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Games Science

Violent Video Games Only Affect Some People 236

Posted by Soulskill
from the money-was-spent-to-figure-this-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The media would have you believe that violent video games will be the downfall of our civilization and the cause of moral decline in young people. A recent study suggests that most people aren't so easily influenced by the violence; instead, just a few bad apples are likely to react poorly, with everyone else showing little or no effect from playing these games." The American Psychological Association has posted the academic paper (PDF) as well, in addition to a few related studies. One examines how games can be a force for good (PDF), and another looks at the motivations behind children playing such games (PDF).
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Violent Video Games Only Affect Some People

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  • It's not violence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:23AM (#32508752)

    It's sex people get really pissy about.

    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:39AM (#32508894)
      Bemusing really, isn't it. To objectify the taking of life is commonplace in cinema and literature, but its creation is taboo.

      Someone bring back common sense.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by NoZart (961808)

        Depends on your location.
        Here in Austria, Sex is a perfectly normal topic on TV while violence gets cut out even after 2200.

      • by jamesh (87723) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:58AM (#32509104)

        Bemusing really, isn't it. To objectify the taking of life is commonplace in cinema and literature, but its creation is taboo.

        Put like that it sounds a bit silly, but the reality is that most people are more affected by watching sex than by watching violence. All other things being equal, there is a higher chance of you feeling like wanting sex after watching people doing it than the chance of you getting bloodlust after watching violence.

        I'm not saying that the reaction is a basis for banning one over the other, but I think that you are over simplifying.

        • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster...man@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:25AM (#32509368)

          Bemusing really, isn't it. To objectify the taking of life is commonplace in cinema and literature, but its creation is taboo.

          Put like that it sounds a bit silly, but the reality is that most people are more affected by watching sex than by watching violence. All other things being equal, there is a higher chance of you feeling like wanting sex after watching people doing it than the chance of you getting bloodlust after watching violence.

          Agreed. I don't think either topic in general reaches the level of 'taboo'. That said, claiming that 'creating life' is the taboo subject ignores both that the content we're talking about is casual sex that doesn't result in reproduction, and that the intent is to limit childrens access to the content (since it's undesirable physiologically and financially for 14 year olds to be pregnant).

          That said, at least we KNOW sexual content affects people and makes them want to engage in sexual activities (as anyone who has seen pornography will attest to), while we also know that violent content does not make the vast majority of people want to engage in violent activities (as all of us who played Doom but didn't go on a violent rampage can also attest to). At least if we're going to regulate who can view a type of content, it might as well be the one that actually affects our behavior.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by hldn (1085833)

            that the intent is to limit childrens access to the content (since it's undesirable physiologically and financially for 14 year olds to be pregnant).

            access to porn leads to teen pregnancy? i must have been sick that day.

          • by silentcoder (1241496) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:35AM (#32510174) Homepage

            >Agreed. I don't think either topic in general reaches the level of 'taboo'. That said, claiming that 'creating life' is the taboo subject ignores both that the content we're talking about is casual sex that doesn't result in reproduction, and that the intent is to limit childrens access to the content (since it's undesirable physiologically and financially for 14 year olds to be pregnant).

            Talk about intent failing due to ignorance then... study after study have proven that the younger teenagers (And this is doubly true of girls) start masturbating the OLDER they tend to lose their virginity. Girls who own vibrators and (are encouraged by their parents to) watch porn tend to wait even LONGER.

            Simple really - if you know how to deal with your OWN hormones, you don't HAVE to rely on boys to do it for you... and then you can actually choose who you have sex with on more than just "I'm horny right now and I can't control the need" because you've previously learned how to deal with that need on your own, it's not so overwhelming to be near orgasm when you've been past it a few thousand times already.

            In short... basically it seems to have the OPPOSITE affect. Honest sex-ed that admits sex is fun, often engaged in for that purpose and can be almost as MUCH fun by yourself is known to reduce pregnancy and STD rates, denial and "condoms break" and "never ever tell the poor mite she has a clitoris" is known to lead to MASSIVE spikes in pregnancy and STD rates...

            Of course adding insult to injury for the moral brigade... during the Bush years' insistence on repeating the old abstinence-only sex-ed model (despite it's persistent faillure in the past) it was found by one study that more than 70% of the teenagers who abstained from penetrative sex as a result of those programs practised both oral and anal sex on a regular basis, usually without protection.
            "I'm saving myself for marriage, fuck me in the ass instead"...

