

      How do you explain the fact that the Columbine kids along with multiple other child criminals drank milk?!?!

      While we're at it:

      How do you explain the fact that the Columbine kids along with multiple other child criminals breathed air?!?!

      THAT'S IT! If you cut off all children's access to air you'll completely end school shootings!

      FINALLY a workable solution!

  • by skyride (1436439) on Friday January 16, 2009 @07:17PM (#26490629)
    Well, Im a fairly keen player of Team Fortress 2 (an HL2 mod) and not one for violence in games. All of the quake based games are the properly violent ones, and even then, they aren't really what you'd call violence in comparison to many films today. So lets take the properly violent games, for example, Mortal Combat. If you aren't familiar with the game (even with its extremely catchy theme tune from the original) then it bassically consists of smashing as many virtual bones as possible in your opponent through means of some extremely reddiculous kung-fu style moves and then "finnishing them" by some extremely gruesome means involving the map. For example one map involves kicking them off the side of a rock a couple of hundred feet and them landing speared on rock. And despite its rating, its clearly aimed at rowdy 8-12 year old boys, AND their parents are happy to buy it for them. Now please explain to me what makes games such as HL2 (which is actually one of the more inteligent and thoughtful games currently out) are a disaster for children to have?
    • Some parents. Mine weren't. And I actually thought they were rather gross (at least the killing off part).
      • by skyride (1436439)
        Ye, Well personally I don't like the game for its pure reddiculous-ness (if thats even a word). Im talking about the sort of boys who get excited over, well, things that age of boys get excited about. Like general destruction, etc,,, Now whether it actually just fuels them at that age or actually has any long term psychological effects is open for interpretation (i personally feel the former), its certainly far worse than kids playing with proper teamwork in CSS, TF2, etc,,,
    • I'm really not sure what point you're trying to make there... I'm not sure if you didn't even read the OP, or you're just confused.

      The experiments didn't have ANYTHING to do with showing that HL2 is violent, it was merely used in a test.

      As for "properly violent" video games, well, that's a very loose term... one could say that Mario (any of them) are "properly violent" - you run around jumping on turtles and firing fireballs at other creatures.

      To me the issue isn't that there's a problem with violent video

    • by justin12345 (846440) on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:14PM (#26491271)

      I'm not sure if I would agree that either Quake or Mortal Kombat are actually violent games (though I know this is a little out there). They are both certainly gory, but I'm not sure gore = violence. Way back when, I had a discussion with a friend about the difference between violence and "action" in film. I made the argument that most "violent" action movies are actually more choreography and dance then they are violence, even if they are gory. I referred to it as "dances with guns".

      To bring it back to video games, take Mortal Kombat. In Mortal Kombat you can graphically disembowel your opponent, but it is more of a flourish, an exclamation point at the match, a demonstration of skill. The character isn't shown suffering, comes back the next round, and the player doesn't really receive much of a sadistic thrill. Compare this to the original Perfect Dark, or GTA IV where you have the option of slowly torturing the NPCs to death, and they stay dead.

      To take it a step further, imagine a game based on the movie Hostel (which I would argue is an extremely violent movie) where the object of the game is to earn points and unlock levels by torturing your victim to death in ever more imaginative and gruesome ways. That would be what I would consider to be violent as its intent would be to arouse sadistic impulses and draw pleasure from the dominance over another person, or pleasure from causing them to suffer. Another example of a violent game could be a puzzle type game which casts the player as an WW2 SS officer, who's job it is to exterminate the greatest amount of prisoners with the least amount of resources; an act which would require the player to either insulate himself/herself to the deed being done, or take pleasure in the suffering he/she inflicts.

      If you compare the above idea to Quake or Halo, where players just hope around and blast each other, I think you can see the difference. While Halo might awaken tendencies for competition or aggression, its more akin to those awakened by sports such as soccer or football, no matter if the opponent splatters or not when defeated. I wouldn't hesitate to let my (hypothetical) teenager play a game like Halo, Quake, or Mortal Kombat, but I might have reservations if I saw them playing the hypothetical "Hostel" or "Holocaust" I outlined above. The former rewards emotions and behavior that are healthy and useful in society, the later would train them to be actually violent, or sadistic (or maybe would actually be an outlet for natural sadistic impulses, I defer to the experts).

