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Games Science

New Study Fails To Show That Violent Video Games Diminish Prosocial Behavior 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the they've-clearly-never-witnessed-tetris-rage dept.
trawg writes "A new Australian study on the effect of violent video games on Australia has just been published, failing to find any evidence that playing video games affects prosocial behavior. The study compared groups who played different types of games, including notably violent titles like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, as well as non-violent titles like Portal, comparing their behavioral response through a simple pen-drop experiment. In a follow-up interview, the researcher said his perspective on how violence might affect people has changed since he started the research: 'I've played video games for most of my life and got into this research because I couldn't believe that violent video games could make me do something I didn't want to do, that is, be aggressive. My attitude has changed somewhat. These days I find it totally plausible that violent video games could influence people's behavior, but the real question is whether their influence is harmful, and I'm not yet convinced of that.'"
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New Study Fails To Show That Violent Video Games Diminish Prosocial Behavior

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  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:07AM (#44194803)

    Violent video games do not make me aggressive, so shut the fuck up or I'll punch you in the face!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The only times that games make me anything close to violent is when I am concentrating on something and I get interrupted for something stupid.

      I get that it is a game, but at the same time, I just spent 20 minutes clearing this level, and I don't want to have to go through that all over again just because you want to tell me something that could have waited five whole minutes.

      It's actually a situation where even my recreation time is valuable to me. And that could just as easily happen from playing a puzzl

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:08AM (#44194807) Journal
    I'm off to play some leisure suit larry!
  • by alen (225700) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:13AM (#44194833)

    before video games kids played cowboys and indians. we learned at an early age to kill off the idiots trying to kick us off their land

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      before video games kids played cowboys and indians. we learned at an early age to kill off the idiots trying to kick us off their land

      Actually, playing cowboys and indians is different because in the end you know you are play acting. TV and video games affect different parts of the brain than play acting. Nobody goes to a broadway play and becomes emotionally attached to the characters portrayed. But how many people see characters from their favorite TV show and cannot separate them from the actor playing the part? People form emotional attachments with the characters portrayed in media endeavors. That doesn't happen with the characters

      • by venicebeach (702856) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:57AM (#44195237) Homepage Journal
        First of all, of course people do get emotionally attached to the characters in live plays. However, I don't know why you've singled out emotional attachment to characters as the important phenomenon.

        In terms of the "different parts of the brain" engaged by play acting, its quite the opposite with respect to some of the relevant brain systems. One important aspect of how the brain understands what we are seeing is by simulation. For example, motor neurons that control action will fire when they observe the corresponding being performed by someone else (see mirror neurons [wikipedia.org]). This is what makes watching action a very real kind of practice for the brain. Our brains understand what we are seeing by pretending to do it on some level. In contrast to your argument, these simulation systems are more engaged the more veridical an observation is -- for example, engagement is more robust watching live action compared to a video of the same action. That fact may actually insulate us from some of the effects of video games... until they get more and more realistic. For example, I'd like to see a comparison of the effects of a violent video game played in 3D to one played in 2D.
        • by devent (1627873)

          A normal human can distinguish real stuff and virtual stuff really easy. That is why we can laugh at slaughter blood bath movies but are horrible shocked by a real massacre. Researchers (and politicians) tried to identify any connection between virtual stuff and real stuff for decades and come up empty. There is no reason to believe that there should by a connection.

          Why should anyone apply the logic virtual -> real. There is no evidence on that.
          Look at a horror movie or a catastrophe movie, like an air p

      • by mjr167 (2477430)

        On the other hand, prior to the rise of easy access porn, sexual behaviour was a lot different. So, the question is if watching sexual activity influences our own ideas and mores about sexual practices, is it that far of a stretch to expect that it does likewise to other mores and values including violence?

        Because the sexual moors of the early 20th century and prior are something we want to return to? Because droit du seigneur is somehow better than modern sexual behavior? As was the inability of a man to rape his wife? Oddly, we have easy to porn and yet women appear to have more rights and be more highly valued than ever before. Just because the Victorian era shoved a stick up everyone's but and told us sex is bad, doesn't mean that Victorian men (and women) were any less kinky. It means people didn't

        • by metamatic (202216)

          Because the sexual moors of the early 20th century and prior are something we want to return to?

          Is that the ghost of Myra Hindley I hear?