            What can I say, I guess the moral brigade has an easy task - they want to stop teenagers from having sex, well that shouldn't be so hard. it's not like teenagers are horny after all... oh wait... remember what it was LIKE to have puberty's hormone levels ?
            Best thing we can do is give teenagers information, and ACCESS TO RELIEF WITHOUT GUILT... and then let them make their own informed choices.

            How many more times must society SEE how every other approach fails disastrously before we figure this out ?

            • by daem0n1x (748565)

              "I'm saving myself for marriage, fuck me in the ass instead"...

              Wait, that sounds fun. Thank you, Moral Brigade.

          • by daem0n1x (748565)
            Come on, if you don't want your 14 year old daughter to get pregnant, teach her some responsibility, it's the best way. Hiding to her that sex exists, feels good and people do it will only result in the opposite effect.
            • by Bakkster (1529253)

              Come on, if you don't want your 14 year old daughter to get pregnant, teach her some responsibility, it's the best way.

              I don't disagree.

              Hiding to her that sex exists, feels good and people do it will only result in the opposite effect.

              I don't think that shielding them from sexual content in movies is equivalent to teaching them healthy attitudes about sex. One can teach about sex effectively without sexy movies, and sexy movies probably aren't the best place for them to learn. Nor is visual sexual stimulation necessary.

              So we have two different topics. Nothing in what you said implies that children should see sexual content in movies, only that their parents should educate them about sex.

          • Re:It's not violence (Score:5, Interesting)

            by daem0n1x (748565) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @10:19AM (#32510818)

            Agreed. I don't think either topic in general reaches the level of 'taboo'. That said, claiming that 'creating life' is the taboo subject ignores both that the content we're talking about is casual sex that doesn't result in reproduction, and that the intent is to limit childrens access to the content (since it's undesirable physiologically and financially for 14 year olds to be pregnant).

            Please explain to me why the USA, being such a puritan country, ranks a lot worse [wikipedia.org] in teenage pregnancy that European countries, that have a very liberal vision regarding sex education of teens. I mean, you teach stupid things like abstinence (that is considered ridiculous by most normal Europeans) instead of teaching contraception, then your results are so bad, and you still think your way is better? How about some rational behaviour, for a change?

        • Re:It's not violence (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:37AM (#32509530)

          All other things being equal, there is a higher chance of you feeling like wanting sex after watching people doing it than the chance of you getting bloodlust after watching violence.

          While if you sucumb to "feeling like wanting sex" doesn't usually harm others, sucumbing to "getting bloodlust" is highly likelly to harm others.

          The GP point still stands: sex (which harms nobody) is taboo while violence (most definitely harmful) is commonplace in cinema and literature.

          Even if seeing sex in movies is more likelly to make you want to have sex than seeing violence is likelly to make you want to go on a rampage, that is not a reason to not show sex on movies while still showing violence since even frequent mass-orgies after movies would harm less people than a single individual going on a rampage.

          • Sex doesn't necessarily "harm nobody." While the harm with violence is much more direct (people injured/killed) the harm from sex can be quite large and unpredictable. I'm talking, of course, about pregnancy... though I'm sure that you could argue for other "harms" of sex.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Bakkster (1529253)

            While if you sucumb to "feeling like wanting sex" doesn't usually harm others, sucumbing to "getting bloodlust" is highly likelly to harm others.

            But without specific numbers, you can't say with certainty which is worse. One is commonly found but often causes minimal harm, the other is unlikely but often causes significant harm. It could be a 90% probility of 1% harm (sex), versus a 0.01% probability of 99% harm (violence), in which case sex would be worse in aggregate at 0.9% versus 0.0099% (numbers are complete fabrications, of course).

            The GP point still stands: sex (which harms nobody) is taboo while violence (most definitely harmful) is commonplace in cinema and literature.

            Even if seeing sex in movies is more likelly to make you want to have sex than seeing violence is likelly to make you want to go on a rampage, that is not a reason to not show sex on movies while still showing violence since even frequent mass-orgies after movies would harm less people than a single individual going on a rampage.