    • Now please explain to me what makes games such as HL2 (which is actually one of the more inteligent and thoughtful games currently out) are a disaster for children to have?

      HL2 is in first person and Mortal Combat is not.

  • by ZekoMal (1404259)
    Doubt this will ever be on the news networks, though.

    No no, folks. Video games baaaad. Hating video games gooood. They'll keep broadcasting how video games clearly caused x-murder or y-crime, and never bother with something as trivial as evidence.

    This is like saying "Well, you own a kitchen knife, so you therefore have a tendency towards stabbing people".

    • This doesn't judge whether violence is good or bad for you. It judges whether or not violence is more or less enjoyable.

      This is a study like those people who always complain "I don't see why they need to use so much bad language in movies! Shoot is just as good as shit! All of that language is completely unnecessary to the story."

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday January 16, 2009 @07:18PM (#26490635) Homepage

    Come on, folks, admit it. You only believe this study because it concludes what you want to conclude. If it concluded the opposite thing, you'd all be selectively trotting out that good old line, "correlation doesn't imply causation," and holding it up to standards that you won't hold this one up to. (Because, after all, what kind of evidence does imply causation? Don't all experiments, because of their own nature, demonstrate nothing more than correlation?)

    • by ZekoMal (1404259)
      Um...I believe it because 99% of video game owners do not go on killing sprees.

      In fact, before the news networks started telling us about as much killing as possible, there were video games in circulation, and an arcade game where the object was to run over pedestrians. We never saw anything stating that these were times of mass murders caused by 15 year olds who believed the game was real.

      In fact, in most of these overhyped 'video games made them do it' cases, you can see a clear correlation: poor pare

      • Um...I believe it because 99% of video game owners do not go on killing sprees.

        But that is (a) a correlation, (b) doesn't demonstrate anything. Suppose that 99% of video game owners don't go on killing sprees, but 99% of killing spreeers own video games.

        Yes, yes, "correlation doesn't imply causation," but the point is that "99% of video game owners don't go on killing sprees" is completely irrelevant to the hypotheses about video games and violence, in more than one way. ("Killing sprees"? What about j

        • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:59PM (#26491811)

          Something that isn't repeated often enough when this meme crops up: it's ALL about correlation. Only correlation can tell you whether your hypothesis is predictive or not.

          Here's the problem with studies that make violence a cause of videogames:
          - the statistics don't show that
          - the causal mechanism is very suspicious

          The fact that 99% of all videogame owners aren't any more violent than anyone is important, because it means that it has the same predictive capability as saying that eating bread or drinking milk causes people to be violent.

          Seriously. This meme of correlation is not causation is trotted out by people who don't understand how statistics are used to support hypotheses. The meme a complete tautology when used properly, and a straw man when used improperly.

        • "But that is (a) a correlation, (b) doesn't demonstrate anything. Suppose that 99% of video game owners don't go on killing sprees, but 99% of killing spreeers own video games. "

          Well if 99% of the people that age also own video games then you can conclude nothing. If 1% own video games at that age then you can conclude that Killers prefer video games as a hobby.

        • by Qzukk (229616)

          Yes, yes, "correlation doesn't imply causation,"

          But correlation is a requirement of causation. If you want to claim videogames cause violence, then you have to show a correlation from videogames to violence. Showing a correlation from violence to videogames does nothing to further your argument because as others pointed out, killing spreeers breathe oxygen too.

          • by miro f (944325)

            Showing a correlation from violence to videogames does nothing to further your argument because as others pointed out, killing spreeers breathe oxygen too.

            That's not true. Of course showing a correlation furthers your argument. When we say "correlation does not imply causation" it's talking about the use of the word "imply" in the logical sense, ie, if A is true B must be true.

