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Videogames Affect Your Brain

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the learn2empathize dept.

Games 98

ozmm writes "A story on GameSpot explains the concept of 'mirror neurons.' When we shoot a gun, certain neurons fire in our brain. When we see someone else shoot a gun, even a video game character, the exact same neurons fire. How do virtual reactions affect our lives and thoughts? This short but sweet article touches on all of this and more." From the article: "We can tell if someone is watching a television by the way that person is facing it--even if we can't see or hear if the television is even on. It also means that we can experience the mental states associated with actions without ever having to perform those actions. In video games, in particular, it's like we're automatically empathizing with what is happening on the screen as if we were the video game characters ourselves. If you've ever had a particularly heart-palpitating race in Burnout, surely you can relate."

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In a sad little room somewhere... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14651735)

...Jack Thompson orgasms.

Could an octopus play WoW? (2, Interesting)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651739)

The science behind mirror neuron study is advancing an understanding of how humans and animals learn complex tasks. Ramachandran talks about the intelligence of the octopus in learning to open jars from watching another. The mirror neuron firing is intense and highly measurable in this species.

My slug of a cow-orker manages it (2, Interesting)

Mille Mots (865955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652576)

Seriously...I've been here two point five years and this guy has been on every diet to make the tabloid rack at the supermarket. He keeps gaining weight, though. I tried to explain to him that, first and foremost, if your caloric intake exceeds your caloric expenditure in a given period, you aren't ever going to lose weight, regardless of your choice of foods. He doesn't believe me, or anyone else that tries to explain it to him. "The book said I can eat all the meat I want!"

That being said, he used to eat, sleep and breathe Evercrack. Now he eats, sleeps and breathes WoW. He takes (what we mockingly refer to as) guild calls at ork. He spends most of his day posting on WoW message boards. He shows up late every morning because he doesn't go to bed until two hours before he has to be here. He goes home at lunch every day and comes back a minimum of fifteen minutes late, because he doesn't eat his lunch at home, he logs in and 'games' (and brings his lunch back here to eat at his desk). Oh, and he leaves early to make up for coming in late.

So, to answer your question...if a slug can figure it out, why not a higher lifeform like an octopus?

;)

--
Sig nor

I can hear the liberals already... (0)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651771)

More links between violent video games and violent youth... yada yada yada.

Luckily for us, shooting a gun is perfectly legal. I can goto any range in the area and squeze off a few rounds. Now, what would really be interesting is if it is the same nuerons (and only the same) that fire when someone shoots a gun intending to kill some one.

-Rick

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (0, Offtopic)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651884)

Funny. Most liberals would call Jack Thompson a conservative freak. After all, it is the conservatives that like to snoop on Americans and restrict their rights. Won't anybody think of the children?

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14651984)

Nice flamebait goat. Pat yourself on the back.

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (2, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652068)

Won't anybody think of the children?

Do you mean the children Tipper Gore was seeking to protect with the PMRC? The children that Bill Clinton was protecting backing the V-chip? The children that Democrat senators are protecting by introducing anti-video game legislation?

Don't think that conservatives have a strangle hold on snooping on Americans and restricting rights.

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652270)

Jack Thompson is a man of conservative morals. But he wants legislative changes, which makes him a political liberal. Which means that he is the type of person you never want to be in power.

-Rick

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652856)

So... the laws we have now are perfect, and you wouldn't want anybody in office who would ever want to change any of them? And only liberals try to change laws? And you're smoking what?

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653646)

I am NOT saying I am liberal or conservative or republican or democratic. What I'm saying is the terms liberal and conservative can mean many different things.

Someone who is (politically) conservative doesn't want change. These are the people who will defend the constitution and depend on legal precedence. (IOW, these people make good supreme court justices).

Someone who is (politically) liberal wants change. These are the people who see the problems with the current situation and want to correct it. (IOW, these people make good congressmen and senators)

In America, we started off with a pretty religious, and strict social and political environment (compared to now). So, calling a person conservative (meaning, they don't want change) became synonymous with white Christian men.

The problem is people aren't just liberal or conservative. Take Pres Bush for example. He is considered a conservative, but he takes a very liberal approach to running the country.

-Rick

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (2, Insightful)

nasch (598556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653855)

Where are you getting these definitions?

