Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Research Credibility In the Video Game Violence Debate

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the fair-and-balanced dept.

Games 154

An anonymous reader writes "Two researchers who have a history of publishing studies that claim violent video games lead to violence have now published a new study claiming that they've come up with an 'objective' way to measure why violent video games lead to violence. They've taken the names of people who signed an amicus brief on the upcoming Supreme Court case on an anti-violent video game law in California, and decided that if you added up the number of publications by each side the ones who supported 'video games lead to violence' had more publications, and thus that was 'proof' that they had more credibility. Yes, quantity is more important than quality. The fact that the researchers who published this 'study' also wrote the amicus brief that supported the same claim seems to call their objectivity into question as well."

cancel ×

154 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

huh? (1)

cranil (1983560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939302)

Sounds like crap...

Re:huh? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939586)

Why? That's how the Climate Change consensus works!

Re:huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35940278)

No it isn't. No Jack Thompson type has ever tried to prevent anyone from publishing a paper that claims that video games are not harmful.

Re:huh? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940174)

I will objective proof that it is indeed crap by adding up the number of adjectives by each side found in this very post.

Crap, crap, good, crap, crap, crap, good, crap.

There you go; objectively proven. "Crap" has far more publications than any other word in this post, therefore it is far more credible.

An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939314)

...proved quite nicely (and objectively) that violent video games incite an ~insensivity~ to violence, rather than promote violence itself. But whatever...

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939354)

...so players of violent games would have no problem stabbing someone else with a big knife a few times because they became insensitive to violence?

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939534)

I saw an essay once by a anthropologist who made the claim that video games and sports do not increase violence. His argument in a nutshell was the humans like all mammals have a very deep seated sense of play vs serious business. even though play often has mock violence aspects is isn't the same thing. Children and teenagers, like dogs, instinctively understand the difference between the two.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939554)

Becoming insensitive to something doesn't automatically imply you lose all morals concerning it. It just means you're not shocked when somebody does get stabbed. You might be less disgusted by the idea of stabbing someone, but you still need the right lack of morals or conscience to actually do it.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939646)

Usually the people most anti- war/violence/hatred/etc are the most insensitive. You need to be exposed to something to learn how deeply and fundamentally you despise it,

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940104)

[citation needed]

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941180)

If you are exposed to something that triggers a traumatic reaction, I suppose you could either lash out at it/avoid it, or accept it as a new part of your worldview. Or both, at the same time.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940808)

...so players of violent games would have no problem stabbing someone else with a big knife

There's very little violence in Portal 2, but after playing it for three hours I'm ready to kill a whole bunch of people.

Of course, I was ready to kill a whole bunch of people before I started playing Portal 2, but my point still stands. If I had a point.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (2)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941820)

After playing Portal2, I'm finding myself having increasingly more violent confrontations with automated turrets throughout my workday. I fear this may lead to workplace violence against them.

Had this been studied prior to Portal2 release, I may have rethought my purchase in order to avoid this type of aggression against turrets.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939360)

Let's write two Slashdot articles, better even three, proving that violent video games _demote_ violence. This would close the argument, at least here on Slashdot.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939686)

Better yet, lets crowdsource bogus studies that prove that. "I looked under my fingernails and there was dirt, this proves that video games don't cause violence." By the metric this guy is using it is not the quality but the quantity. If we get some gamers together we could publish thousands of bogus studies and video games would cease to cause violence, saving many lives. Think of the children.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940284)

Let's write two Slashdot articles, better even three, proving that violent video games _demote_ violence.

Better still: Write the same article, and then publish it three times.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939420)

They might desensitize people to some forms of violence (though I doubt many people would still be able to react normally in the face of such if it happened to them in real life). But what does it matter? That just means that they'd be more calm in said situation, not that they'd begin voluntarily participating in violence. I'd say it's a good thing if people react more calmly.

Also, a lot of people claiming something is true does not make it so. [wikipedia.org] The validity of the studies must be questioned, as well as what the studies really prove, if anything. Many of them merely link violent entertainment to temporary aggressive thoughts, from what I've seen. Those aggressive thoughts likely disappear soon enough, and almost never amount to anything.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941866)

They might desensitize people to some forms of violence (though I doubt many people would still be able to react normally in the face of such if it happened to them in real life). But what does it matter?

It matters because human being have two levels of inhibition against killing. The first is intellectual, the conscious decision somewhere up in the forebrain that "I'm not going to kill anyone." The second is the instinctive inhibition against killing one's one species, deeper in the brain and common with most mammals. Both have to be turned off to make a killer.

Desensitizing people to killing -- a deliberate goal of military training, and a possible outcome of some sorts of violent video games -- does not affect the intellectual, conscious decision to not kill, but it does affect the instinctive one.

If a person's intellectual inhibition then falls because they become extremely agitated to the point of irrationality, or because they are socialized to regard some group of people as not fully human (commonly used in times of war), then they will be capable of killing.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942020)

Desensitizing people to killing -- a deliberate goal of military training, and a possible outcome of some sorts of violent video games -- does not affect the intellectual, conscious decision to not kill, but it does affect the instinctive one.

I see. I lost the "instinctive" one long ago, and I have no plans to ever kill anyone. I'm against violence, in fact.