      • by Nyder (754090)

        before video games kids played cowboys and indians. we learned at an early age to kill off the idiots trying to kick us off their land

        Actually, playing cowboys and indians is different because in the end you know you are play acting. ,,,

        I don't know about you, but when I play video games, I know I am PLAYING. I do NOT feel that it is real. I know that I am not really killing other people, anymore then when my character dies, it's me that is dying. If you can NOT tell the difference between real life and video games, or for that matter, real life and TV/Movies, then you have problems, and those problems might be related to video games, but video games are not the cause of it.

        People need to to responsibility for their actions. If you

    • by Krojack (575051)

      However if your kids are caught playing this today they will quickly be whisked off to some rehabilitation center. If fake guns are involved, well I won't even go there.

      • by nuonguy (264254)

        Watch a lot of fox news, do you?

        Just because a couple of idiots in some school district did something dumb doesn't make it an epidemic. And just because the tv shows you watch hype the crap out of these stories all day long doesn't make it an epidemic either.

        Don't believe the fear-mongering.

        • by Krojack (575051)

          I in fact watch zero Fox News and zero CNN. They are both evil just on opposite ends of the scale.

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      My 3 year old daughter picked up a stick and started attacking the dragon hiding in the lilies the other day. I'm fairly certain kids of all generations will find something to beat with a stick :).
  • It's no more harmful than advertising and political campaigns/propaganda. Take that as you wish.

    • I'll take that as meaning, you have a hunch which is not backed up by any empirical evidence, but is just based on "feeling".

      That's par for the course with most people, of course.

      • Not a hunch... Voting records. 98% of you people believe the bullshit and elect criminals into office. That, sir, is evidence, not a 'hunch'.

        • by tnk1 (899206)

          To be fair, most of the time, no one knows they are criminals when they elect them, even if they are. Propaganda is more useful in getting me to vote for a specific criminal, rather than for criminals over "decent" people. If Obama was known to be some sort of actual criminal when it was time to elect him, I doubt people would have been as enthusiastic about it.

          Its not like non-criminals are incapable of using propaganda, you know. Or framing their candidates in the best possible light, as some people wh

          • by Hatta (162192)

            To be fair, most of the time, no one knows they are criminals when they elect them, even if they are.

            Candidate Obama came out in favor of warrantless wiretapping in the summer of 2008. Everyone knew he was a criminal then and still voted for him.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Over half the population fails to vote in any election. So at least 50% of us know it's not worth participating in a rigged system run by criminals.

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        I'm pretty certain that you could take a rough estimate of the number of people killed due to political reasoning and count up all the people killed that was blamed (rightfully or not) on video games and you'd still be able to tell which is more dangerous.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Or sports. How many riots have there been after sporting events? How many riots have there been due to violent video games?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ESRB gave Portal a rating of Teen on account of "Blood, Mild Violence."

  • Violence (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:28AM (#44194957)

    Games dont make us violent, lag does

  • Having recently finished as BA in history I feel it safe to say people are violent creatures. You can read about the Ancient Greek's Gymnasium, Roman Gladiators, Europe Divine Right Trials - who won the duel won the law case b/c God won't let the wrong person win, the range of piting animal v's animal fights, the military as the solution when talks break down and a host of belief around pain removing sin. Let face it the only thing violent video games allow is people who aren't very good not to get scared up physically while learning. Possible less people die too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by epyT-R (613989)

      just because someone likes playing mortal kombat doesnt mean they "aren't very good" which im assuming means "low functioning individual." if this is what you meant, you are dead wrong.

      violence has always been a part of life. the problem is that the soccer mom hamsters running things now ('prosocial' is a newspeak term) naively assume that whitewashing away all aggressive expression and capability from society will eliminate violent action. it doesnt. if anything, the resultant bottling up that occ

      • just because someone likes playing mortal kombat doesnt mean they "aren't very good" which im assuming means "low functioning individual." if this is what you meant, you are dead wrong.

        violence has always been a part of life. the problem is that the soccer mom hamsters running things now ('prosocial' is a newspeak term) naively assume that whitewashing away all aggressive expression and capability from society will eliminate violent action. it doesnt. if anything, the resultant bottling up that occurs when people try to comply with such inhuman expectation triggers more extreme responses to mundane situations. there is nothing wrong with having outlets no matter what the oprahs and dr phils preach. they provide a needed pressure release valve do today's ever more passive aggressive culture, which, for the high functioning rational people who must live in it, is essential. the people who cant or wont see this are the low functioning hamsters.