            I don't think taboo is the correct word. Taboos are prohibited even from mention, but that doesn't seem to be t

      • by rwa2 (4391) *

        Follow the money? Babies cost a lot, but dead people don't? Except for all the legal and prison fees associated with death, of course, but that's money the lawyers can get behind.

        IANAL ;-P

      • by ALeavitt (636946)
        It's simple: the US is run by a shadow government of Malthusians.
      • If makes sense if you consider that our species isn't currently threatened with extinction but is beset by overpopulation.

      • This has always been one of my hot buttons. Put bluntly, I can make a movie in which a guy hacks a woman's breast off with a machete and that's NC-17, but a couple having sex, oooh, can't have that - that's X rated. WTF?!?! Jumping Jesus in a chariot what message does that send to our kids?
      • by daem0n1x (748565)
        It's mainly an American problem. In Hollywood movies you're lucky if you can glance at a nipple, but in European movies full nudity is common.
        That thing with Janet Jackson, for instance, was completely ridiculous. Here, you can see tits occasionally during prime time, and it's common in commercials for body products.
        I'd rather have my kids seeing people naked on TV than people cutting each other to pieces.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by sharkey (16670)

      It's sex people get really pissy about.

      Whiny fuckers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by RivenAleem (1590553)

      Watch True Blood and you get both!

      (Season 3 starts this weekend)

    • See, we just need to get people to study the correlation between violence and Cosmo. Even if the results are inconclusive, maybe we can still get it banned.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Locke2005 (849178)
        Personally, I believe most violence is caused by overexposure to Justin Beiber! I know every time I see him, I want to destroy something.
  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ProppaT (557551) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:24AM (#32508766) Homepage

    Violent video games only affect the kind of people who kill small animals just to see what it feels like. It's a similar rush, just from different things. If you're predisposed to this kind of violence, watching Robocop probably has the same likely hood of pushing you over the edge as a videogame does. As much as people talk about how we're desensitized to violence from movies and videogames, the second a normal person sees someone shot or seriously injured in real life their stomach usually turns.

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Funny)

      by somersault (912633) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:42AM (#32508924) Homepage Journal

      That is such a heap of bullshit, I've killed plenty of small animals and I'm definitely a well adjusted individual. Take back your fucking retarded comment or I'm gonna come over there, rip your spine out and use it to literally beat you shit out of you, then make you eat it, then beat it out again and make you eat the shit made out of the shit you already had beat out of you. You have 20 seconds to comply.

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Informative)

      by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:53AM (#32509036)

      Kurt Vonnegut once made an interesting comment regarding the Vietnam War. When he went to Europe in WWII, everyone just hoped that they wouldn't have to kill anyone. When kids went off to Vietnam, all the movies and media from the previous wars gave them very different expectations.

      It was either in this interview in The Paris Review [theparisreview.org], or this one from Playboy [vonnegutweb.com]. I can't remember which. Seems applicable, though.

      • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon (87307) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:07AM (#32509182)

        When kids went off to war in Europe in the 40s, a good portion of their parents or grandparents were from the countries we were fighting in, they grew up in German or Italian neighborhoods, and were basically fighting family. Fighting in Vietnam is a more like fighting the Japanese (pro tip: they used Japanese-looking dolls to train bayonet tactics, even for the kids going off to Europe). Not saying its right, just saying its easier to rationalize killing people you have less of a connection to, and it always has been for all of human history.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Great how we seem to have moved from basic training ie
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DShDaJXK5qo [youtube.com] (part one of six)
        to getting kids with computer games as a public relations/recruitment tool.
        Be interesting to see what the next study would be like ... showing ?? from playing these games and going into basic training.
    • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:01AM (#32509130) Journal

      Indeed. Although part of the problem is that supporters of censorship laws already use the argument "Even if it only affects some people, even if there's only a small chance, we should ban it ... even if it only saves one life". (This isn't a straw man - e.g., it was an argument made by the UK Labour Government recently when criminalising adult images, and also by supporters of that law, Section 63.)

      It's a poor argument of course. One can easily put out the opposing hypothesis that at least some people might be less likely to turn to violence as a result, claiming that no matter how small the chance is that it's true, it's worth it if it only saves one life. There's also the opportunity cost of passing and enforcing such laws - money that could be spent on hospitals, and therefore we could save just one more life by not spending money on dubiously made laws.