If a person's intellectual inhibition then falls because they become extremely agitated to the point of irrationality, or because they are socialized to regard some group of people as not fully human (commonly used in times of war), then they will be capable of killing.

And, judging from the amount of people that view/play violent entertainment, this does not appear to happen often (the killing), if at all (if it happens, there's no real evidence for it). So, as far as I see, either it doesn't desensitize very many people, or they just aren't 'insane' enough to kill other people merely because they would be more calm about it.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939588)

Well, I dunno, but I play quite alot of violent games, including realistic FPS and I was still extremely shocked when I hit (and killed T_T) a roe deer with my car one night on a windy country road. I can't even imagine what it would be like with a human...

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35940994)

Trust me, you don't want to know. I was in the military in Desert Storm (the First Gulf War, they call it now) and killed a person in a very personal manner. Close enough that I could see their eyes and hear their breath as it left them.

It has been twenty years and I still have nightmares about that. Very few people know what happened there. It is not something I talk about or relive with any enthusiasm. There is an overwhelming sense of guilt about it, despite the fact that it was literally him or me. Being the instrument of some other person's death carries a price well beyond what most people can pay. I hope you never have to experience it and I pray for all the young men that are paying that price right now.

The most surprising part of this for me has been how I project on to other people my sense of guilt. I see someone looking at me and think they know I killed someone, they know what I'm capable of and they are judging me for it. I KNOW that's not the case, but still, those thoughts come to me even after all this time.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (4, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939790)

So it's like goatse -- you aren't shocked anymore to see a stretched anus on the screen, but you still aren't inclined to stretch your anus in front of other people or cameras?

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939986)

Actually I can prove that video games are completely harmless. It's easy: There are far more Slashdot comments saying that video games are harmless than comments saying they are harmful. And I'm pretty sure that the number of Slashdot comments is larger than the number of studies on this subject, therefore Slashdot comments clearly take priority.

What? Peer reviewed? Yes, we have that on Slashdot, too. It's called moderation.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35940004)

Insensitivity to violence can't be attained without repeated forced witnessing (or committing) violence. Humans have deeply embedded loath to it and only strong emotions, determination, or forced repetition of violent act for real can overcome the accompanying nausea. Career killers (peasants, butchers, hunters, close combat soldiers, snipers, executioners, assassins, gangsters ... ) have to be broken into it, and I am sure they don't like it, at least not when it begins. Computer games I've seen so far luckily don't posses sufficient reality in them, expressions, sounds and smells.

Re:An earlier Slashdot article... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940082)

Computer games I've seen so far luckily don't posses sufficient reality in them, expressions, sounds and smells.

Not to mention the ability to fool the player into believing that the people in them are real. That would be a pretty important factor, too.

I love to fart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939344)

Seriously.

Re:I love to fart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939514)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD4k148YcDU

The Three Stooges (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939352)

As someone growing up watching The Three Stooges back in the 70's, I can't fathom why all the school kids didn't poke each others' eyeballs out, tear each others' hair out, etc, etc, etc.

You can't canny get more violent than that.

I guess our parents told that stuff in films . . . shouldn't be carried out in street fights . . .

Manny, Moe, and Jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939568)

Those guys were hilarious.

Re:The Three Stooges (1)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940166)

There is a very real difference between an observed media type like TV, and a immersive media type like computer games. With one you're only looking at a scene. In the other, you're actually participating, and that's psychologically a completely different ballgame.
I wouldn't go as far as pointing to video games as a direct cause of turning someone in a murderer, but I can imagine, given an already unstable personality, that a video game could tip him (or her for that matter) over the edge while a TV show would not. That would only make it a factor though, of which parental upbringing and guidance and predisposition to violence would be a far greater factor.

Re:The Three Stooges (2)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940514)

There is a very real difference between a temporary media type like movies and an immersive media type like TV...
There is a very real difference between a written media type like novels and an immersive media type like movies...
There is a very real difference between a factual media type like non-fiction and an immersive media type like novels...

There let it be shown that novels, movies, TV and video games are all responsible for plunging our society into the 30 year violence lows that we are currently experiencing. Obviously, without these diabolical media types we'd be at 100 year lows!

With all due seriousness, I'm not convinced it can even be identified as "a factor". After all before video games we used to play mock violent games where we ran around and "killed" each other. Those seem more immersive than sitting in a chair in the dark and shouting obscenities into a microphone while shooting the other team's players over and over again.

I'm pretty sure it was only about 20 years ago that the same argument was being held over TV, and Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Beavis and Butthead. People fear new things. That's why around of the turn of the century, the same charlatans were telling people that novels were ruining the youth of America and turning them into violent sociopaths. All that fiction was dangerously inciting their imaginations. Hell, I think it was in the 1930s that the Sky Is Falling Charlatans were trying to convince people that pinball was inciting the youth to murder.

The theories just never seem to hold up very well.

Re:The Three Stooges (1)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940702)

Yes, there are a lot of different media types, and I could've listed them all in the order I think they scale, but that is out of the scope of the post I'm replying to. The articles is talking about games. PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) [slashdot.org] was talking about a particular TV show. If someone asks you how to boil an egg, would you start by explaining how to take care of fowl?

