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Games

Long-term Study Finds No Link Between Video Game Violence and Real Violence 250

SternisheFan sends news that a study has been completed on the long-term effects of violence in movies and video games on violence in real life. A researcher at Stetson University found no link between the consumption of violent media and an increase in societal violence. The study was published in the Journal of Communication. From the article: "Entertainment Software Ratings Board ratings were used to estimate the violent content of the most popular video games for the years 1996-2011. These estimates of societal video game violence consumption were correlated against federal data on youth violence rates during the same years. Violent video game consumption was strongly correlated with declines in youth violence. However, it was concluded that such a correlation is most likely due to chance and does not indicate video games caused the decline in youth violence. ... Previous studies have focused on laboratory experiments and aggression as a response to movie and videogame violence, but this does not match well with real-life exposure.
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Long-term Study Finds No Link Between Video Game Violence and Real Violence

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  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 08, 2014 @06:54PM (#48342563)

    What?

    So what you're saying is that humans can tell the difference between reality and video games??

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Saturday November 08, 2014 @07:39PM (#48342801)
      most of them.

      Glaring exceptions for the ones in politics, the media, teaching in high schools, serving on PTAs, and participating in some forms of religeon.
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Now, if they were just trying to do this idea to TV, it would be sure to be squashed immediately. A pity.

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      If you read the article you will find that the conclusions are presented with so much 'hand waving' that basically the real conclusion of the article is: we don't know wether there is a correlation between violent games and movies and real violence.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's OK. The null hypothesis is always that a correlation does not exist. Hand waving while supporting the null hypothesis is perfectly acceptable. If the evidence does not clearly support correlation, then the assumption must be that no correlation exists, much less causation.

        • by jdagius ( 589920 )
          > ... assumption must be that no correlation exists.

          No, that's not how statistical tests of significance are interpreted. Failure to reject the null hypothesis does not prove the null hypothesis is true.
          http://www.statisticalmisconce... [statistica...ptions.com]
          For example, consider the null hypothesis is "all guns shoot bullets". Then if my test sample happens to contain only bullet-shooting guns, then I cannot reject the hypothesis. But it doesn't prove it either, because my sample may have overlooked legitimate counter
          • by cob666 ( 656740 )

            I would suggest comparing violence today with 50 years ago.

            This would be valid if the only change over the last 50 years was the introduction of violent video games

          • by tsa ( 15680 )

            I agree. Hollywood has learned us that violence solves every problem. Even children's cartoons are full of angry characters and violence these days. I wouldn't let my kids watch Cars II, for instance, and there are more 'children's cartoons' like that. I can't believe all the violence kids see during their lives doesn't have any influence on them, especially if they watch it without their parents around to help them make sense of what they see.

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      Until such a time as the NEXT "study" comes out and shows that video-games bring out violent behaviors.

      Study; people place far too much emphasis on this elusive beast. Tack on the word; scientific and you have a tool to move the masses toward a political view.
      Put it in a college dept. and you can keep your students busy and out of your hair, giving something to grade their performance by, while promoting your political views and affecting public opinion. (In spite of the fact that much relevant criteria was

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Saturday November 08, 2014 @06:54PM (#48342565)

    Another long-term study found a link between empty wallets and gaming PC upgrades.

    • "Another long-term study found a link between empty wallets and DLC upgrades." FTFY
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

      Another long-term study found a link between empty wallets and gaming PC upgrades.

      Ain't that the truth. I just got done doing a little shopping hoping to get my PC up to spec for the games coming out this month and next.

      I'll hate to have to tell my daughter, "No college for you", but that Geforce GTX 980 looks sweet.

      • Another long-term study found a link between empty wallets and gaming PC upgrades.

        Ain't that the truth. I just got done doing a little shopping hoping to get my PC up to spec for the games coming out this month and next.

        I'll hate to have to tell my daughter, "No college for you", but that Geforce GTX 980 looks sweet.

        Get the GTX 970 instead and invest the difference. Your daughter and wallet will thank you. It will also reduce the violence in your household when your wife finds out... (grin)

      • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

        I always find it interesting that so many people rage about top end models and having them, when steam hardware survey consistently shows that overwhelming majority of people using discreet nvidia graphics are using x50, x60 and x60Ti models, followed by x70 and x80 being a vanishingly small minority. At the same time overwhelming amount of reviews show that x60 and x60Ti models are typically the sweet spot of "performance per money spent", with x60Ti and x70 models being typically sweet spot for "sufficien

  • During the period of the study, ALL violence was in decline, public perception to the contrary (thanks to our overhyped news cycle that treats news as infotainment).

    So, GIGO strikes again.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      As violence in video-games was in ascend, you fail.