            Correlation does imply causation in the general use of the word, in that correlation is evidence that suggest causation. In other words, there is a correlation between correlation and causation ;)

            • by Qzukk (229616)

              Of course showing a correlation furthers your argument

              An apple is a fruit, not all fruits are apples. The "direction" of correlation matters, otherwise we draw useless and incorrect conclusions, such as breathing air causes people to kill or videogames cause people to kill.

        • by Sj0 (472011)

          The thing about a hypothesis is that it must generate a testable hypothesis.

          If violent video games were a statistically significant source of violent crime, then violent crime statistics should show spikes when particularly violent video games are released, or violent crime should increase in proportion to the amount of the population that has been exposed to violent video games.

          Violent crime hasn't increased at any point over the time span from the month Doom was released to the end of statistics provided

      • by PitaBred (632671)
        If it were 99%, I'd disagree with you. 1% of people who play video games is a hell of a lot of people going on killing sprees. But we're talking 1/300,000,000 people or so. Maybe one killing spree a year, even fewer that can be 'tied' to video games. Hell, that's just a product of having a ton of people... you get that large of a sample set, an outlier will eventually show up.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Bill Dog (726542)

        There are more deaths by automobile; maybe we should ban driving as it is clear that owning a car means you are prone to killing.

        I wonder what makes old people especially so bloodthirsty about this? Did they have Doom on the abacus back then?

    • by SomeJoel (1061138)
      I think part of the reason people accept it is: "six studies in total, but they were in broad agreement". Most of the counter-video game crowd cites purely anecdotal evidence (i.e. Johnny LOVED Street Fighter so he beat the hobo to death). So this one has 6 more controlled studies going for it than those...
      • Most of the counter-video game crowd cites purely anecdotal evidence (i.e. Johnny LOVED Street Fighter so he beat the hobo to death).

        And most of the pro-video game crowd perform flawless experiments, right?

        So this one has 6 more controlled studies going for it than those...

        ...and those studies are of course completely flawless... and there are no studies linking videogames to violence anyway... and the ones that exist are, of course, flawed... right?

        • by PitaBred (632671)
          There actually aren't any studies that positively link videogames to actual violence. Violent feelings, maybe. But none whatsoever that link it to violence, and many that show evidence against violence in light of video game playing, not to mention just looking at the overall violent crime rate juxtaposed with the popularity rise of video games (hint: violence goes down as video game play goes up).
        • And most of the pro-video game crowd perform flawless experiments, right?

          No one's saying that. They are, however, significantly more rigorous in their approaches.

          It seems to me you are more interested in a flame war than an actual discussion. Feel free to quote the actual studies in question, but at this point, you're running with platitudes that have no foundation in reality.

          • Dude, I'm just highlighting the group-think that pervades this site. It goes from the story submissions (both the selection of stories to submit, and the way the stories are described), the selection and comments by the editors, and the reception by the commenters.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by NeutronCowboy (896098)

              Dude, if you think that you're providing some type of public service... you're deluded. Newsflash - people congregate around common ideas or geographic proximity. This means that slashdot attracks people with a certain personality and/or philosophy. Welcome to Slashdot, home of gamers and IT geeks. Bias towards games and IT stuff is to be expected.

              Finally - you attempt to paint people agreeing on something as groupthink. With that, you're not highlighting anything but your own douchebaggery. You deserve eve

    • +1

      Of course we all like to believe what agrees with our own beliefs... but you're right, still. One study links the two and the other study distances the two, and most will just choose (based on no study) which one is valid and which one is invalid.

      Of course, with this study, there's the interesting idea that someone may be over-analyzing themselves. If someone asked ME what I liked in a game, I wouldn't say "VIOLENCE DUDE, I LOVE KILLING PEOPLE!!!" I'd probably be quite geeky and say "Well, I like a g

      • by PitaBred (632671)
        Halo is popular because it appealed to fratboys with their new Xboxes. It's nothing groundbreaking, it's more of a "right place, right time, decent execution" thing.
      • by genner (694963)

        Games like Halo come to mind immediately ("it's the multiplayer options!" .. oh, multiplayer isn't available on most games?).