        I read the GP as saying that video games, in lieu of actual physical violent behavior, don't expose an individual to the risk of physical injury (i.e. being "scarred"), for those individuals who are less skilled in that specific behavior (i.e. aren't good at it). Thus, video games provide an outlet for violent impulses without the inherent risks involved in violent behavior.

        I think you two are actually in agreement.

    • Having recently finished as BA in history I feel it safe to say people are violent creatures....

      Yes, but humans are also social creatures. We interact based on the patterns we pick up from our society, and the positive and negative feedback cues that our social interactions give us. If you spend a lot of your time interacting with video games, you learn to interact based on the patterns you learn in video games. That's not the only influence on your behavior; it's not even the main influence on your behavior-- but it is one influence on your behavior.

      Unless you spend more than eight hours a day pla

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        If you spend a lot of your time interacting with video games, you learn to interact based on the patterns you learn in video games.

        I imagine that the extreme result of this is someone who acts like one of those annoying NPCs in games that have no real use. In particular, every time someone talks to him, he just stands there and gives them the same sentence.

      • Yes, but humans are also social creatures.

        But how social one must be depends on the kind of person they are. Some people are perfectly happy interacting with others mostly over the Internet (if they even do that that often), for instance.

        Not everyone is an extrovert, and not everyone who isn't an extrovert is depressed, violent, or whatever other nonsense some people may think.

        In that case, it probably is the main influence on your behavior.

        It doesn't seem to have much of an effect.

      • That's funny, people say that "surely these violent behaviors you watch MUST have a negative effect" yet every study finds no evidence for the claim. And now the corresponding viewing of "good | prosocial" behaviors ALSO shows no effect. Maybe we all are actually able to differentiate between inputs and choose to or not to model them.

        Or to put it another way, "I do not think that behavior does what you think it does ..."
  • If violent games don't impact behaviour, then the military can save millions on all of those desensitizing programs (games) that they use. Of course their research probably differs from this study as they, the military aren't trying to show that violent games don't impact "pro" social behaviour. Wouldn't the proper study have been that violent video games impact anti-social behaviour? But then, maybe I missed the frames in GTA where you have to pick up pens from the ground?

    • Does the military actually use videogames for desensitization? I can't find anything about that. From what I can tell their desensitization approach is much more about meatspace practice to make certain actions feel rote and normal.

      The only mention I can find of the military seriously using videogames is more along the lines of educational games, e.g. simulation games to train Arabic learners how to interact in social situations [army.mil].

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I can tell you from experience that the Marine Corpse has video game like simulators but they are not used for desensitzing. It's just a different form of training for the actual stuff mostly to practice firing weapons but they were very basic and had a lot of bugs, mostly they are just there to save money on actually firing off rounds it's much cheaper to build a virtual range and have people train on that then it is to supply every man with a rifle and a couple hundred rounds for training purposes but sin

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Yes, the military uses video games, they just don't call them that. They are various types of electronic tactical simulations. They aren't alone. The airline industry spends a lot of money on simulation training for pilots so they react instinctively when trouble occurs in flight. We accept it as something good, you know, practice makes perfect, but in effect, it is a type of neural programming to elicit a specific type of behaviour.

        The process, in and off itself, is neither good nor bad, it would depend on

      • by alen (225700) on Friday July 05, 2013 @12:13PM (#44195419)

        there is some, but mostly kids at 18 are still dumb

        i went to basic training in 1992 and lots of people thought learning how to shoot and kill people was cool, me included. same with lots of infantry guys i knew. most of them were normal family people except when they got orders to go to war. then they went to shoot people because the orders said to. they came back to their wives and kids afterwards.

        i knew a few people who fought in Panama and Kuwait in 1990, killed people and were normal people afterwards. and they would do it again. the screwed up ones are mostly the ones who came very close to death themselves in a firefight or had to kill someone at very close quarters where it was personal

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Does the military actually use videogames for desensitization?

        I think the military have been quite good at desensitising recruits for years before videogames.

        What they use games for is to teach fighting as a team. The plus side is improving hand-eye co-ordination and situational awareness.

        Cant provide a reference, but in the 80's a British tank platoon had one tank that was consistently outperforming all the other tanks. The CO was unable to find a reason for this, the tank crewmen were pretty similar to the rest, had received the same training, didn't have a pa

    • by Bumbles (2573453)

      The problem with a proper study upon violent video games and its impact on anti-social behavior is that you have to also expand it to gaming in general. The researcher would have to find a statistically significant number of gamers of violent games and a second set of gamers that only plays non-violent games and has little to no exposure to so called violent games. An additional problem would be showing that any conclusion was truly due to gaming rather than that the people attracted to violent games (or

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        The problem with a proper study upon violent video games and its impact on anti-social behavior is that you have to also expand it to gaming in general. The researcher would have to find a statistically significant number of gamers of violent games and a second set of gamers that only plays non-violent games and has little to no exposure to so called violent games. An additional problem would be showing that any conclusion was truly due to gaming rather than that the people attracted to violent games (or games in general) are not predisposed to being anti-social.