I never said that media types are responsible for plunging our society into the 30 year violence lows as you so enthusiastically start your post with. I actually commented against that. I do however think games, TV, and even books and newspapers will be a factor in tipping someone who is already on the edge, over, and immersive media moreso.
There are actual phobia treatments [slashdot.org] available that use immersive media to help people get over their fears. Those people know very well that what they see isn't real, and is a product of a computer program displaying spiders or whatever on their desks. Knowing very well that what they see isn't real, they still get the fight or flight phobia response. By desensitizing people this way, they are able to achieve great results. This is actual reprogramming of the brain using immersive media.
If it can be used in this way, do you have any doubt that immersive media, even though knowing very well that the people you kill in a first person shooter are only digital data in RAM, can have an effect on the psyche?
Again, I'm not saying that media is the root cause. I still think factors like predispositions to crime, bad parenting, low income, and lack of social security like sufficient unemployment pay are root causes depending on the person committing the crimes, however I do think that games and other media could play a role in tipping someone over the edge by desensitizing them to violence.

Re:The Three Stooges (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941432)

Before video games, those phobia treatments were performed with movies.

Before movies, they were performed with props, and before that they were done with the imagination alone.

Perhaps it is the therapy, and not the tools?

Re:The Three Stooges (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942152)

In fairness, the tools wouldn't be replaced if the new tools were not better at doing the job. My question would be in the case of a sociopath, do conditions exist that need to be broken down though? Immersive media does wonders for allowing someone to build up tolerances to a situation they find uncomfortable. (ex, soldiers being able to kill other people because it is necessary for their job) but it does not remove it. The need to protect is higher than the need to not kill, but it is still a barrier that has to be overcome, even with desensitization. If this is true, then how can the same thing push someone to do something without the justification unless they a) didn't have anything to be desensitized to or b) had a warped sense of justification that would have gotten there anyway.

I found this bit interesting... (1)

cranil (1983560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939358)

from here [techdirt.com] "The data for the study came from the PsycINFO database, which provides more than 3 million references to the psychological literature from the 1800s to the present, including peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters or essays, and books." Something's wrong, I think. 3 million references is a lot!

Re:I found this bit interesting... (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940010)

from here [techdirt.com]
"The data for the study came from the PsycINFO database, which provides more than 3 million references to the psychological literature from the 1800s to the present, including peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters or essays, and books."

Something's wrong, I think. 3 million references is a lot!

I wonder what the violent video games from the 1800s looked like.

Re:I found this bit interesting... (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940272)

from here [techdirt.com] "The data for the study came from the PsycINFO database, which provides more than 3 million references to the psychological literature from the 1800s to the present, including peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters or essays, and books."

Something's wrong, I think. 3 million references is a lot!

Three million references to what? It doesn't say that the three million references were to anything related to violence, just that there are three million references.

Wikipedia has over 9 million articles. Not sure how any references the average article has, let's guess low, say 20. So that's 180 million references.

So Wikipedia has 180 million plus references that are irrelevant to the issue at hand, a clear winner.

WTF!? (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939364)

/. could get it's members to write a lot of publications about how video games are not responsible for violence. If their logic is true, then they would have to admit defeat and admit they are wrong, but I am sure something "new" would show up allowing them to remain on their moral high horse.

Re:WTF!? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939572)

Of course they wouldn't admit defeat. They're not looking for truth, they're looking for support for their beliefs. Any facts that don't support them will be ignored and declared irrelevant. It's a very bad but surprisingly popular way to do "science".

Re:WTF!? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939998)

It's what happens when science becomes someone's religion. Creationist groups like the ICR work the same way: start with your conclusion and work backwards, rejecting anything that doesn't support the conclusion. More and more scientists with political motives are doing this sort of thing. It's frightening.

Re:WTF!? (1)

Trubadidudei (1404187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940148)

Jesus christ guys, RTFA. The summary is a biased piece of crap.
All that the researchers did was to show that very few of the people who supported the brief that denied that violent video games was a risk factor for agression had done any research on the topic, and that the little research that had been done by the people on that side was not good enough to be published in any major scientific journal. If you wanted to distinguish between two large groups of "experts", and wanted to asess what side actually knew what they were talking about, how would you have done it differently?

Re:WTF!? (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940622)

In short, yes.

  1. Percentage of signatories who published in a journal is meaningless, it means if someone who hasn't published signs a brief the "quality" of the brief decreases.
  2. The researchers who published this chose to examine only one brief on each side. Comprehensive analysis would suggest that all briefs on both sides should receive similar treatment.
  3. The researchers who published this are also signatories of one of the briefs, this means they are participants in the process and can hardly be deemed objective.

The study is of questionable value, and obviously biased. If an impartial group had done a thorough review and found the same results, I'd be a little more inclined to pay attention. However, given the self-promotion aspect and the obvious flaws, it really isn't worth wasting time on.

wheres the study....? (3, Insightful)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939370)

That links violent literature, film, music, and other such media to violent behavior? The earliest "videogames" came about in the late 40's depending on such a definition. Other media, and violent people, have been around much longer. Why do we blame video games now?