      • Try again. If ALL violence is dropping (despite increases in violence on TV and video games) then the question is, is this due to other factors, such as an aging population, "good enough" alternatives to violence, changes in reporting methods, etc. But because the actual comparison was to murder rates, not all violence, maybe it's due to increased gun control in several jurisdictions.

        The study is garbage, hence GIGO.

    • by Whibla ( 210729 )

      I admit I didn't bother to read this article on the subject, but my first thought on reading the summary was this:

      Violent video game consumption was strongly correlated with declines in youth violence. However, it was concluded that such a correlation is most likely due to chance and does not indicate video games caused the decline in youth violence...

      So what the article is saying is that when young (presumably mostly male) people started to spend large amounts of their time pretty much alone in their homes, participating in essentially solo activities, as opposed to hanging around with their 'gang' mates outside in public places, the amount of violence they committed against others decreased...

      Well, colour me shocked!

      Now, personally, I stron

      • The study is absolute crap. They drew a comparison between murder rates and ratings on games. Well, guess what? Kids don't commit the majority of murders to begin with, and schools have become a bit better at kids bringing guns and knives into the school and at doing lockdowns.

        They should have looked at the types of violence that are more typical of kids, and compared that the to overall population's violence rates.

        Now, as to whether it desensitizes kids or not - I don't know. Kids have had easy access

  • and violent acts either. It really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the rise in violence had a very well explained physical cause

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/al... [forbes.com]

    What kills me, is that more hasn't been done to stop these legal/political shakedowns of particular industries. The formula should be known to everyone by now,
    1. Find Deep Pocket
    2. Blame problem on their activities
    3. Agitate in the media until they make token gestures (Wow all cartons have to have morals) and pay off the people shaking t

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Television does not affect behavior. Unless its the network selling advertising time.

    • the problem is that we don't have any real populist political canidates. What we have is a guild of trial lawyers that create laws to generate lawsuits, and make money in lawsuits instead.

      And of course shakedown of industries for token gestures, that include cash bribes to further lobbying efforts.

      The problem we have in America isn't that we have socialist politicians, the problem is the socialist politicians have been replaced with jackass "cronyists" who are simply more capitalists, who really don't give
  • Violence as a whole is drastically down the last two decades as a whole - so a meaningless correlation if there is one.
    • which correlates neatly with the widespread introduction of violent videogames. 2014 is now, 1994(20 years ago), is the introduction of "DOOM".
  • by davecrusoe ( 861547 ) on Saturday November 08, 2014 @07:01PM (#48342585) Homepage
    This author (http://www.stetson.edu/other/faculty/profiles/christopher-ferguson.php) clearly has experience in clinical psychology. However, he's been talking extensively about videogame violence for a year only; first publications and *very frequent* publications in both peer and non-peer-reviewed (majority) journals. He's stepped quite significantly into the gun+violence debate in the US, too: "Viewpoint: Stop Tearing Ourselves Up About Mass Killings" - http://ideas.time.com/2013/09/... [time.com] . In short, be sure to read authors with a much longer history on the subject before taking this at face value. But wait -- isn't that the common /. story? -dC
  • Nerds declare it's long been obvious. Details at 11.

  • And advertising has no effect on consumer buying habits. Political campaigning has no effect on the vote...

  • My strong support of free speech makes me wish that were true. However, I've seen that kids who grow up watching violence and vulgarity tend to be inclined to violence and vulgarity, while people like my wife who grew up on G-rated material tend to act in G-rated ways, and be uncomfortable around that which they haven't been exposed to.

    When we were dating, my foul language was a major turnoff to my wife, who had grown up around more polite language and thus didn't cuss herself. I had to clean up my lan

    • As a counter example, a woman once told me that she thought my foul mouth was awesome.

      "Awww, fuck off, you asshole."

      Blew her clothes right off her body. She was super smart and had the body of a 22-year-old stripper.

    • foul launguage is a problem for society. I mean serious. These kids will grow up and not be offended by foul language, and won't teach their kids to be offended by it either.

      So essentially the 'potty mouth' is a self-created problem.

      As for your anecdotal evidence, it seems to contradict studies and everyone elses anecdotal evidence, indicating a perception bias on your part. Do you have anyway to defend your comments besides "HURRR LIEBRALS", and "DAMN COMMIES", and tired cliches and baseless rhetoric?
      • Sure you can find studies either way. Most studies show that what we see and hear affects what we do, but sure you can find some that look at a completely spurious correlation and claim otherwise. Check out "Internet Explorer vs murder". It's hilarious, and very similar to this study - comparing trends over time rather than comparing groups who have/do one thing with groups who don't.

        Rather than using spurious correlations with literally thousands of other factors in play, a study can do the obvious- c

        • When you compare kids who see a lot of crap vs those who don't, shockingly the kids who see crap tend to do crap.

