Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Software Games Entertainment Science Technology

New Study Finds No Link Between Violent Video Games and Behavior (dailydot.com) 200

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Daily Dot: Scientists have been investigating the impact of violent video games on behavior for more than two decades, and the results are still being debated. In a 2015 resolution on games, the American Psychological Association reported that multiple studies found a link between violent game exposure and aggressive behavior, though critics at the time questioned the findings. Now, a new study published by researchers at the University of York in the journal Computers in Human Behavior further challenges the connection.

It has long been theorized that exposure to in-game concepts like violence has a "priming" effect on players that ultimately impacts behavior, leading scientists to believe that a player exposed to in-game violence will be more susceptible to displaying such violence in real life. The new study found the exact opposite to be true in some instances. In a series of experiments with a little over 3,000 participants (more than any past study to date), university researchers found that exposure to video game concepts like violence won't necessarily impact behavior. It also found that increasing the realism of violent video games does mean aggressive behavior in gamers will increase.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Study Finds No Link Between Violent Video Games and Behavior

Comments Filter:
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @10:34PM (#55983163)
    When you're sitting on the couch in your underwear playing video games 10 hours a day.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Or naked. ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is not true. Ever since playing Super Mario I've had a strong tendency to hurl fireballs at anyone that crosses my path.

  • I don't think we need any additional proof that social science is mostly junk science. Priming, intersectionality, trigger warnings all brought to you by these clowns.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @11:19PM (#55983337) Homepage Journal

      The fact that the study accepted the null hypothesis argues against this being junk science. The flux in the field, with established concepts like priming being vigorously challenged, is actually good sign.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think we need any additional proof that social science is mostly junk science. Priming, intersectionality, trigger warnings all brought to you by these clowns.

      I used to think that. My degree is in physics and I got a job later in life teaching community college physics. I got interested in the teaching craft and started taking master's level teaching courses and was forced to read these kinds of studies.

      What I learned: The science for learning now humans work is way harder to study in a scientific manner than physics or math. That is, to study correctly. We don't even know how to form the questions well. We didn't even know what all the questions are. Yes, a lot

      • However wrong phlogiston, Aristotelianism, Ptolemaic astronomy, Dalton and so on are, they don't deserve ridicule because they're the foundation of our learning how the world works. It's the same with social sciences.

        It's not about being wrong, it's about being wrong and simultaneously applying that wrongness to change society. They're like monkeys with atomic bombs, poisoning society with psychology the way an a-bomb would with radiation. The ends are little different. Being wrong is great, that's how people learn, being wrong and applying that en mass (or even in their shitty social experiments like MK Ultra) isn't just being wrong, it is wrong.

        • by sinij ( 911942 )

          It's not about being wrong, it's about being wrong and simultaneously applying that wrongness to change society.

          Exactly. We quickly forget that outcomes like day care abuse hysteria [wikipedia.org] are the norm instead of exception.

          Is there good social science? Sure, but on the whole it is junk science [wikipedia.org] that does more harm than good.

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

      Is it? Just because the narrative that violent video games causes violence didn't turn out to fit reality, that doesn't mean that violent video games doesn't affect behavior. Granted, it's not just video games, but violence in media, including video games, may beget violence, but desensitizes people to it. That can affect behavior in ways they aren't looking at, like how one reacts to certain news stories - like how one reacts to stories (either way) violence happening throughout the world, which affects

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But aren't all scientists untrusworthy bastards part of a global conspiracy of evil to suck always more grant money from not-at-all-evil governements ?

    If you don't trust scientists when they tell you that global warming is caused by human activity, or that diversity of life on earth is the product of evolution through natural selection, or that the universe is 15 billion years old and not six thousand, or that vaccines don't cause autism, then why would you trust them when they tell you that there is no lin

    • But aren't all scientists untrusworthy bastards part of a global conspiracy of evil to suck always more grant money from not-at-all-evil governements ?

      No, no, no. Only the scientists that tell us things that we don't want to hear are part of the Evil Global Grant Suckers (EGGS). The scientists who tell us what we want to hear are Champions of Harmonious Instruction Carrying Knowledge and Enlightened News (CHICKEN). It's the eternal battle between the EGGS and the CHICKEN that must be fought so vigorously.

      If you don't trust scientists when they tell you that global warming is caused by human activity, or that diversity of life on earth is the product of evolution through natural selection, or that the universe is 15 billion years old and not six thousand, or that vaccines don't cause autism, then why would you trust them when they tell you that there is no link between violent video games and violent behavior ?