        That is true. That is why, very often, such studies look at something a little easier to quantify, like porn. There is no question that porn impacts behaviour and it is much easier to isolate porn watchers from non-porn watchers than violent video gamers from non (and other violent exposure such as TV and movies).

        What has been learned from the porn research is that exposure to such stimulus does impact future behaviour. It does not show that porn watchers are going to be tomorrows rapists, just that their b

        • From my review: http://www.pdfernhout.net/the-war-play-dilemma.html [pdfernhout.net]
          ---
          A few key ideas from the book:

          The deregulation of children's media during the early 1980s (Reagan administration) led to an alliance of media companies and toy companies and other companies (like food companies); the result of this is an immersion for many children in an interlinked experience of seeing media about violence, purchasing related action figures and toys and video games, and having these items promoted every place they go (wh

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Friday July 05, 2013 @12:11PM (#44195391)

      If violent games don't impact behaviour, then the military can save millions on all of those desensitizing programs (games) that they use. Of course their research probably differs from this study as they, the military aren't trying to show that violent games don't impact "pro" social behaviour. Wouldn't the proper study have been that violent video games impact anti-social behaviour? But then, maybe I missed the frames in GTA where you have to pick up pens from the ground?

      That's the problem with violence in videogame studies. There's so many subtle differences between each that none really answer the question. And many are NOT mutually exclusive, either.

      This study simply says if you have a well adjusted person, letting them onto video games will not affect friendships and other positive social behaviors.

      The military studies say that exposing soldiers to violence desensitizes people to the violence so when they're exposed to it in real life they won't flinch and run away. Or when they've trained their sights on the enemy, they won't hesitate to shoot.

      In fact, the two are completely compatible with each other - you can have healthy relationships with people and still be able to pick up and gun and shoot an enemy.

      And then there are studies to see if violent video games promote antisocial behavior, another orthogonal question.

      One says there's no impact to existing social relationships, the other says it helps desensitize people to the violence (so they don't react as strongly), and the third asks if promotes the use of violence.

      Very different questions. No wonder the research is all over the map. And when you mean to measure one, you may be inadvertently measuring something else.

      • by devent (1627873)

        Of course real violence desensitizes people. No question in that.

        But we are talking about virtual violence. That is completely different.
        Virtual violence, like video games, do not desensitizes people to real violence. Because that one is virtual and the other is real.

        A horror movie will not desensitize you. A plane crash movie will not traumatize you.

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          Of course real violence desensitizes people. No question in that.

          But we are talking about virtual violence. That is completely different.
          Virtual violence, like video games, do not desensitizes people to real violence. Because that one is virtual and the other is real.

          A horror movie will not desensitize you. A plane crash movie will not traumatize you.

          And yet the videos of the planes crashing into the World Trade Towers on 9/11 that were played over and over again, did indeed traumatize many. So evidently, some plane crash movies do traumatize people.

          • by devent (1627873)

            Interesting, and also proves my point.
            9/11 is very real, it's not a movie. So of course people can be traumatized by it.
            The same is if you show real violence to people, even in movie form. Like a CCTV clip, or a police video.

            I don't know why it's so difficult to understand. Virtual, fake, violence is not real.
            People can watch and even enjoy virtual violence because they know that it's not real. Case in point, every action, horror, splatter, thriller, etc. movie.
            But if it's real, then people know it's real a

            • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

              Interesting, and also proves my point.
              9/11 is very real, it's not a movie. So of course people can be traumatized by it.
              The same is if you show real violence to people, even in movie form. Like a CCTV clip, or a police video.

              I don't know why it's so difficult to understand. Virtual, fake, violence is not real.
              People can watch and even enjoy virtual violence because they know that it's not real. Case in point, every action, horror, splatter, thriller, etc. movie.
              But if it's real, then people know it's real and are affected completely different.

              But you also need to know about "we vs. them" psychology, People also react and affected differently depending what group is done violence against. If the group is a "we" group, then we are affected. If the group is a "them" group people are not affected. That explains genocide, enjoyment of gladiator fights and so on.