          Where is your rigorous scientific study that isn't based off of subjective soft science, and where is the scientific consensus?

        • by aevan ( 903814 )
          Been to a dozen countries, and I'll agree that outlook and behaviour is different. Amusingly,most had common shows. More amusing, the one with the MOST violent shows at the time (Japan) was the least violent socially. Culture impacts children heavily, and while entertainment is part of culture, it's not the entirety of culture, and being cognizent that entertainment is simply entertainment, diminishes that impact.
      • foul launguage is a problem for society. I mean serious. These kids will grow up and not be offended by foul language, and won't teach their kids to be offended by it either.

        Yes, I agree, some words are inherently bad because some people arbitrarily decided that it is so. It's not like it's a subjective matter or anything. Like how the word "doctor" is a bad word and shouldn't be used on formal occasions. Everyone with Common Sense knows that.

      • These kids will grow up and not be offended by foul language, and won't teach their kids to be offended by it either.

        So if... nobody is offended by it then how, exactly, does that make it a problem?

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      You however forget the obvious counterpoint. People use these mediums to vent their natural violent tendencies, leaving them with less active natural violent tendencies in real life.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        You however forget the obvious counterpoint. People use these mediums to vent their natural violent tendencies, leaving them with less active natural violent tendencies in real life.

        The study's researchers dismissed the inverse correlation they found, saying that they didn't believe violent video games could decrease violence, but their data did actually suggest it... which is pretty much what most folks on this board have been saying for years.

        • Check out the graph of IE market share versus murder rate.

          This is precisely the same thing. They picked two things that changed over the last 20 years and reported them as if this would test a cause and effect relationship. If you chart Obama's age vs atmospheric CO2 levels, you'll see that the older Obama gets, the higher CO2 there are. To save the planet, we must kill Obama now before he gets any older, thereby increasing CO2.

          Over the last 30 years, speed limits on highways have increased. Also, the

          • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            Without looking at the data, I'm speculating a lot with that suggestion, but I don't think you should dismiss the possibility of inverse causation out of hand.

            There's a huge difference between two completely unrelated things being correlated and two different expressions of the same basic psychological urges being correlated. Internet explorer use and CO2 levels are only very distantly related in that both represent signs of a strong economy in a technological society. So odds are good that such a correla

    • No one cares about your personal experiences, and they won't disprove a rule.

      My strong support of free speech makes me wish that were true.

      What does free speech have to do with this? Let's say that video games did cause violence for some people. Okay, so what? Freedom is more important than safety, so that still wouldn't be a reason to limit free speech unless you're an authoritarian asshole.

  • So he is saying that that study used such insignificant populations that significant correlations are likely due to chance? How is any of the results supposed to be worth anything if what the researcher says is true?
    I am inclined to believe that they are simply wrong and it is not due to chance. From what I remember, previous studies have found that on a societal level violence goes down.
  • That's the first question I always ask.

    If it's funded by a special interest group then don't even bother to look at it. Whoever pays the bills gets the result they want. This is true for academia as much as anyone else.

  • Neither do cartoons. When I was young, two of my favorite cartoons had a whole bunch of people dying (Grendizer and Harlock's french versions), My first FPS was DooM, I played Quake2 and Unreal/UT for countless nights, and still have a thing for a nice deathmatch from time to time.

    It doesn't mean I'll go on a rampage and kill people with a chainsaw. People who have problems making the difference between reality and fantasy could also snap by reading a book or any other trigger.

    • by krkhan ( 1071096 )

      People who have problems making the difference between reality and fantasy could also snap by reading a book or any other trigger.

      Exactly. Imagine the outrage if Mark David Chapman [wikipedia.org] was caught with a PS Vita playing Killzone instead of The Catcher in the Rye.

  • No link? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Saturday November 08, 2014 @07:57PM (#48342875) Journal

    I would actually have expected a reverse link -- violent video games having a cathartic effect.

    • Re:No link? (Score:5, Informative)

      by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Saturday November 08, 2014 @07:58PM (#48342881) Journal

      I would actually have expected a reverse link -- violent video games having a cathartic effect.

      Oh wait, according to TFA, there is a reverse link.

    • Humans tend to blame things they do not like as the source of a problem. Whether or not it makes any sense at all.

      Video games probably have reduced crime substantially, the opposite would be the bored kids of the 1950s having no entertainment options.
    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Catharsis doesn't exist. It's a pop psychology concept from Aristotle and Freud that's discredited in scientific psychology. At least that's my reading on it.

      • It kinda exists, but its effect is the opposite of what many believe it to be. Venting in any particular way might be temporarily refreshing, but the next time that stress builds up, the subject is going to want to vent that way again, and in turn action becomes habit. Sometimes, as with any sort of stimulation, a person is going to want bigger fixes each time it comes around.