Let's assume video games are to blame for all of the anger issues young people exhibit today; why aren't the shop keepers, parents and other such "guardians of merchandise" to blame for essentially enabling the behavior? A 10 year old kid shouldn't be able to walk in and buy the latest blood and gore exhibition from any reputable game store. Don't try to trash the gaming industry. Instead, throw the parents/guardians under the bus. They're responsible for letting the child play the game. They don't monitor the kid's behavior and correct them when they are out of line.

Re:wheres the study....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939538)

Re:wheres the study....? (1)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940254)

"We came home and found our son lying dead on his bed of a gunshot wound.
He had his headphones on and there was an Ozzy record on the turntable, so we called our lawyer." from Triumph of the Swill by the Dead Kennedys

"Bad facts make bad law, and people who write bad laws are in my opinion more dangerous than songwriters who celebrate sexuality. Freedom of speech, freedom of religious thought, and the right to due process for composers, performers and retailers are imperiled if the PMRC and the major labels consummate this nasty bargain. " from Frank Zappa in testimony before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Re:wheres the study....? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939842)

not all people know what violence existed 40 years ago. in fact, many people think that it's a modern invention and those same people think that modern refers to some frozen space time what constitutes what they think of "today". they're idiots of course, but they gotta do something all day long, we all have to - which is why video games are so friggin great, they don't pollute much yet they offer a positive time wasting ratio - a good game wastes a lot more time from a lot more people than what it took to produce that game - not many hobbies can say the same. and for these people that hobby is "helping others" by trying to get them to do nothing instead of playing a game.

of course it's pretty safe to just ignore such people, they'll have hard time telling tomorrow what day it is so they'll have a hard time noticing if anyone cares about what they do, what they've done now has been to built a whole community that is self feeding - so they'll feel like they're doing something while they're not.

Re:wheres the study....? (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940304)

Reminds me of a chat I had with my father about knife crime in the UK. He's an old retired police officer, if that makes any difference.

His final say on the matter was full old man, get-off-my-lawn statement.

  -- We didn't have knife crime in my days... We had knuckle dusters and coshes.

Re:wheres the study....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939864)

Not everybody agrees video game 'violence' has any negative effects. Some have suggested they reduce actual violent behavior. From appearances it would look to me as though actual violence has decreased and I'm damm sure you can back that up with statistics the past 40 years or so as more violent media and games have become available to young audiences. I think reality suggests that people are using it as an excuse for one reason or another. Either they violated, were violated, or are otherwise authoritarians clinging to position of "look at me look at me do what i say not what i do". The violence is coming from those who would prevent video games being sold to minors. They are the ones who are PHYSICALLY acting upon something. Not the children or adults who play violent video games. Any people don't play JUST violent video games. They play video games of all sorts. Some are violent. These studies are leading us in directions which are bogus.

Re:wheres the study....? (1)

Trubadidudei (1404187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940094)

There has been alot of research on the effects of media violence before video games were as big as they are today, and the general conclusion was that media violence was in fact a risk factor for increased agression. The reason you don't hear that much about it is because that debate is pretty much settled, but you can find plenty of the studies you are looking for by simply typing in "media violence" on google scholar.

Re:wheres the study....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35940680)

Don't try to trash the gaming industry. Instead, throw the parents/guardians under the bus. They're responsible for letting the child play the game. They don't monitor the kid's behavior and correct them when they are out of line.

Most definitely! They are to blame for not keeping up with their kids. Back in the late 70s or 80s if we had modern games like these we would not be having this conversation. I grew up with parents that kept tabs on what ever I did and back then it was just expected of the parents to be on top of it. None of this blame the industry to clean themselves up crap.

Re:wheres the study....? (1)

frogjimmy (1253756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942014)

It's a strange parallel.

If...

guns don't kill people, people kill people

then certainly on that logic,

video games don't kill people, people kill people

or

"__________" don't kill people, people kill people.

I admire the convenience of the 'who's responsible' argument. It's worked against my parents for years.

The Solution is Simple... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939394)

Someone else publish more papers than [these two researchers] saying that [video games don't cause violence].

The additional quantity will disprove them.

Wrong Solution... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939944)

Someone else publish more papers than [these two researchers] saying that [video games don't cause violence].

The additional quantity will disprove them.

No, no... There's a much better solution: Bring back the Colosseum. Make a spectacle of violence, nay, revel in it. Let the lions eat the criminals. Let the gladiators slay men and beasts... Who would want to play a silly violent video game when you can see / hear / smell / taste / participate in the real thing?

Face it, we're animals. Some of us have more animosity than others. Ever since the first human fell down and the others laughed we've been entertained by violence. Today, we consume our violent entertainment safely from the comfort of our sofas and desks in the form of movies, books, video games, eBullying... There's no need to trip or pull the chair out from under your friends for laughs (risking minor injuries) when you can virtually murder them in a game, or watch hundreds of unfortunates injure themselves on Youtube (or a Funniest Video show -- yes, that's right: By and large society says, "It's funny when people get mildly injured").

Would the censors rather us return to actually watching real murders for fun? Is liking violence perverse? Not if the majority of people enjoy it in some form or another -- Perverts are outliers, ergo, it's the prude pro censorship dolts that are perverse.

As to the topic of whether or not video games make children more violent -- No. Absolutely not. My nephew spends all his free time playing video-games -- He's living a far less violent life than those I know who grew up without them: Running loose outdoors, torturing of defenseless critters on occasion, and having the odd fist fight for no good reason.