      Well clearly, what you do is listen to find out what each scientist is saying and then choose the scientists who say the things you like the most and

  • Does NOT Mean (Score:4, Informative)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @11:04PM (#55983293)

    It also found that increasing the realism of violent video games does mean aggressive behavior in gamers will increase.

    This error is in the article as well, but reading on makes it clear that this sentence is missing a 'not'. To wit:

    it was expected that those exposed to the more realistic game would choose more violent words. Surprisingly, the researchers found no significant difference between the word choices of players exposed to either game.

  • For years we've been bombarded by press releases that say video games cause violent behaviour, followed by studies that say "nuh uh" So what changed? Did someone actually posit video games cause violent behaviour, then run a study that disproved the hypothesis?

    See also: Comic Books. Nekkid wemmin in magazines. TV. Rock music. Marijuana. Abortion.
  • "Violent video games don't promote violence"

    "Sexist video games promote sexism"

    Pick one.

    • Most people who play video games where you get a gun and kill other people, never dream of killing people in real life at all (most, especially non-Americans, don't have guns and have never handled one).

      That's quite different from sexism, which many of the above people would indulge in while playing said game - look on youtube for videos of female gamers being harrassed in voice chat while playing games.

      • Most people who play video games where you get a gun and kill other people, never dream of killing people in real life at all (most, especially non-Americans, don't have guns and have never handled one).

        When they kick at your front door
        How you gonna come?
        With your hands on your head
        Or on the trigger of your gun?

        I guess that question is answered for non-Americans, then.

        I grew up watching "The Three Stooges" with other school kids. We didn't go into the schoolyard and gouge eyeballs out, tear out hair or put heads in vices.

        Now we see the violence inherent in the system . . .

        Whether a child is violent or not has one overwhelming factor: The parents, or lack thereof.

        Don't blame schools, video games

        • Whether a child is violent or not has one overwhelming factor: The parents, or lack thereof.

          I'm not sure about that, according to actual research [nih.gov], it seems to be that the overwhelming factor is actually the number of different risk factors that a child is exposed to (for example being exposed to 6 different risk factors increases the likelihood of violent behaviour 10 times over exposure to any individual risk factor). Now, poor parenting can contribute several different factors so you're not entirely wrong. However, according to the risk factor chart (4-1) on that page, the largest individual fa

      • I dare say that every male in my country is more proficient on average with a gun than any male US citizen. Unlike them, most of the males in my country did get a through education concerning guns, their safe handling, cleaning (hell yes...) and yes, firing.

        We don't own them, though. We leave them with the military when we quit our service.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      False equivalence.

      It is entirely possible that violent video games do not make people more violent, whereas sexist video games do increase the degree to which one subscribes to sexist ideals.

      This study covers violence. It says nothing on the topic of sexism. So, this study lends evidence to the claim that there is no link between violent video games and violence. We cannot infer from this that there is no line between sexist video games and sexism.

    • In case that was being implied.

      Shooting at blinky dots or a full avatar rendering is nothing more than target practice.

      On the other hand, incitement to hate is always a bad thing and can definitely boil over into real and dreadful actions ... so it depends on how the story is presented rather than the topic itself.

      • If a lifetime of playing video games, including first-person shooters, had ANY VALUE at all as 'target practice,' my IDPA ranking would be WAY higher than it is. Oddly enough, though, pointing a mouse cursor and clicking, or tilting a thumbstick and hitting a button, doesn't really magically translate into completely different sets of physical action.

        I mean, by that logic, you could go play Track & Field and become an amazing athlete.

        • by wed128 ( 722152 )

          I mean, by that logic, you could go play Track & Field and become an amazing athlete.

          Wait...you can't? Shit, i'll never get that scholarship now!

        • by evanh ( 627108 )

          And a good workout to boot! ;) I think you've taken the target practice definition a tad too narrowly.

          Maybe there was something else more substantial to pick on?

          • Nah. I was responding specifically to this:

            Shooting at blinky dots or a full avatar rendering is nothing more than target practice.

            Pointing a cursor at a piece of screen and clicking the button isn't even target practice. The US Army figured this out, what, seventy or eighty years ago, when they stopped teaching combat marksmanship with bullseye targets, and started teaching combat marksmanship with popup silhouettes.

            There's a lot of stuff that goes into teaching a skill, and in stress situations, people

            • by evanh ( 627108 )

              I never said anything about it being practice for physically handling a rifle, or any other weapon for that matter.

              You've taken the target practice definition a tad too narrowly.

