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Games Science

Don't Study the Video Game, Study the Gamer 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the obvious-but-needs-to-be-said dept.
rrossman2 writes with this quote from a USA Today article about research recently presented to the American Psychological Association: "Video games — especially violent ones — are constantly under scrutiny from parents concerned about negative effects. Now, research suggests that those worries should focus more on the player's personality rather than the content of the games. 'If you're worried about a video game turning your son or daughter into a killer, don't worry about that,' says psychologist Patrick Markey of Villanova (Pa.) University. 'But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly? It's probably not the best idea to have that child play violent video games.' ... Markey found slight increases in hostility for those with certain personality traits: extremely high on neuroticism and extremely low on agreeableness and conscientiousness. ... 'We found — irrespective of violent content — the two highly competitive games produced more aggressive behavior than the two less competitive games,' [Markey said.]"
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Don't Study the Video Game, Study the Gamer

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  • Blame Canada? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:11AM (#37418124) Homepage

    Children's violence is actually the fault of the child and his parents. News at 11.

  • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:26AM (#37418190) Homepage

    There are no games which are not violent.

    There's plenty of non-violent games. Unfortunately, kind tend to think shooting is more cool than leading some ball around, building a city or solving various logical puzzles. Also, non-violent games are usually involve more thinking, which is frowned upon in modern society, even more so among children.

    Off the top of my head: Portal, SimCity, various Tycoon games, Neverball, Bejeweled, Tetris

  • Re:Blame Canada? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:59AM (#37418336) Journal

    "Children's violence is actually the fault of the child and his parents that use games and TV as a babysitter. News at 11." FTFY.

    My boys have been pretty much allowed to play any games that they wanted to play from a young age and I never worried about it because I actually sat and taught them how it all works. No mixing up reality and fantasy when you see how you can alter scripts to alter character movements, or tweak a DOOM Wad (dating myself there) to put your name on the walls, or fire up Unreal ED and show them how the different pieces come together to make levels. Did make for some interesting "cursing" from the oldest though. I'd hear things like "Look at the tearing! Who designed this mess? And this AI is a bad joke, I'm clearly in the line of sight! DUCK OR FIRE YOU STUPID SCRIPT!"

    But sadly I have picked them up from friends houses when they were younger and saw houses without a single book in them (my mom read "Sci/Fi writers of the 70s" to them like she did to me when I was little, aaww) where they frankly didn't care WHAT the kid did as long as it didn't involve them. Hell their kids could be watching snuff porn for all they knew, as long as the kid wasn't bugging them it was all good as far as they were concerned.

    Now while their kids are in dead end crap jobs the oldest is in his second year of pre-med and on the dean's list , and the youngest is trying to decide whether he would prefer to go for something that would help with his love of computer art or go with his love of cooking and be a chef.

    Both of them are kind and decent human beings and both only play violent games if they have more than just violence to offer like a compelling story or well made levels. That is what happens when you treat kids like they actually have a mind and give them knowledge and help them develop the ability to decide on their own, you find they actually develop taste and critical thinking skills and judge based on merits, not just how many bodies they can throw in.

  • by Trigger31415 (1912176) on Friday September 16, 2011 @07:05AM (#37418360)
    In a way, SimCity is violent. Or at least brain-washing, which is the precise default we hope violent games don't have.
    I'm not talking about the disasters (earthquakes, etc.) the player can unleash. For a SimCity game, one thing matters over everything : your bank account. You want to build this stuff? You need money. You want to change the landscape? You need money.
    Having a positive balance may requier for the player to diminish stuff like hospital subventions, etc.: the kind of stuff that can cause more deaths in reality is here rewarded.
    SimCity is extremely pro-capitalist (may seems unimportant in US, but many people in other countries don't have the same view about economy).
    There is a huge gap in what you'ld expect of a good mayor, and what SimCity teaches.
  • Moody children (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Friday September 16, 2011 @07:26AM (#37418464)

    '...don't worry about that,' says psychologist Patrick Markey of Villanova (Pa.) University. 'But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly?

    ...uh...such as about every child that gets into puberty? Yeah, sure.

    How about not giving children guns? How many children kill others or themselves when they do not have a gun?

    I don't claim that children without a gun don't kill themselves or stab others with knifes, yet it seems striking to me that the violent crimes (aka "running amok") by children (and probably also adults) are so violent because they have one or more guns. At least to me as a non-violent layman from Europe it seems much easier to shoot a dozen classmates than to club them to death or stab them. The bottom-line being that you should not give your child a gun when it reaches puberty. Oh yeah, and also give 'em very sharp katanas without further supervision...

  • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Friday September 16, 2011 @08:30AM (#37418786) Journal

    In a way, SimCity is violent. Or at least brain-washing, which is the precise default we hope violent games don't have.