      Unfortunately, reason and logic doesn't rank highly on supporters of such laws, in my experience.

    • by s_p_oneil (795792)

      I disagree in one respect. If you enjoy killing small animals, you don't need anything to push you over the edge. You're already on the wrong side of it, and all it may take to awaken violent urges is for a potential victim to walk by. I think most of us agree that violent video games won't create violent tendencies in someone who doesn't have them, which makes it a question of whether violent media can make a person more likely to discover latent violent tendencies in themselves, and/or less likely to supp

    • by Artifakt (700173)

      Direct depiction of violence is only part of the situation. (Just as somebody above had to point out that very little of the sex depicted is about reproductive sex.). What about misleading information related to violence? There are supposedly some significant numbers of people who overrate the chance of cars exploding, thanks to Hollywood showing so many 'car goes off a cliff and explodes before it even hits the ground' scenes. It might be good to know if this is really a substantial group, to add to your g

  • Wait, what? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Noitatsidem (1701520) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:26AM (#32508778)
    So does this mean I can't use GTA as an excuse as to why I robbed my neighbor anymore?
  • We found that boys and girls who regularly played at least one Mature-rated game title were signicantly more likely to endorse four reasons for play: to compete and win, to get anger out, liking to “mod” games, and liking “the guns and other weapons”.

    The only thing that's weird is the game modding link, but my guess is that that variable is confounded with some other facto that they didn't correct for. They also noted men like to mod much more than women.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by biryokumaru (822262)
      There just aren't enough "Harvest Moon" modding communities out there. That's the real problem.
  • I always say.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HopefulIntern (1759406) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:27AM (#32508792)
    ...something like a video game cannot turn a normal person violent. The tendency has to be there already. You could argue that without violent games and movies these tendencies would not be realised, but I think that is a very naive notion. I think violent games for adolescents/adults are a good thing for society. In this castrated western world where two dudes wanna get drunk and fight each other are both reprimanded, and all kinds of contact sport gets softened up and dumbed down, it is natural to seek other means of expressing a competitive/violent yearning.

    I don't have children, but when the time comes I will not ban them from all violent games (like my parents did) but rather let them play them as long as I am satisfied they understand the context, that there is a difference between movies and games and the real life.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      ...and all kinds of contact sport gets softened up and dumbed down,....

      Softened up - yes. Dumbed down? I think that's always been the case.

    • by kellyb9 (954229)

      You could argue that without violent games and movies these tendencies would not be realised, but I think that is a very naive notion.

      I agree with the majority of the post, but based on observations, I would suspect that the majority of the world is desensitized to violence at least to some small degree. This is not to say that they would be more likely to commit a violent crime, just less likely to react to one. Again, this is not a good or a bad thing, just an observation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I would agree they might be desensitised to animated/fake violence, but as has been mentioned already, were said normal person to witness actual violence (or even real violence on a tape) it would affect them differently. Two examples stand out, one being myself, quite possibly highly desensitised by violent video games and movies, but every so often I come across one of those murder videos that circulate the internet ( the one that stands out in my mind is a couple of russian neo-nazis beheading an immigra
  • I feel like we have this same discussion at least 100 times a year. In the end, its generally different strokes for different folks, and at the end of the day it is the extremes that the lobbyist argue, while reality is a grey area. The thing is, grey areas don't pass bans and don't suffice as lobbyist ammunition. One study will be inconclusive, the next will be clear and cut confirmation of correlation. The title really summed it up best "[insert stimulus here] Only Affect Some People." Now can somebody ta
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Different strokes for different folks, is something that gets discussed here most days.
  • Let me guess ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:31AM (#32508822)
    ... the people who react poorly to violent video games are the ones who are likely to exhibit violent behavior even without any video games?
  • You don't universally ban/restrict alcohol because SOME people will become alcoholics.
    You don't universally ban/restrict violent video games because SOME people will become more hostile.
    You don't universally ban/restrict hand guns because SOME of the population breaks the law.

    etc...

    We could add the same common sense reasoning to other recreational drugs, like tobacco and marijuana, or to books, and on and on.

    • All underage people are banned from drinking alcohol because some have problems with it.

      All unrated games are banned in Australia because some have problems with it.

      All handguns are banned in the UK because someone went on a killing spree with it.