  • I find playing an FPS helps burn off some pent up aggression.

    Also playing against other really skilled players gives you a great big reality check as to how far you can get with a gun and willpower alone.

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @11:21PM (#55983343)

    This study has a few problems. For one, the participants were all adults; the argument is usually that violent video games have a harmful effect on children whose minds are still developing, and these experiments don't assess that. Furthermore, several studies found that short-term aggression was increased by playing violent video games, but there was a lack of evidence for any long-term effects. This experiment didn't study long-term effects, either.

    IMO the theories on how violent video games might mentally harm children approach Intelligent Design levels of pseudoscience, pushed by moral guardians who have a knee-jerk "think of the children!" reaction. I've played lots of violent video games, and the ones that most realistically depict violence are pretty disturbing; they make me less likely to want to employ violence, if anything.

    What I'd REALLY like to see is if a VR game where you use motion controllers to punch people makes the players more likely to employ punches in real life afterward (in say some roleplay with a dummy where a punch, kick, or handshake can be employed.) I wonder if muscle memory (pressing a button on a Dualshock is nothing like throwing an actual punch) and feeling that the game isn't real (VR takes this away) are the main things stopping a connection between in-game violence and real-life aggressive tendencies. However, there's a big difference between "I'm curious if" and "I'm certain, therefore it must be made illegal immediately." I also chuckle at the idea that 'ragdoll physics' apparently equals 'realism' now; all those hours playing UT2003 and I never realized how REAL it was.

    • by clovis ( 4684 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @12:27AM (#55983533)

      I did see a study done back in the 1990's sort of like what you're describing.
      They observed some groups of the kids for some time before bringing in games, and the kids were graded on how many times they acted aggressively (toy-stealing, shoving, hitting, etc). Kids are people. Most are decent and some are jerks.

      Then some groups got non-violent video games and some got violent video games.
      In the places that got non-violent games, the individual kids aggression levels remained much the same before and after.
      In the groups that got violent games, what they observed is that the non-aggressive kids remained the same, but the aggressive kids got worse, and some much worse.

      This sort of thing has been born out in other studies in various populations and situations.
      It looks to me like healthy people aren't affected by exposure to violent shows, porn, criminal caper TV shows or whatever. People who aren't mentally healthy get worse. I suspect those people whose lives get devoted to playing Everquest, CoD, Warcraft or whatever, would get "addicted" to something else, perhaps poker playing, perhaps collecting Hummel figurines, if the games did not exist.

      I read many studies on the topic of media-induced behavior changes, and I am very sure that the people who have an agenda know this about the differing reactions of healthy and non-healthy people and design their studies in such a way to take advantage of this phenomenon.

      For example, suppose that the people who did the study I described above chose to not differentiate ( not publish those measurements) between the known violent and non-violent kids, but just published the group's number e.g. "before violent games, the group had 5 assaults per hours, and after there were 10 assaults per hour". If you didn't know that only one kid in the group was doing all the assaults, you would get a different conclusion that if you did know that fact.

      • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @03:35AM (#55984023)

        That's interesting that it was shown that only the kids with violent tendencies tended to be more violent when exposed to violent video games... but also pretty obvious. I've heard it suggested several times on Slashdot before (although that's different from proof, maybe they read the same study.)
        However, politicians will say that there's no way to prevent ONLY the violent kids from accessing these violent materials, and thus they ruin it for everybody and it has to be restricted to adults only. Media that contains violence/aggression is so ubiquitous that even with a ban that somehow wasn't struck down by SCOTUS, again, these kids would essentially have to be kept in quarantine to ensure they don't see/hear it, and the value of doing so is questionable. A more sane idea is to redirect the effort of doing these violent media studies, and figure out a way to treat these violent kids to be, you know, less violent.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      This study has a few problems. For one, the participants were all adults; the argument is usually that violent video games have a harmful effect on children whose minds are still developing, and these experiments don't assess that

      I'm sure it's fairly similar to teenage readers of Playboy objectifying women in adulthood or listening to satanic/immoral/whatever music. We have enough data for that.

  • It seems like a study is done every 7 years saying the same thing since the 80s?
    Before that it was cartoons...

    • My mom still doesn't believe any of the reports...
    • It seems like a study is done every 7 years saying the same thing since the 80s?
      Before that it was cartoons...