              The discussion is not about whether or not people enjoy watching violence. It is obvious that they do. The discussion is about whether or not the excessive observation of violent acts alters one's behaviour.

              • by devent (1627873)

                Then you need to define "excessive" which is a subjective term.

                • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

                  Then you need to define "excessive" which is a subjective term.

                  No, I don't, actually, but if I were doing a research project to study the subject, then I would.

          • Of course real violence desensitizes people. No question in that.

            But we are talking about virtual violence. That is completely different.
            Virtual violence, like video games, do not desensitizes people to real violence. Because that one is virtual and the other is real.

            A horror movie will not desensitize you. A plane crash movie will not traumatize you.

            And yet the videos of the planes crashing into the World Trade Towers on 9/11 that were played over and over again, did indeed traumatize many. So evidently, some plane crash movies do traumatize people.

            I fail to see how the planes crashing into the World Trade Towers is virtual violence.

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      I don't believe that a game would be sufficient to desensitize soldiers significantly.

      On one hand, you have the infantryman, who will likely be buffeted by concussion, assaulted by the smell of burning things (including people), and forced to deal with inclement weather conditions outside or claustrophobic urban warfare situations. He might also end up facing down innocent people who, if he shoots them, he's just killed simply because he was scared or startled. He will have to lug around a pack, probably

  • I haven't been playing as many violent video games lately and have moved to playing causal things like tower defense. Mainly for time constraint reasons, not that I was worried about violence. I have noticed no changes to my behavior since switching from violent games to tower defense types games what so ever. I wasn't violent before when I played FPS and others or become more passive because I stopped. As a matter of fact....

    Sorry, can't comment more. I have to go. My co-workers have been trying to g

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Are you really saying that the mass slaughtering persistent oncoming hordes is not violent? I'd say it has at the very least desensitized you to what is violent.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        I won't say it's not, because it is - but there is a difference between violence acted in offense vs defense.

        Is the latter really so bad?

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      The military would seem to disagree with you. They use video games to desensitize soldiers. Just like flight simulators are used to train pilots so they can react when problem occur, there is a lot of science on exactly how video simulations (games) impact people's behaviour). The US government, military and majore industries spend lots of money on video simulations for training, they must be doing it for a reason.

  • A politically motivated study that did not come up with a positive result.


  • Humans did unspeakable, terrible things to each other...they had no video games, where did they draw on for inspiration?

    How can we isolate thousands of years of savagery and blame it on video games? -As in how can we genuinely study this with meaningful results?

    Most studies end up concluding what researchers want them to conclude. If they don't, it just makes them look bad so they don't publish.

    Short story; historically we are only becoming more social and more peaceful. I suppose the only differences
  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

    Why would one expect a study to of violent video games and shows to impact pro-social behaviour? Shouldn't the study be looking at the impact on anti-social behaviour or violent behaviour? I would posit that porn doesn't impact pro-social behaviour, either. On the other hand, it most definitely impacts sexual behaviour.

    So, based on the Australian study, people that play GTA are just as likely to pick up a pen that fell to the ground for somebody than somebody who didn't play GTA. What exactly does that prov

    • The theory is that pro-social behaviours disappear first before anti-social behaviours appears. Like picking up pens leading to not doing anything to help then leading to actively knocking the pens out of the hand. You see this in real-life violent environments, citizens not getting involved when there is a fight going down, then later drifting into gangs or militias. Very very few people do an overnight switch from helping prevent violence to taking part in it. There is an apathetic phase in the middle.

      A

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday July 05, 2013 @11:55AM (#44195221)

    Like anything else, a large majority of people can easily shift from fantasy to reality and maintain a reasonable and healthy social morale. If you take a sample size from a pool of kids who have been bullied and constantly picked-on you're going to find a propensity to act out whether it be video games, TV or learned behavior from their environment.

    The constant "Does too!" and "Does Not!" debates from both sides of the gaming==evil_people debate are pointless because both arguments have some truth to them yet aren't directed at fixing the actual underlying problem. All this debate does is perpetuate the rising cost of games, or end up in stupid regulation which falls short of fixing anything.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      If you take a sample size from a pool of kids who have been bullied and constantly picked-on you're going to find a propensity to act out whether it be video games, TV or learned behavior from their environment.

      The constant "Does too!" and "Does Not!" debates from both sides of the gaming==evil_people debate are pointless because both arguments have some truth to them yet aren't directed at fixing the actual underlying problem.