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14654108)

Definitions of conservative on the Web:

        * resistant to change
        * opposed to liberal reforms
        * cautious: avoiding excess; "a conservative estimate"
        * a person who has conservative ideas or opinions

Definitions of liberal on the Web:

        * broad: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; "a broad political stance"; "generous and broad sympathies"; "a liberal newspaper"; "tolerant of his opponent's opinions"
        * having political or social views favoring reform and progress
        * tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition
        * a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties
        * big: given or giving freely; "was a big tipper"; "the bounteous goodness of God"; "bountiful compliments"; "a freehanded host"; "a handsome allowance"; "Saturday's child is loving and giving"; "a liberal backer of the arts"; "a munificent gift"; "her fond and openhanded grandfather"
        * a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets
        * free: not literal; "a loose interpretation of what she had been told"; "a free translation of the poem"

-Rick

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14655521)

Fair enough. Seems strange though because it defines the two in terms of what they want compared to what exists now. By some of those definitions, someone advocating changing our laws to be simpler, with smaller government and less regulation would be considered liberal (favoring reform and progress), and those on the opposite side conservative (resistant to change). However, I think that's the opposite of how people think of themselves - that is, those favoring such reforms generally consider themselves conservative. It also implies that if a liberal gets all the reforms they want, they either start looking for new reforms to push for, or they then become conservative because then they don't want further change. Likewise, a conservative would become a liberal if the status quo changes and they no longer favor existing laws, because then they would start trying to change things. I guess I don't care for those definitions much, but maybe I'm in a minority.

Both no longer have their original meanings (1)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663983)

Do some reading on both classical liberalism and classical conservatism.

Originally liberalism meant ensuring the individual had as much freedom as possible. This includes the respionsibilty for your choices both good and bad. Modern liberalism seeks to minimize the individuals choice, and to replace it with what the "educated elites" in government decide are the proper choices.

E.G. firearm ownership and self-defense bad, involuntary redistribution of wealth (social security) good.

Modern conservatism does this in a similar way for different issues. E.G. abortion bad, state militarism good, christianity good, non-christianity bad. Both have been corrupted from their original meanings into slightly different branches of authoritarianism.

Ahem, (1)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663805)

Original definition of Liberal [wikipedia.org] .

"Classical liberalism focuses on concepts of individual autonomy and private property, and argues that the sole legitimate function of government is to defend these."

"Modern liberalism tends to deviate from this definition of the term "liberal" in that it espouses the use of the power of government to achieve a variety of desirable goals, ranging from social justice to economic equality."

The first is Liberal as in Liberty oriented. The second is Authoritarian.

Re:I can hear the conservatives already... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14652273)

When will you numbskulls wake up. Those who are actualyl controlling things behind the scenes are playing conservatives and liberals like decks of cards.

Odd how both groups can feel justified accusing each other of the same thing, no?

Liberals? (0, Offtopic)

Telepathetic Man (237975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651907)

To claim that liberals are able to do much anything in American federal government is to have blinders on. State government on the other hand, it seems to be both Republican and Democrat controlled offices that are pushing for video game censorship.

In short, to claim censorship as a left or right issue is short sighted. Any kind of censorship should be held as politically bad move by the citizens in all aspects, except when it comes to under age children.

Re:Liberals? (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652237)

Keep your eyes open. Today yes, the very conservative republican party is still in charge. But they are expected to lose a lot of seats in the 2k6 elections. And given her most recent posturing, Mrs. Clinton could be setting herself up for a run for president in 2k8.

I'm not claiming to be for or against either side. But theoretically atleast, a political conservative (not a moral conservative) would be against the introduction of new censorship laws. What I'm most affraid of is morally conservative liberals. People who have very set morals and no problem trying to legislate other people to be like them.

-Rick

Re:Liberals? (2, Interesting)

fshalor (133678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652334)

Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush Clinton Clinton...

Hehe... It would be a good span. At least easy to remember.

I can definatly agree at least in "feeling". Saw a cop shoot at a woman who was trying to run him down with her car the other day. I kept thinking through what I would have done if I'd had my 9mm ruger with me that afternoon. Although, I must say, that I think I wouldn't have missed as badly as he did. :(

Re:I can hear the liberals already... (1)

akheron01 (637033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651909)

Yeah seriously, what the sibling post said, we're the ones fighting YOU guys from stopping us from having fun, by very definition liberal means someone who supports liberties, that is, not abridging ones rights

Re:I can hear the liberals already... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652338)

Don't blame me, I voted for Fiengold! ;)

-Rick

Re:I can hear the liberals already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14651942)

Liberals? Dude what are you talking about. A majority of Anti-videogame legislation has been introduced by the GOP.

Re:I can hear the liberals already... (2, Informative)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652048)

Anti-videogame legislation has been introduced by the GOP
Not quite. Remember, one of the most strident supporters of federal game regulartion has been Sen. Hillary Clinton D-NY [gamespot.com] . And remember Tipper Gore's crusade against the music industry?

Attacks on our freedom have their genesis on both sides of the aisle.