        At the time and for a cosnole system...no there wasn't any other mutplayer FPS unless yiou wanted to split the screen.

        Halo was the first console FPS to allow multpiplayer over a lan. It showed the cosnole crowd the joy of the LAN party.

    • by ibwolf (126465)

      Come on, folks, admit it. You only believe this study because it concludes what you want to conclude. If it concluded the opposite thing, you'd all be selectively trotting out that good old line, "correlation doesn't imply causation," and holding it up to standards that you won't hold this one up to. (Because, after all, what kind of evidence does imply causation? Don't all experiments, because of their own nature, demonstrate nothing more than correlation?)

      You make a fair point in that people will be biased in favor of results that they agree with. However, the good old 'correlation doesn't imply causation' doesn't apply here . The reason is that these studies show a lack of correlation! A lack of correlation is a very strong indicator that there is no causal relationship.

      • However, the good old 'correlation doesn't imply causation' doesn't apply here.

        Of course. It applies in the case where a study seems to show that video games make people more violent.

        The reason is that these studies show a lack of correlation!

        No, the authors of the studies say that the studies show a lack of correlation.

        A lack of correlation is a very strong indicator that there is no causal relationship.

        A lack of correlation, taken out of context, doesn't indicate anything, because the experiments may be

    • Because, after all, what kind of evidence does imply causation? Don't all experiments, because of their own nature, demonstrate nothing more than correlation?)

      I'm pretty sure if I drop an apple a thousand times, it will hit the ground a thousand times. Correlation is not the right word for something that happens (very almost) 100% of the time.

      • Correlation is not the right word for something that happens (very almost) 100% of the time.

        Actually, it is; what you're showing there is that the correlation is close to 1 with a high degree of confidence.

    • by sjames (1099)

      However, LACK of correlation DOES imply a LACK of causation.

      Don't all experiments, because of their own nature, demonstrate nothing more than correlation?)

      By controlling for variables that might confound the result.

    • Evidence generated from observations were all of other the variables have actually been held to with-in a measured small margin of error, so that the variable concluded to be the cause is the only thing that varies between different results. In so called social "science" it isn't possible to hold all other variables with-in a measured small margin of error as it isn't even possible to measure of the variables when dealing with people.
    • Come on, folks, admit it. You only believe this study because it concludes what you want to conclude. If it concluded the opposite thing, you'd all be selectively trotting out that good old line, "correlation doesn't imply causation," and holding it up to standards that you won't hold this one up to.

      None of the 'violence in video games causes violence' theories have yet to hold any water and that's our fault? I'm impressed with your spin, but not your stance.

  • Yahtzee... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chabo (880571) on Friday January 16, 2009 @07:19PM (#26490657) Homepage Journal
    I like Yahtzee's stance on this:

    Controversy and the games industry go hand-in hand like Ico and Yorda, if you'll forgive the incredibly nerdy analogy. And like Yorda, the controversy tends to stay focused for an average of about eight nanoseconds before getting bored and drifting off to do something else. But when it does get focused it can get very exasperating, such as when youthful paragons of self-control are called nasty names and decide that murder would be the wittiest comeback, and then is found to have stood next to a videogame sometime in the past. Then the media generally start drooling the usual uninformed questions as to whether wholesome, boyish pretend violence has any correlation with the real world. Short answer: No. Long answer: No, and go fuck yourselves, you ignorant, scaremongering cockbags. [Text in review: No, and I consider your argument misinformed.]

    Source [escapistmagazine.com] -- Transcription [wikiquote.org]

  • I don't get it... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    From the summary, this study does nothing to address the general issues of violence in games. From my understanding, the issue has never been that video games make children enjoy violence. The issue is that violence in games desensitize children to violent acts as an acceptable form of conflict resolution. Most people don't play violent games simply because they are violent. This study seems pretty worthless to me.

    • I think your point is right but you expressed it wrong.