      It would seem like your argument lends itself pretty strongly towards "Does Not!", whether you intended it or not, because it boils down to "kids act out for reasons that have nothing to do with video games specifically".

      I personally lean towards the "Does Not!" position, primarily because those claiming "Does Too" have yet to produce a shred of actual evidence.

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      As others point out, NORMAL people readily distinguish fantasy from reality, including violent games and movies. A small abnormal minority may not.

      Occurs to me that those calling for bans on a basis of "people become unable to distinguish game from reality" may themselves fall into that abnormal minority.

  • It seems like passive-aggressive personalities and those that are so unused to human interaction, that they are cowed by any interaction, beyond their comfort zone predominate. Maybe the introduction of some aggressive traits to counterbalance that is in order.
  • by Shandalar (1152907) on Friday July 05, 2013 @01:02PM (#44195907)
    I think I died 500 times in Portal.
  • Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty

    Maybe, these two should not have been in the same category? Only one of them is anti-social and encourages the player to break laws and norms. In the other the player's "duty" is to defeat his country's enemies... Remember [orwell.ru]: "Those who ‘abjure’ violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf."

    If the study really treated the two games the same (RTFA? What RTFA?) — based purely on the "violence", the negative effects of one ga

  • This would be akin to saying that watching slapstick comedy encourages violence ~50 years or so ago (did that happen? I wouldn't be surprised). Or saying that reading novels with violence in them will do the same any number of years, decades, or centuries ago. The only way to put this is that this is just fearmongering. Saying video games make people fat and lazy? At least that's somewhat acceptable, by virtue of what a video game is and how they are designed these days to suck up as much time as possible,
  • I realize this is a less sexy/exciting comment than all the speculation on substantive merits... But the studies lack statistical power [wikipedia.org]. N=64 in the first 2 experiments and N=32 in the 3rd. Those samples are much too small to have even a reasonable chance of detecting the effects that are common in behavioral science, even effects that are considered very consequential. (The authors offer a weak and IMHO unconvincing defense of their sample sizes in the discussion.) Absence of evidence is not evidence of a
    • by Turbio (1814644)

      I completely agree. Actually, I made a very similar post (post no. 6 "misleading statistics", score:0) but got buried and nobody modded it up. This and the quality of the comments shows how ./ has changed over the years.
      Back to the study, the number of people who behaved socially per group were less than 5 in most cases, so doing any form of test of fit is just plainly wrong. And I blame Plos ONE for publishing it, as their criteria for acceptance is "Experiments must have been conducted rigorously, with ap

  • make anyone else think of Pesci in Casino? [youtube.com] Warning: violent as hell.
  • *Fail* to *diminish* *prosocial* (presumably the opposite of anti-social)... flip the negative, carry the two... and we get what we knew all along.

    Look, I understand that scientists have to speak very precisely about their results so as to not overstate them. But surely there was a better way to write this headline.

    • by Turbio (1814644)

      Sure: "New study fails to show anything due to low statistical power and is published anyway"

      • by jfengel (409917)

        They could substitute that headline for about 80% of the reports about "studies" without loss.

  • From TFA:

    Conclusions

    We failed to find evidence that playing video games affects prosocial behavior. Research on the effects of video game play is of significant public interest. It is therefore important that speculation be rigorously tested and findings replicated. Here we fail to substantiate conjecture that playing contemporary violent video games will lead to diminished prosocial behavior.

  • by Alsee (515537)

    "New Study Fails To Show That Violent Video Games Diminish Prosocial Behavior"

    Gee... the study failed?

    In related news, New Study Fails To Show That Moon Is Made Of Green Cheese.

    Researchers plan to conduct further studies in the hope that sooner or later one of then won't Fail.

    -

    • Scientific experiments, as those conducted in these studies, test for a "null hypothesis." In other words, they come up with a hypothesis (in this case, saying that video games do not diminish prosocial behaviour) and then seek to prove the opposite. In this way they are considering the possibility that video games actually do diminish that behaviour, and test for it. They were unable to prove that video games diminish prosocial behaviour - they failed to prove their null hypothesis, leaving their primary
      • by Alsee (515537)

        True, but it's a really lousy way to write a news headline. "Study finds no reduction in prosocial behavior from playing violent videogames" would be a far less contorted headline. Heck, standard headline style would be to go with something more generalized and vastly clearer: "Study finds no harm from violent videogames".

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  • More valuable to know if real life violence behavior can help us sell video games. $$$$$!

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