      AND the last one has worked because nobody has used a handgun since to go on a killing spree. The next one used a shotgun. The one before the handgun used an automatic rifle which have also been banned and since then nobody has used one either.

      Hard to argue tha

      • Re:Eh? But we do (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Midnight's Shadow (1517137) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:51AM (#32509016)

        All handguns are banned in the UK because someone went on a killing spree with it.

        AND the last one has worked because nobody has used a handgun since to go on a killing spree. The next one used a shotgun. The one before the handgun used an automatic rifle which have also been banned and since then nobody has used one either.

        Hard to argue that it doesn't work, when it does.

        Actually I'd argue that what you described shows that banning guns doesn't work. One guy used an automatic rifle, so they banned it. The next guy used a handgun, so they banned that. The next guy used a shotgun, so they banned that. What's next a guy using a butcher's cleaver so they ban that?

        You can always find a way to cause physical harm against another person ranging from string, table legs, anvils to guns. Should we ban all those when a single person miss uses them? Washington DC has one of the strictest gun control laws in the US, and one of the highest crime rates (not counting political crimes, which would really skew the numbers). I'd say at least in the US, banning things when a very small subset of people miss use them doesn't work. If you want a historical example, look at prohibition which caused more harm then good to the country.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)

          The next guy used a shotgun, so they banned that. What's next a guy using a butcher's cleaver so they ban that?

          If he'd used a butcher's cleaver, he'd have been stopped earlier. Three police officers saw him kill, but didn't do anything because police batons don't stand much of a chance against someone with a firearm. They'd have done fine against someone with a cleaver, however.

        • Re:Eh? But we do (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:07AM (#32509184) Homepage Journal

          Too bad parent poster is wrong.

          http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/12-dead-in-uk-killing-spree-460161.html [breakingnews.ie]

          This guy would have lasted about 3 minutes in my neck of the woods, where quite a few *law-abiding* citizens have legal concealed carry permits. Do you realize how many times you have to reload to kill 26 people with a standard 12ga shotgun?

          • by hedwards (940851)
            You're not entirely correct. The reason why he wouldn't have lasted long in the US is that all our police are armed with firearms. The fact that he was seen by police committing the crime and able to walk away is evidence that there's something entirely fucked up about police officers not being properly armed. Sure criminals get away from time to time here, but law enforcement does have the tools necessary to deal with it on the seen.

            Besides, most gun deaths in the US are suicides. That and the people th
            • by Jaysyn (203771)

              No, I'm pretty much correct about the area where I live. Seems like every other person I know has a concealed carry.

          • by Tenek (738297)
            And how many extra shooting sprees are possible because the general population is so heavily armed?
        • by mikael_j (106439)

          Actually I'd argue that what you described shows that banning guns doesn't work. One guy used an automatic rifle, so they banned it. The next guy used a handgun, so they banned that. The next guy used a shotgun, so they banned that. What's next a guy using a butcher's cleaver so they ban that?

          Well, a meat cleaver is a lot harder to go on a killing spree with than a gun. If you tried attacking a crowd of people with a meat cleaver chances are a lot of them would simply run away from you with a few possibly jumping you from behind, "massacre" over. You stand 30 ft. away and empty a few clips in their general direction and the situation is a bit trickier from their point of view.

          You can always find a way to cause physical harm against another person ranging from string, table legs, anvils to guns. Should we ban all those when a single person miss uses them?

          • String - Plenty of everyday uses.
          • Table legs - Are generally used for holding tables up, can also be used as a hammer in
          • Re:Eh? But we do (Score:4, Informative)

            by digitig (1056110) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:29AM (#32509436)

            Well, a meat cleaver is a lot harder to go on a killing spree with than a gun.

            You mean like these [telegraph.co.uk]?

          • by hedwards (940851)
            Guns are only used for destroying things. Anybody who says otherwise doesn't know a damned thing about them and certainly shouldn't be handling them.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              There's a lot of power both ways with the threat of violence without even using the tool though.
              Police do actually get people to stand down by drawing a gun and telling them to give up.

              Restricting arms in any way really only stop random acts of violence with those kinds of arms.
              Premeditated acts can still be done with them because if someone wants it enough they're not going to abide by those laws so much.