Perhaps I've just led a less sheltered life than some -- I consider myself a good person, but I can tell you from experience: In a pinch, exhibiting violent behavior can be a real life saving trait.

TL;DR: We are animals; Are life forms that kill, such as lions, "violent"? Are snakes? Frogs? Fish? ...mosquitoes? Amoeba? Venus fly traps? Mosses? Even trees rob life giving light from other plants -- Violence is part of life. Deal with it.

Re:Wrong Solution... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940036)

Is liking violence perverse? Not if the majority of people enjoy it in some form or another

The answer to that is subjective. Whether or not a majority of people agree or disagree with something is irrelevant.

Re:Wrong Solution... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940252)

If you define "perverse" as "a deviation from the statistical norm", then quantitative measurements are perfectly objective.
If you define "perverse" as "a deviation from what I say should be the norm", then it is indeed subjective.
"The majority of people" is perfectly valid, depending on which definition you choose. So what definition are you using?

Re:Wrong Solution... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941826)

I suppose if you're going by the first definition, it would make sense. You should clarify that you are, though.

Re:The Solution is Simple... (1)

Trubadidudei (1404187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940032)

You seem to not have read TFA.
The main point in the article, is how almost none of the few published papers by the people signing to "video games don't cause violence" brief were published in respectable psychological journals. So unless you can do proper science that disproves that video games are a risk factor for agression, which incidentally is very hard to find (why is that I wonder), your solution won't get you anywhere.

Re:The Solution is Simple... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940108)

The main point in the article, is how almost none of the few published papers by the people signing to "video games don't cause violence" brief were published in respectable psychological journals.

But did they even look at the actual studies to determine if any of them were valid? What's the point of this? The fact that they aren't published in "respectable psychological journals" does not alone prove them wrong or warrant doubting them without even seeing them.

So unless you can do proper science that disproves that video games are a risk factor for agression

I'm not too worried about aggression, especially if it's temporary, as many of the studies seem to imply.

Re:The Solution is Simple... (1)

Genrou (600910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940318)

The main point in the article, is how almost none of the few published papers by the people signing to "video games don't cause violence" brief were published in respectable psychological journals.

The reasoning is flawed anyways: no matter how much people repeat something that is wrong, it doesn't become right. It just doesn't follow -- if the studies were all biased and badly conducted, no matter how many of them exist, their conclusions are wrong.

Following their reasoning: respectable (to astrologers) astrology journals have published much much more studies on the relevance of astrology than respectable psychologists published on video game violence. Thus, according to their arguments, astrology must be right. Same for every pseudoscience out there. And, here is one thing to think about: there is a lot of criticism on how research is conducted on psychology -- many people consider it borderline pseudoscientific.

Shitty Complaint (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939396)

So granted that Slashdot is all "hey-man-don't-regulate-my-games". I mean, I'm in the same boat, video game engineering was my employment at one point, and I'd tend to not want restrictions on the source of both my paycheck and entertainment. (The "who's ox is getting gored" bias, as we'd say down on the farm.)

But honestly, this summary/article is a pretty shitty, rambling, poorly-founded, juvenile, knee-jerk complaint. Assessing the level of expertise in differing camps is a fairly common technique nowadays -- analyzing published articles in the subject matter at hand, the prominence of the journals in question, the influence as measured by citations, etc. "And, again, the entire basis of this result is a meaningless dataset." Meaningless? Uh, no. It's just an analysis whose conclusion you don't like. (Or as I might tell my stats students: "You'll do a month of statistics, present it to your boss who doesn't like the result, and then he'll tell you to go to hell.")

Final line FTA: "They're starting with an established position and trying to figure out ways to present evidence to support that. That's not science." Um, actually, that's pretty damn close to the actual definition of science (hypothesis, followed by experimental design). As long as you're intellectually honest enough to admit when the results contradict your starting position.

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939536)

Final line FTA: "They're starting with an established position and trying to figure out ways to present evidence to support that. That's not science." Um, actually, that's pretty damn close to the actual definition of science (hypothesis, followed by experimental design).

No, it's the direct opposite of science. In science you start with an established position and try to figure out ways to refute it, not support it. Starting with a hypothesis and looking for support for the hypothesis is what all the pseudoscientists, snake-oil merchants and quack healers do. And they never have to "admit when the results contradict [their] starting position", because if they're not looking for evidence that contradicts their position then they'll never find it, the most that will happen is that they won't find evidence in favour, and then they can just cite "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence". Ever heard of falsifiability?

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939918)

I teach falsifiability. But what happens in practice is that people go looking for tests to accrue additional evidence for their position. Surely you know how rarely null-hypothesis results get published.

If anything, researchers look for ways to refute their competitor's position.

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940020)

I teach falsifiability. But what happens in practice is that people go looking for tests to accrue additional evidence for their position.

Then what happens in practice isn't really science (although it can be a useful precursor to science, as there's not much point in putting effort into falsifying something that was never particularly plausible in the first place).

Surely you know how rarely null-hypothesis results get published.

If anything, researchers look for ways to refute their competitor's position.

Then that's not science, it's marketing. Surely you know of the many meta-study techniques that are applied to identify whether the number of null-hypothesis results is statistically plausible, especially whether deviations correlate credibly with the population sample sizes used in the experiments.