      This study DOES examine the effect of violence (and several other content aspects) on the player. But it's measuring how they affect the player's reported enjoyment of the game, not their tendency to out-of-game violent behavior.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday January 16, 2009 @07:36PM (#26490851)

    Well, let's see, what other kinds of video games are there...

    The Sims. Which made me believe that everyone has a diamond floating over their head that indicates how happy they are with life. Watch for red diamonds on bridge overpasses.

    SimCity. Which firmly convinced me that every city will be attacked by Godzilla at least once should they decide to fight pollution by using nuclear power. Also, hurricane Katrina was due to someone misclicking the interface. Also, New Orleans could have been saved if they had built more FDs and PDs near the water front.

    Doom. It taught me that green and red glowing tiles are bad to walk on. For this reason, there are some dance floors I will never go on. Also, if you kill someone, their corpse will disappear within a few minutes. This is why murder is so popular.

    Leisure Suit Larry. Well, where do I start... Changing your gender is a simple matter of having sex with a dozen women and then stepping into a machine that makes a funny noise. Also, changing sex invariably makes you better looking. ...
    But of course violence in video games is different... It's a unique case. All that other stuff you learn in video games (wouldn't it be nice if everyone you killed dropped gold and treasure?) doesn't stick. Nope. Only violence. Because it's special. Well, if you find someone arguing this position, shoot them in the head. And remember, it takes at least three shots to kill them. And they rarely drop anything useful.

    • wouldn't it be nice if everyone you killed dropped gold and treasure?

      No! It'd put me in a horrible dilemma! :(

  • Republicans? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why is this tagged Republicans?

    If you think it's only the Republicans censoring things, do us all a favor and quit voting.

  • it seems that video games do make you more aggressive but not enough to warrant the way people talk about it. They are about as aggravating as heavy metal
  • The text seems to be trying to measure if people like violent games, because of their violent content. That looks to me to be a dumb question to ask (unless of course you're simply trying to justify adding violence to video games). I would suggest that only a psychopath would say they were attracted to a game because of it's violent content.

    The people who dislike violence (not just in games, but in general media) say that being surrounded by it in TV programmes, films, games, and a lot of other aspects of

    • by ADRA (37398)

      I and many many many other people enjoy watching body parts flying in several different directions in Fallout 3 but that doesn't make me a psychopath, or that I'll attempt to re-create the scene in real life.

      There's a good reason why -most- non-puzzle games fall into the violent in one way or another category. That's also why most movies are framed with large components of violence and/or sex. We respond to it, but it doesn't mean we'll outwardly act upon our stimulus, which is really what video game conser

  • are human beings:

    1. vessels of purity which are corrupted?
    2. vessels of filth which are tamed?

    i think a lot of people think children are corrupted by something in their development, and that something can be videogames. i haven't the faintest idea where these people come from, why they believe this, or why so many do think this way. i think it stems from an inability to accept something about their own human nature (which is not just bad, its good, bad, and ugly)

    however, there are two good arguments against

    • by Sj0 (472011)

      3. Humans are neither good nor evil, simply human. Our emotions and instincts are a library of genetic data spanning millennia, driving us to act in selfish ways sometimes, selfless ways other times. Sometimes people have a mind which is ill, and doesn't act in ways society considers beneficial. These people are considered monsters.

      Enjoy the clothes sewed for you by the tiny fingers of a 10 year old from China, the computer powered by dumping radioactive waste from coal into the air, the food bought for pen

  • Grrr (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is ridiculous. If anything, I'd say video games promote conscientiousness. It took me ages to kill all the hookers and children in Vice City, but I persevered. As soon as I've finished raping everyone in Leisure Suit Larry, I'm gonna kick these ignorant fucks' asses. Then torture them a bit for the XP.
  • I contend (Score:2, Funny)

    by cyberfunkr (591238)

    I contend that video games do not cause violence.

    Hearing Jack Thompson talk about video games on the other hand... THAT pisses most everyone off.

  • I wonder if any claim that video game violence causing someone to commit a violent act has examined whether the person committing the real violence was, in fact, very good as a game player?