    I'm not talking about the disasters (earthquakes, etc.) the player can unleash. For a SimCity game, one thing matters over everything : your bank account. You want to build this stuff? You need money. You want to change the landscape? You need money.

    Having a positive balance may requier for the player to diminish stuff like hospital subventions, etc.: the kind of stuff that can cause more deaths in reality is here rewarded.

    SimCity is extremely pro-capitalist (may seems unimportant in US, but many people in other countries don't have the same view about economy).

    There is a huge gap in what you'ld expect of a good mayor, and what SimCity teaches.

    SimCity has recently been accused of being to environmentally based as well.

    I actually think it is just trying to be realistic. We live in a world where money matters more than everything, so Sim City would be utter rubbish if it did not mirror this to a certain extent.

    Also, you sat people in many other countries don't have the same view of economy, did you have any in particular in mind? I am from the UK by very left leaning parents who considered themselves socialists. I was encouraged to play SimCity as a kid as a way to learn about economics and the results of your actions.

    I would say that SimCity can be used to encourage left leaning thoughts in children. In the example above you give about hospitals as far as I remember if you skimped on things like healthcare and education people started leaving your city in droves to go and live somewhere nicer. If you just followed purely capitalist rationale for your decisions you would build lots of oil or coal fired power plants, but the resulting pollution also made people leave your city. People leaving meant you got reduced tax revenue, so that made it harder to balance the books in future. While the game might revolve around economics, economics is not a subject studied solely by people who are pro-capitalist.

    Many lefties also study economics, they just approach it from a different point of view. Interestingly here in the UK both of our main parties (conservative and labour) are riddled with people who all studied the same thing at the same university: Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford. In my case this was also what my mother studied, then later taught at university.

    Economics is not just the domain of capitalists, we could all do with learning about it. Ultimately, even without the existence of money economics would still be about how you allot resources.

  • by zeroshade (1801584) on Friday September 16, 2011 @10:58AM (#37420398)

    It's because it's a tested, re-tested, re-verified and oh yes double-blind checked observation that video games increase violent behavior, in the short term, in the long term, in little kids, in big kids, in young adults, in middle aged people, older people and pensioners.

    Except not a single one of these studies have proven that. In fact, they are closer to proving that competition irrespective of violent content, is the main motivator for aggressive, not violent behavior. Holy crap, people who play competitive games (sports, video games, board games, whatever) are sometimes aggressive about their competitiveness. Hmm...perhaps competitive people play competitive games. Considering that the only thing that has been shown is a correlation (to aggressiveness, not violent behavior) claiming that they cause violent behavior is a flat out lie.

    So can we now please please grow up and assume that, yes, 40 years of testing the same thing (20 years for video games), with every honest psychologist coming again and again to the same conclusion did not result from a desire to steal your tv/video games ?

    If you read what the studies actually say, the honest psychologists never claimed that violent media caused violent behavior, only that there is a correlation. The honest ones also showed that video games are not alone, all violent media has roughly the same effect. Games (video, card, board, sports, etc.) are only different in the existence of competitiveness. When it comes to the violent imagery, they are no different that tv, movies, books, comics, etc. Maybe the reason why we've been testing the same thing for 40 years is because everyone THINKS that they must cause it (because they don't want to take responsibility for raising their own children) and they keep re-testing it because they haven't gotten the answer they want yet. Nah, that couldn't be it.....

    Note that the actual study indicated that people are very much affected, specifically made violent, by these video games. What the study mostly claimed is that some types of imagined violence had more of an effect than others (big surprise : convincing violence, preferably with some sort of consequence on a real, human, victim, even if it's just a number on his/her screen, evokes more violence than what amounts to showing a picture of some blood).

    Except the study said no such thing. The study actually explicitly stated that the violent content in the games doesn't do anything unless you have specific personality traits that could be affected. Newsflash! If your kid has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, don't let them play a violent game. If your kid is already aggressive, violent and moody, don't let them play a violent game. It has nothing to do with the video game causing anything, it just reinforces a pre-existing issue with the person. Violent games will not cause a perfectly normal person to become a violent person. It just doesn't happen and it's not possible. The study actually stated: "We found — irrespective of violent content — the two highly competitive games produced more aggressive behavior than the two less competitive games." So the factor is competitiveness, not violence. And the result is aggressiveness, not violence. Holy crap, people who play competitive games will become aggressive because they are competitive! I never guessed that! Maybe they want to win or something?

    This is THE way to politicize science.

    Politics refuses to accept the answer that media (whether it's movies, video games, punk rock, comic books, etc.) is just not as influencing of behavior as they like to believe. People need to be able to blame something other than themselves for the perceived "immorality" of young people today. Every time some new media comes around, it is vilified and eventually proven to not be the cause of all of life's woes like people claim. Your post i

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