  • by GravityStar ( 1209738 ) on Saturday November 08, 2014 @07:59PM (#48342883)

    Take that, Jack Thompson!

  • Who else can see the glaring error in this "scholarly paper" published in The Journal of Communication?

    I mean, it would be shocking if it wasn't so common in studies of culture and violence.

  • But but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday November 08, 2014 @08:52PM (#48343101) Journal

    but Anita Sarkeesian swears it does!

    Oh, wait, no, that's sexism, not violence. I'm sure it's completely different.

    • by aevan ( 903814 )
      Her patron McIntosh is on twitter stating Violent Games begets Violent Gamers.
    • Re:But but (Score:4, Interesting)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Sunday November 09, 2014 @01:23PM (#48345737) Homepage Journal

      I don't agree sexism in games causes sexism either, but I don't think you can link it to a "violence in video games" study.

      Sexism is about attitudes and how people are viewed. Violence? Only partially. And arguably a case can be made that violence in video games could decrease violence in real life because it provides an outlet for aggression. As in "My boss was an ass to me today, I'm going to take it out on some virtual cops rather than deal with my anger issues the traditional way".

      Whereas it's hard to make that argument work with sexism. "Oh, I asploded a stripper on the way to rescuing a 2D princess who will be my property when I get her, now in real life I'm going to treat men and women the same at the office and stop sexually harassing passers by because I got my fix from Grand Hitman Mario." Yeah. Doesn't really work, does it.

      I think minds are a little more complex than those who look for causal links between sexism in media and sexism in real life claim, but I wouldn't think for a moment a study in violence in media is somehow relevant to the issue of attitudes towards roles seen in media.

  • I wonder if there is a difference between (playing FPS) and (playing FPS and having access to a gun IRL) when it comes to IRL violence.
    • Re:Guns (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Saturday November 08, 2014 @09:48PM (#48343319) Homepage Journal

      Probably negative in both cases.

      From what I've seen, violent types will seek violence, gun or no gun. There may be something to the idea that allowing them to play out violent fantasies on a computer is catharic enough to reduce real world violence(and who cares how many digital mooks that have to 'die' in the process).

      What guns tend to do is increase the consequences of the violence. Complicating matters is how do you differentiate people who have guns as recreation -hunting, target shooting, and such, and those that have them as a criminal trade tool?

      • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

        . There may be something to the idea that allowing them to play out violent fantasies on a computer is catharic enough to reduce real world violence?

        Catharsis is a pop psychology concept from Aristotle and Freud that has been discredited in the light of scientific study.

    • by aevan ( 903814 )
      Yes. You have any clue how many weird looks I get at the range when I shoot to the side of me to reload?
  • I'm wondering how Hatred will be commented by games-cause-violence community
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    It is a bit like selling reverse crosses, pentagrams and virgin blood packaged with D&D rulebooks in 80ties would be ;)
    I'm generally quite tolerant game-wise, but I must say that Hatred crosses some line for me. But same is true for some movies (Saw, Human Centipede etc), which seems to be 'ok' for mass distribution, so probably something is wrong with me in this case.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday November 09, 2014 @05:22AM (#48344301)

    Can't wait for this latest attack on games to collapse under its own incompetence.

    • One can dearly hope, considering how far and widely this twisted narrative is infecting others like some digital zombie virus.

  • Rtfa, and what is immediately apparent is the confusion and lack of any concept of controlled testing. From the first 2 sentences of tfa:

    "No link found between movie, video game violence and societal violence
    An increased violent video game consumption correlates with declines in youth violence"

    So, first:
    1) there cannot be "no link" and a negative correlation at the same time. The words mean different things.
    2) there are many points of subjectivity in the studies, from the movies ratings to the game rating

  • This is a classic example of yet another meaningless social sciences paper. What does it actually establish? And what does this mean? What predictions can we reasonably make based on it? Does violence in society really cause violence in videogames? Are people with locus of control issues and aggressive tendencies likely to be attracted to playing violent videogames? What happens if we replicate the study in a culture with low rates of violence?

  • I want to stress right off the bat that I am not in favor of restricting video game content. That said, any time someone comes along and asserts that games, movies, TV, etc (pick and and all) do not influence behavior, I point to the trillion-dollar industry called "advertising". Its stated, precise intent is to influence behavior.
    • Which aspect of advertising? Because 99% of advertising is simply about ensuring people have heard of $BRANDNAME (or don't forget about it.)

      Yes, there's a lot of shaping the message. There's a reason no major advertisers use maggots or cockroaches as their spokesmascots. But then, most games that present violence are:

      1. Not reminding you it exists. Pretty certain you already know about it.
      2. Not sugar coating it. I don't think anyone's ever played a violent video game and said afterwards "Woah! Viole

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