Science doesn't put food on the table (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941946)

If anything, researchers look for ways to refute their competitor's position.

Then that's not science, it's marketing.

By that definition, science doesn't put food on a researcher's table; marketing does. So if you disagree with the mixture of science and marketing that characterizes research over the past decade at least, then how do you recommend to promote the progress of science?

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940042)

Unfortunately very true. Science is just like every other human endeavor. We have our dogma, our prejudices and all the rest. And it will be a cold day in hell before we give them up. Only non practicing scientists go on and on about the scientific method....

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

Alarash (746254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939758)

Shouldn't they take into account the fact that - maybe - there are more incentives to study the "bad effects" of video games? I can really see a lot of groups ordering reports from scientists to prove video games are bad for children. That would increase the number of papers on the topic by a not insignificant margin I think. You see much less groups ordering reports that prove video games are not bad for children / make children violent, etc.. This is not only science, politics (I would go as far as saying "populism") are involved, too.

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940344)

You cannot prove the non-existance of something.
Just like you cannot prove there is no god, you cannot prove that violent games do not cause violent behaviour.
It's only logical there are more studies claiming violent games result in violent behaviour, therefore using a comparison of the number of studies as evidence is deeply flawed.
It may be a reasonable technique in a field where different theories are all provable, but not in any "exists/not-exists" type scenario.

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941576)

I have proof there is not god. Unfortunately, there isn't enough room in this comment box for it and I don't want to link to a pdf.

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35942078)

Then link to Google's text version of the PDF.

Re:Shitty Complaint (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940756)

Meta analysis is bunk, even when it's "properly" done. This isn't even a well done meta-analysis, this is dick waving. "My guys are more prolific than your guys, so we must be right" isn't science. Still, might be enough to sway the Supreme Court.

Original seems valid analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939428)

Hmmm... I would say the original article is actually trying to assess quality rather than quantity by looking at the number of publications by the signatories rather than the number of signatories. Number of publications in peer-reviewed journals is actually a fairly common standard for measuring academic credentials. If what they claim is true one wonders how those many signatories with no publications are involved, they might well be from the gaming industry.

This of course still does not prove that violent games cause violence (which I strongly), but it does add to the credibility of this idea.

Re:Original seems valid analysis (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939458)

but it does add to the credibility of this idea.

It does? Only if the original studies were actually valid and truly proved what they were attempting to prove. I've seen none that actually link real-world violence to violent entertainment. Only temporary aggressive thoughts which almost never amount to anything.

LOL how Ironic (1)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939452)

Instead of reading as "two researchers prove their point" this thing reads more like "two researchers prove their own idiocy"

If quantity was proof... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939468)

When I hear things like that, I point out that more people claim to have been abducted (not just seen, but actually touched) by aliens than saw Jesus in the flesh after he rose. So, if pure numbers makes an argument, then there's more proof in the existence of aliens then Jesus.

Not that I'm arguing for or against anything, just pointing out the absurdity of the arguments...

Mean World Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939496)

Violence in the media does not lead to violent behavior. It leads to a fear of being victimized. That is why gun sales are up, and polls show people are more paranoid despite crime being at a 30-year low.

All this anti-video game BS needs to stop.

Similar to: Porn, Gun control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939500)

Just as romance novels can lead (or at least are related to) *some* women having unreasonable expectations from men, and how porn can lead (or at least is related to) *some* men being more likely to view women as sex objects, they are still "legal" and freely available for public consumption. In the USA there is still *some* protection for free speech under the constitution (assuming that the content isn't "obscene" - and I know it when I see it...).

I have a feeling that many people who react so strongly and shout "video games aren't related to ANY violence at all!" fear their favorite entertainment medium being threatened/regulated. Which is a reasonable fear, considering some countries, such as Australia's, stance on video games. However, it can be easily shown that some video games are related to the release of endorphins and adrenaline, which is why they are "fun." Guess what? Some of those chemicals released in the brain are related to violence.

I guess what I'm saying is: there is at least *some* evidence, through empirical research, that Video Games are related to violence. It just seems so silly to see slashdot, which is a well informed community, deny evidence. The evidence, however, does NOT mean that playing a game is a magic bullet that will "cause" a person to be violent. I play games myself, but the theory of carthesis has been pretty much shown to be bull, and I still hear gamers say "it helps me relax." When hooked up to sensors, however, playing a game does anything but make a gamer relax (heightened blood pressure, pulse, release of adrenaline, etc.).

Guns are used to kill people, and yet they are still legal. I think no one can deny that guns were developed as a means to kill - be it animals, humans, etc. But something that is so clearly related to violence is still legal. Video games, even if found to cause violence, should also still be legal.

Sometimes I feel like users on slashdot are a bunch of 13 year old boys, scared that their mom will take away their games if any evidence that games are linked to violence is accepted. Just accept it already, get on with your lives, and raise a stink if the big bad FCC comes in.

Re:Similar to: Porn, Gun control (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939522)

"video games aren't related to ANY violence at all!"

I can't speak for them, but I speculate that most of them probably mean that any 'normal' person wouldn't be so drastically effected by a video game that it would change them completely.

However, it can be easily shown that some video games are related to the release of endorphins and adrenaline, which is why they are "fun."