      It should go away soon... Gamers are getting older and this kinda crap is getting less and less traction as the non-gaming geriatrics are kicking the bucket.
      Politicians are starting to realise that gamers are a wealthy(ish) demographic, and that it doesn't pay to piss on or off; least they start loosing votes

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This study uses proxies. Finding no link between a proxy an violent video games does not disprove that it affects violent behavior.

    Apples to oranges.
    (Not that I support banning violent videogames, but this headline is junk. typical slashdot trash...)

  • When you play a video game, doesn't need to be a violent one, your brain goes into a state of hyper-arousal. Some games are more intense then others, depends on how long you have been doing it, your age, and if its a new game.
    But right after you finish playing, for example GTA, your driving around with a car and not really obeying street laws.
    Right when you get done, don't go out and drive a real car, take a few minutes to get back to reality.

    • I look at video games as a reinforcement/training tool... you have to be aware of what you're reinforcing/training.

      If you're a stable individual, killing hookers after sex to get your money back in GTA V is reinforcing mindless videogame fun. If you're a violent nutcase, perhaps you're instead reinforcing a fantasy and it's getting you one step closer to acting it out.

      But you know what? If you're in that latter group, it's only a matter of time, and it's your mental health and not the video game that's to

  • The idea that you will go out and be violent because you've seen, and been involved in violence in games is a flawed abstraction of the idea that you repeat what you are exposed to.

    When people are exposed to violence, real or in games, the constant practiced activity between both situations is that it demands of them to observe the situation and then learn to change how they make decisions for a better outcome for themselves. They can either enforce their decisions on the others present, or find a solution

  • Everytime I play Street Fighter I have a strong desire of throw a hadouken in my brother!
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @05:48AM (#55984341)

    OK, if there is no link between violent games and violence. How come we are not allowed to see female nipples on tv? Or cursing?
    Is that different somehow? And if it is not, how come ads are effective?

    People will be influenced by what they pick up. I am sure that violent games will not cause violence, but it might raise the bar a little bit on a much wider scale,

    We think rape in prison is funny. Many believe that police violence is just a way to best solve things.

    So what it might do is change the norm about violence.

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      >> How come we are not allowed to see female nipples on tv? Or cursing?

      I presume you''re American. We Europeans are free to see that stuff on TV.
      To answer your question though, it has nothing to do with bad side effects and everything to do with radical christian puritanism that was the religion of the founders your country and is still mainstream there today.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        I presume you''re American. We Europeans are free to see that stuff on TV.

        I am not. In Europe nudity is allowed after 21:00 when the kids are not watching anymore. Porn still is allowed only when you are older than 18.

        To me it is either people are influenced by what they see, or they are not. And that goes as well for violence as for ads or anything else.

        When I see an ad for Coca Cola, does that mean I immediately run to the store and spend all my money on it? No, it does not. I even do not like it, so I ne

  • Half truths ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @06:26AM (#55984405)

    I remember the first time I watched Smokey and the Bandit at the movies. When I got in my car, I wanted to speed all over the place.

    But I didn't ... because I'm not stupid and know I could crash, kill someone or me, or at least get a ticket.

    I'm sure violent video games can make violent people more likely to be violent.

    That doesn't mean the other 99% (made up statistic) of society should be kept from playing them.

  • ... from essentially all modern media, you got nothin'.
  • by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @11:13AM (#55986173)

    We have had proxy activities for competition, aggression, and violence since the dawn of history. Everything from boxing, rugby, and polo to swimming and track to Go and chess.

    Video games are just a new spin on an ancient habit. We substitute relatively harmless activities as outlets for our less-than-friendly instincts. In this respect, we have reached a new zenith with the variety, ubiquity, and flexibility of computer games. Participation in previous sports or hobbies has never been as safe and widely appealing as video games.

    I'm not surprised there is no link between video games and violent behavior; the games themselves are the outlet for the urges that lead to violence.

  • I, for one, don't act out video game violence unless I know where the respawn area is.

    Going through life without a save game function really sucks.

  • Visualize that and then imagine how it might affect tendencies toward violence. Or archery.

  • I know that I for sure like nothing better than playing some Candy Crush and then going down the local boozer to whup some ass.

  • I did not read the article, but they always seem to miss one observation.

    What if the violent video game is an outlet for the players? Take away the video game and they're more likely to "outlet" on others, rather than less likely to do so.

    I've been a gamer for quite a while. I like jumping on TeamSpeak and running around shooting my friends in the face. That doesn't make me a violent person. That certainly doesn't make me want to go buy a gun and shoot someone in the face. It's much like the difference

Two can Live as Cheaply as One for Half as Long. -- Howard Kandel

Working...