              You don't ban guns to stop an organized criminal organization because they'll still get them and then y

          • discourage the macho idiots from getting guns by making the paperwork and requirements surrounding gun ownership a PITA

            I don't see how paperwork specifically target machos (as opposed from say a woman afraid of her abusive ex), and it certainly doesn't bother criminals who would avoid any paper-trail even if registration was very easy.

            • by mikael_j (106439)

              If you only want a gun because you want to be cool then generally you're probably not going feel like dealing with all the paperwork and exams (oh yes, there are exams, both theoretical and practical).

              As for criminals, if you have an illegal gun in your home or on your person then that's something you can get busted for, and in an environment where the average person doesn't have a gun it's not really worth the effort for the average criminal to have one either (since all it takes is the cops searching him/

          • >Well, a meat cleaver is a lot harder to go on a killing spree with than a gun. If you tried attacking a crowd of people with a meat cleaver chances are a lot of them would simply run away from you with a few possibly jumping you from behind, "massacre" over. You stand 30 ft. away and empty a few clips in their general direction and the situation is a bit trickier from their point of view.

            If I wanted to go on a killing spree, six months at my local archery club would have me quite capable of hitting most

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Does the alcohol ban prevent all kids from accessing alcohol? Or just the ones who are well-adjusted enough to follow the rules? Can you categorically state that because of the ban, there is no problem with underage drinking?

        Does the game ban keep all unrated games out of AU? Or just those that an enterprising young kid doesn't download?

        Does the handgun ban keep all handguns out of the hands of criminals? Or just out of the hands of law-abiding people whose legitimate right to adequate and reasonable se

    • We could add the same common sense reasoning to other recreational drugs, like tobacco and marijuana, or to books, and on and on.

      So I think the key difference with your analogy here is whether or not there is a victim. And by 'victim' I don't mean any of that protect-the-citizen-from-themselves-crap but instead someone who suffers a loss of life, liberty or pursuit of happiness without participating willingly in it. So let's start with an easy one: murder. Murder is banned pretty much all over the United States except in very special circumstances (capital punishment). The reason is obvious, someone's dying and they almost always

  • Parents? (Score:2, Troll)

    by asukasoryu (1804858)
    What happened to blaming the parents? I don't believe you can send a child out to do anything independently and expect them to just turn out ok. Someone with the ability to reason (not all parents) should be interacting with the children to ensure they are developing desirable social and behavioral skills. This should be true for whatever children are doing, not just video games. Think about the children!
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:42AM (#32508920) Homepage Journal

    FTFA:

    “Previous research has shown us that personality traits like psychoticism and aggressiveness intensify the negative effects of violent video games and we wanted to find out why,” said Markey.

    So psychos act like psychos after playing video games? WHAT A SURPRISE!

    There should be a hefty fine levied against all the "news" outlets that have whipped up this "games make people psycho" meme in the last decades. Their fear mongering is NOT harmless, and they should be held accountable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770)

      So psychos act like psychos after playing video games? WHAT A SURPRISE!

      If you hand someone over to a psychologist, plenty of us have some sort of traits. Unless you completely lack a "fight or flee" response you probably have some aggressiveness, for example. It's a huge difference between these people being psychos before, playing the game and still being psychos and someone with tendencies to become a full-blown psycho through playing video games.

      Imagine what the treatment would be for someone with trouble connecting to other people's emotions and conflict resolution without

  • Wrong correlation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:46AM (#32508972)

    Whether someone is violent (or likely to be violent) has no correlation with his consumption of computer games. A person who has a "reason" to be violent (please don't expect a logical, reasonable reason. We're talking psychology here, or, in other terms, stuff that deals with people's emotions) will be violent. Game or no game. Do they enjoy playing those games for the same reasons they, say, kill kittens or torture their schoolmates? Most likely. Do I enjoy playing those games for the same reason that I enjoy other games that challenge my ability to react quickly and make swift decisions? That much I know for sure.

    Both, that violent bully and I, play the same game. But we do so for different motivations and for a different gratification. For him, it's the blood and gore splattering across the screen. For me, it's the reward that I played better than someone else (either a real player or at least some script). Mowing down a few hundred zombies is for him a great rush because of the blood and guts spewing everywhere on screen. For me, it's the challenge that I have to get them down before they reach my character and end my game, and the rewarding experience that I could pull it off, even though the amount of enemies made it seem impossible.