That almost never amounts to anything. Temporary aggressive thoughts, maybe. But given the amount of people who view/play violent entertainment, you'd think that more people would be violent. The effect is likely so miniscule that it doesn't do anything to the average person, even if they are children.

Re:Similar to: Porn, Gun control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939566)

However, it can be easily shown that some video games are related to the release of endorphins and adrenaline, which is why they are "fun." Guess what? Some of those chemicals released in the brain are related to violence.

Good job, you just argued that all sports should be banned. They cause the release of far more of these evil chemicals than playing video games, thus causing far more violence.

Ban sports! For the children!

The Earth is flat! (1)

Exitar (809068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939502)

I just went to citeseer and searched for "spherical earth": 149 documents found.
A search for "flat earth" gave me 231 documents, so the Earth must be flat!

Re:The Earth is flat! (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940038)

I interpolated those results and concluded that the earth is an ellipsoid with an eccentricity of 0.645
Science is awesome!

Relative to? (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939544)

Studies show that sedentary activities for hours increases heart disease, even if you exercise during the week as well.

What would kill more people, violence stimulated by video games, or heart attacks and strokes at younger ages due to lack of exercise?

Re:Relative to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35940054)

Studies show that sedentary activities for hours increases heart disease, even if you exercise during the week as well.

What would kill more people, violence stimulated by video games, or heart attacks and strokes at younger ages due to lack of exercise?

Wait, are you complaining that video games are not causing enough physical violence?

Video Games reduce violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939546)

I believe the fact that video games reduce violence is fairly simple to see for anyone who has access to the data.

Look at it like this. The first console generation [wikipedia.org] began in 1972. Prior to that, we had a GREAT DEAL [wikipedia.org] more wars than after that. In fact, a vast majority of wars (including the horrors of WWI and WWII) occurred *before* the first video game was even conceived!

How can anyone, anyone at all, argue that video games *increase* violence when the numbers show that conflicts following video game production are, proportionally, less than a fraction of a fraction of a percent of all conflicts prior to the invention of video games? Further, considering how much larger our population is now, each conflict should be considered to be even *less* due to being a far smaller portion of the total population as opposed to conflicts which occurred when the population of the world was in the millions.

The numbers don't lie here people. Video games decrease wars. Also the lack of pirates contributes to global warming. [seanbonner.com]

Wheres the proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939620)

These researchers have published a new study, but where is the proof that its results are true?

They better start publishing more on this topic....

This makes me angry (nt) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35939656)

nt

Popularity (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939894)

The problem is that one side of the argument is clearly the obvious side to take, even though it's not necessarily true. Sort of like the climate change debate, most folks already have their mind made up. So thanks to the wonders of groupthink, studies that come down on video games get the funds and publicity, so subsequent studies are done with the same unconscious bias.

Anderson and Bushman ~ Credentials (1)

Rhalin (791665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939898)

Having read quite a lot that these two have published, as well as literature from the opposing side, it's quite clear that these two don't really know what the hell they're talking about. They consistently create experimental conditions comparing games that aren't comparable to test for violence effects, with silliness like 'lets see if Unreal Tournament causes people to have higher arousal than those playing Farmville!'. While they -may- be experts on aggression, they clearly have no idea the mechanics or theory involved in actually playing video games. While "games research" is kind of new, it also still requires specialization to work with, part of which is an actual understanding of games, gameplay, and mechanics. From the literature these two publish, it is fairly evident that they don't have it. Dmitri Williams said it best - "People researching games should PLAY GAMES", and it seems like these guys haven't touched a video game in their lives.

Yes, the "video games are violent" people publish a lot. But the quality of their experiments, and result reporting is very very lacking. This is evident by the methodology mention in TFA which "provides strong support" according to Bushman. No, it does not. If anything, it shows people staggering and back tracking to find support for something they suspect based on opinion, and realize they haven't done a reasonable job proving.

If you actually -read- the literature, and start poking it with a stick there is some evidence that starts to form to make a clear picture. That picture is that there -is- an effect of violence in video games, the effect is incredibly short term (hours) and very small, and that there are cognitive -benefits- to playing video games that quite longer term. Additionally, the small, short-term effect seems to only be a risk condition for people with very specific personality issues who would need to fit other risk-factors anyways for it to actually be an issue.

TFA tells a whole different story (1)

Trubadidudei (1404187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939926)

I'm a first year student studying psychology, and I happened to write a paper on the subject of the effect of violent video games, and I have some opinions on this subject.
First of all, I'd like to say RTFA. The summary above is one of the worst summaries I have seen, presenting the matter in an extremely biased fashion. First of all, what the researchers in question (Bushman, Anderson, Sacks) did is not so outrageous as the article suggests. To rephrase it in a less biased way, they looked at the people who signed both the pro and con amicus briefs, and looked at how many had actually published something within the topics of the effects of video game violence or media violence. They then looked at how many of these published studies were published in respectable journals ("respectability" was calculated using a method called "impact factor", which measures the relative amount of references to articles in a certain journal). Here they found that the signers of the brief supporting the link between violent video games and violent behaviour, had 48 times more studies published in respectable journals then the opposing side, fourty eight TIMES more studies. They did this to asess the credentials and credibility of the people signing each brief, not to somehow directly prove that violent violent games cause agression, such as the OP suggests, and I would say their assesement is legitimate. What they did here was to show that almost none of the people (17%) calling themselves "experts" who signed to the fact that violent video games did not cause agressive behaviour had published a single study on the subject area, and that the studies that they had published were only accepted by obscure journals with very little credibility to them (ie. they are of very low quality). They did not prove that violent video games cause agression, but they did prove that almost all the people who said that it didn't had almost no credentials whatsoever, and that the opposing side had plenty. Make of that what you will.