    Perhaps real game related violence is correlated with people being very frustrated because they suck as gamers!!

  • Apparently, teenagers were never violent or moody before the development of video games.

    Does anyone really know how many teenagers committed violence from 1900-1980ish (the period prior to violent video games)? No, because it was such a social taboo that it was not reported, was covered up, or word never traveled beyond city limits. Modern global media records every minor violent event in every town of America with more than three people.

    How many teenagers took part in the World Wars and committed violenc

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by SignalFreq (580297)

      Just to emphasize, in the US from 1995 to 2007:
      - the US Population increased 14% (263 Million to 301 Million)
      - video game sales increased 560% (3.2 Billion to 17.9 Billion)

      Yet during this same time, violent crimes committed by those under the age of 18 decreased by 50% (2169 vs 1063)

      I realize this does not control for any other factors that could also account for a decrease in violence. Also, correlation... causation... yada yada.

      300 Million people, 72 Million under 18 (24% *1), lets say only 24 Million

  • by rentmej (775047)

    Can we have a study where one group plays violent video games and the other drives in rush hour traffic?

    Then we can compare which group has an elevated level of aggression and which one wants to kill all humans.

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:38PM (#26492693) Homepage Journal
    ...or at least crankiness. I know that I have gotten snippy with people during or immediately after playing a particularly challenging game, especially if I didn't do well. I have witnessed other members of my family doing the same thing. One of my daughters was getting frustrated with playing Wii sports and every time she made a bad move, she would yell at her sisters, who were just sitting there, not doing anything.
    This is not even just a video game thing. I have seen fights break out at basketball games, even Church games! I have seen fans throw bottles, bricks and worse at football games.
    It is not just a video game issue. It is games in general which seem to raise emotions high and can end in violence.
    • by Pecisk (688001)

      Let's be more precise - people's unavailability and lack of education about how to deal with frustration (practical psychology), also respect to other people. Or even shorter - "learn how to enjoy losing". It doesn't make you a loser, but it will help you don't lose a cool and temper when something goes the way you haven't intended.

      I had to learn it, because I hated to lose when I was teenager. Even when playing card games.

  • by Sylvanus (213197) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @03:59AM (#26494811)

    The problem with violent films and video games is that they do not contain real violence but a 'pornographic' imitation. In real violence the player would be bruised, mutilated or even killed and would see the ghastly effect that weapons have on the human body and people he / she cares about. I used to be in the British Army and I can promise you that real violence is deeply horrifying and frightening. It always involves the soldier / player getting injured in some way and is a great inoculation against violent urges and dreams. Even in a pub brawl you'll get hurt even if you 'win' often with broken knuckles or fingers and a lot of facial bruising. I vividly remember an SAS instructor in personal combat explaining that hand-to-hand fighting without a weapon seldom made sense particularly when you had more than one opponent or they were armed. His three steps in that case were:
    1) Talk
    2) Run
    3) Faint

    Video Games and Films sell fantasy violence just as advertising sells fantasy romance and glamour. We know that Advertising works highly effectively to sell products and alter behaviour. It works on all of us, however little we care to acknowledge it. Adolescent males often have brains that are tortured by testosterone and fantasies of masculine power, significance and violence. Violent Games indulge those fantasies which is why they are so successful and in many cases it is very likely they have the same 'advertising' effect and lower the social taboos against violence or aggressive behaviour. I have young children and even though I run a software company (not games), I keep them well away from violent games and films and spend as much time as possible trying to make sure they get exposure to outdoor sport, real contact with friends and doses of high-culture.

  • Things that show violence will make people with problems more violent than others. We need no study for this.

  • Experimental psychology is not easy (IAAECP). Interpreting the outcomes is even more difficult, so it seems. In the abstract, the authors write "The studies also showed that players high in trait aggression were more likely to prefer or value games with violent contents, even though violent contents did not reliably enhance their game enjoyment or immersion." So, violent people like violent games, and nobody needs violence in order to enjoy gaming.

    On the other hand, this study cannot assess the effects of p

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