    But do we want to base a legislation on how someone feels about a product in question? Again? As if certain porn laws (that depend on how a judge "feels" about certain displays) were not enough bullshit littering our laws...

    • it may be the wrong correlation, but your initial paragraph reads like someone who has no interest in discovering the root cause of psychosis at all. There's value in discovering the influences upon human behavior, and like it or not, there are forms of media that affect behavior--that should be studied. Many youth spend ENORMOUS amounts of time on videogames--it can be their primary daily activity, especially during the summer. Games and media are shared more often now than ever before, with games on mobil

  • Carmageddon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Calinous (985536) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:49AM (#32508996)

    As someone who played it a lot said one:
    "I quit because I've had a pedestrian in front of my car on a small, twisty street and for a moment I wanted to hit it".
          By what I know, he never played Carmageddon again.

    • by thijsh (910751)
      Everyone has thoughts about things you know are not right. You can just as well think in the car: "If I just let the steering wheel slide for a bit I will fly off this cliff and be dead...", but this realization does not mean you are willing to actually do it (in fact i'd say knowledge of consequence increases your feeling of responsibility). Most people follow up with a "Well, I'd better look out then!" thought and never think twice about it.

      I've read a psychological study that suggested that people (wit
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:54AM (#32509048)

    The problem I find with all this research on violent video games is that it all seems to assume that video games have an effect that matters. Well, how about we study that first? Back when I learned about scientific research, especially as it applies to people, you go and do some observational research first, see if there's a trend. Only if there is do you bother with experiments.

    In this case compare the violent crime rate for people who play video games as well as people who do not to the population at large. Unless you see an increase, there really isn't anything else to study. Trying to measure the effect of a videogame on an individual is going to be much harder and more error prone than evaluating statistical data. So, let's do that first. Unless there is a statistically significant difference in the rate for violent crime between the population at large and the subset that likes violent games, I don't see why further study is warranted.

    Now I realize that there could potentially be other, more subtle, effects. However why do we care? Does it matter if playing violent video games causes people to get excited, or release more adrenaline or the like? Might be mildly interesting as a general psychology/physiology study, but nothing worth reporting on or making policy on. The only concern in terms of that would be if violent videogames make people more likely to commit crimes.

    I'm going to say they don't just based on the fact that violent crime has been dropping for around 30 years and what do you know, video games have been increasing for around 30 years.

    • There are several reasons to do such research: 1. Be able to publish a paper and make a name for yourself. 2. Make policies so you can stand behind some meaningless principle that you can con others into believing and supporting your (political power). 3. Make money with the grants you get from such studies. 4. Get on good terms with your deity. In summary: gold, glory, and god. If we can learn something about human behavior, that may be an interesting side effect.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Reziac (43301) *

        I think you just stated everything that can be learned from such a study... all the learning we do is about those *doing* the study. :/

    • by bbqsrc (1441981)
      Anthropologists need something to study too.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:16AM (#32509266)
    I have it on good authority [wikipedia.org] that comic books are to blame for the decline of our youth. Did you know that since 1994 (coinciding with the comic book market downturn of the mid-90's), juvenile crime has dropped by 47%? And now, with the comic book industry returning strong, juvenile delinquency is once again on the rise [newamericamedia.org]. We must put an end to this prurient influence on our youth!
  • Negative effects from computer games and media are simply an extension of a classic problem. We know that certain people will suffer disaster if exposed to alcohol. It is biological and not a moral or control issue. Even tobacco is selective in who it destroys. Serve a tomato or have a bit of fish oil in a dish and a few people will die from it.
    Society has not responded well to this type of situation. Obviously the world can not be run according to th

  • . . . by the time I completed Barbie Wild Horse Rescue, I wanted to kill someone!
  • Media (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kellyb9 (954229) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:44AM (#32510290)
    I really feel as though the reason the media harps on video games is because they are still under the assumption that video games are made for kids and teenagers. Key demographics these days are probably closer to the 20-30 year old range. I would argue that it's probably not the greatest thing for a kid to be playing GTA IV, but that's just one man's opinion. When I have kids, I will use the ratings system as a suggestion on what to purchase for them, the same as I would do for movies or any other media.
  • They just don't want to admit that video games do NOT encourage violence. So they find a bunch of people predisposed to violence, then note that after they play video games they become violent. Cripes man, will they ever admit they were WRONG

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