This assesement paints a picture of the situation that is pretty much in agreement to what I discovered when I wrote a paper on the subject: that there are only three (Ferguson, Kilburn, Freedman) serious researchers who deny the link between violent video games and agression, and that the rest are industry funded dickheads whose only purpose is to confuse the public into thinking that there is a real debate on the topic. All of the most recent experimental, cross-sectional and longitudal studies with a decent number of citations and credibility all supported the fact that violent video games are a risk factor for increased agression (by agression I mean agressive behaviour, cognition and affect). The largest and most credible meta-study I could find (done by Anderson et al in 2010), showed without any doubt that almost all psychological research done on the subject points to the fact that this risk factor is real.
Denying the link between exposure to video game violence and increased risk of agressive behaviour, cognition and affect goes against all relevant psychological theory, former research on media violence, and even current research on the topic. The research that the OP dismisses clearly show that the people that are still denying it are the same industry funded idiots who have always denied any proper science being done on the subject of media violence, people who have no real scientific credibility. Note that we are talking about a risk factor here, not a causal link. The research doesn't show that all kids who play violent video games become violent individuals; it does however show that in combination with other factors it can play a role in making them so.

Re:TFA tells a whole different story (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940162)

I read a study published in EGM that says there's no such link, and if disagree, I'll pop you right in your mouth.

Re:TFA tells a whole different story (1)

Rhalin (791665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941010)

You apparently read a much different 2010 study than I did by Anderson et al. The one I read âoeViolent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in Eastern and Western countriesâ has several major flaws. Many of which are pointed out by Ferguson âoeMuch ado about nothing: The misestimation and overinterpretation of violent video game effects in Eastern and Western nations: Comment on Anderson et al.(2010).â Which received a reply âoeMuch ado about something: Violent video game effects and a school of red herring: Reply to Ferguson and Kilburn (2010).â by Bushman that completely failed to address most of the issues Ferguson pointed out, and instead sought to attack Fergusonâ(TM)s credentials (sound familiar?). Furthermore, the studies cited by Anderson and his group generally have a very major fatal flaw, in that they compare the results of playing incredibly different games, where itâ(TM)s not clear that they are actually controlling for violence or if one of the hundred, to thousands of other differences in the games could be causing incredible variance in their results. Itâ(TM)s quite clear upon reading their work that 1) they do have a solid understanding of violence and aggression in media effects. Good for them, but 2) that they donâ(TM)t understand video games at all, and it seems like they havenâ(TM)t actually played any of the games they use in their experiments, or made any effort to understand the subject their researching. Itâ(TM)s like someone running experiments on television viewing who has never watched TV or a movie before, they make lots of mistakes in their experimental setup.

A "Novel" Method (1)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939934)

The article says that the researcher's developed a "novel" method. However, I'm pretty sure the Salem Witch Trials used this first. If the majority called "Witch!" off to the fires she went.

After having read TFA... (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#35939968)

... I'd like to point out that the researchers are not claiming to have settled the issue of video game violence by counting the credentials. They're merely pointing out that there is more scientific credentials behind one of the two briefs delivered to the court.

"The justices were presented with two briefs, arguing opposite sides, and they may think the contradictory briefs simply cancel each other out," Bushman said.

Still, I don't think it's a very strong argument, and it can easily be misused.

Re:After having read TFA... (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941130)

Still, I don't think it's a very strong argument, and it can easily be misused

Indeed it can. For example, an uneducated person with money may dislike Fact X, so they create a camber of echoes for Fact Not-X, using whatever scrappy nonsense they can pay people to pull together. Then the general public will think both sides are ideologues. This is precisely how public opinion is shaped [youtube.com] in a modern democracy.

Clearly, they're right (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940122)

The fact that the researchers who published this 'study' also wrote the amicus brief that supported the same claim seems to call their objectivity into question as well.

On the contrary, it means they've corroborated their story. And the more such support they discover, the more they're going to get their findings published, and thus, the more their findings will be corroborated.

It's called argumentum ad bootstrapum. Google it.

Big Lie (1)

paic (1984010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940128)

"If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth."

Yes there are violence in games. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940564)

Games for mature people. Most people is ignorant, and don't know there are games for mature people. Not all videogames are for childrens.

The problem is... ..some people is ignorant.

Heres the problem that need fixing.

I will spam slashdot comments (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35940992)

And thus be the all-governing supreme authority on everything!

The upside... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941522)

Well, since volume of work determines what's true, guess this closes the book on the whole climate change 'debate' since 100% of the peer reviewed papers are in support of it. Sucks that video games cause violence, but one must pick their battles. Eat it, warming deniers!

No more studies (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35941596)

If they publish one more study putting down violence in my video games, I'm going to kick there motherfucking assholes!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?