Re:I can hear the liberals already... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652317)

Too many people confuse Political Conservativism/Liberalism with Moral Conservativism/Liberalism, and then try to pin everyone into a political party accordingly. There are people of liberal morals and conservative attitudes in both political parties. True, there are more morally liberal polititians on the democratic side, but just because you don't belong to the old boys club doesn't mean you can't be a republican. And some of those most morally conservative republicans would be the most likely to do something as politically liberal as change the constitution.

-Rick

Re:I can hear the liberals already... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653295)

Right, liberals like Jack Thompson or the American Family Association. Or all the Christian groups against violent games. Sigh. If anything this is an issue that spans ideology and I'd keep my eye on the conservatives as they're the ones in power right now.

Re:I can hear the liberals already... (1)

Tighe_L (642122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653944)

Seriously, they aren't taking the rights from anyone who is over 18. Do you think that a 16 year-old should be able to buy latest GTA? Liberals like to play to the young so that they can recruit them at a young age.

I was in the mall and saw an poster ad by the Ad Council and it was a picture of a female teenager walking in the mall and in the background there was a sign on the clothing store that said "you must be 18 to buy clothes in this store." ant he caption on the photo said to the effect that you need to vote to keep your rights.

What cracks me up about the poster is that you have to be 18 to vote! So if you can vote you can buy clothes in that store.

Am I the only person who minors should be limited in what they can do and buy? Have you seen how teens are dressing and acting? I live near Albany NY, and one of the malls there the mall management instutited a new rule that anyone under 18 must me accompanied by a guardian on Friday nights and Saturdays, or they are escorted to the security office to call for a ride. This was done out of necessity because the teenagers were driving paying customers away, with their loitering, unlawful, and rude behavior. And this isn't an inner city mall; it is right in the middle of Suburbia.

I personally had stopped going to this mall because of the teenagers, and once the rule went in effect I went and it was another world! It was actually tolerable to shop.

Most Definately. (3, Funny)

ForCripeSake (932432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651780)

After playing Mario 64 for 11 hours I totally empathized with the headache resulting from Mario's brick breaking antics.

Re:Most Definately. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14652428)

You played Super Mario 64 for 11 hours? hah - I can do it in 16 minutes. [google.com]

Re:Most Definately. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14656119)

In that game Mario breaks bricks with his ass and you have a headache! Wow, you ground-pounded away your whole torso...

Ummm... (4, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651788)

When we see someone else shoot a gun, even a video game character, the exact same neurons fire.

So that makes watching a movie different from playing a game... how?

Re:Ummm... (2, Interesting)

dasheiff (261577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651842)

More importainly, should it be illegal to watch someone shoot a gun in real life?

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14653004)

Why exactly was this modded as Offtopic? Seems relevant enough to me, when you consider what legislation is being presented.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Mr Europe (657225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658632)

It should be made illegal even to think of firing a gun...

Re:Ummm... (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14656752)

In the game, they're shooting at *you*! And *you* have the ability to save your character's ass by shooting back.

In a movie, you're living more vicariously through the characters, and you don't have any control over their actions. Except maybe screaming at the screen "They're right behind you!"

Re:Ummm... (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14660903)

In the game, they're shooting at *you* ... In a movie... you don't have any control over their actions.

And according to the article, the same neurons fire in your brain whether you are doing or watching, so there's no real difference.

Videogames and brains (3, Insightful)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651792)

I have had some particularly exciting races in Burnout to Burnout:Revenge. I can conclusively say that I'm *not* experiencing what the videogame character would feel (pure terror followed by death and dismemberment) but rather excitment.

Also I've fired a gun, and I've played Quake. I get two very different feelings from both. Perhaps their test subjects weren't "used" to gaming and thus less able to separate the fantasy from the reality?

Phew... (1)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651817)

Well, that answers that question.

Re:Videogames and brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14657553)

Indeed, driving in burnout is NOTHING like crashing a car. Common sense eludes people.

Sure, games make my adrenaline rush, heart beat faster, and feel emotions. So can movies, books(yes, even books) and music.

ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651796)

Rampant speculation? Check.
Pseudoscientific Terms? Check.
Pictures of Latest Games? Check.

Complete Lack Of Hard Data Whatsoever? Check.

Congradulations audience. YHJBT.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14651958)

Did you know that all valid studies on the effects of video games have concluded that video games make players more violent? There are tons of personal stories that prove this fact too.

I know that Slashdot refuses to accept this, but there is a scientifically proven link between video games and violence. Do a Google search [google.com] and find out for yourself.

This is a good article on the link between games and violence [apa.org] , refuting almost all the myths you here on Slashdot about how videogames don't make people violent.

Another article, Video Game Violence Research Yields Mixed Results [about.com] - while it has a title you may think supports video games don't cause violence - actually suggests that most violent video games DO cause violent behaviors, while some (puzzle games) do not.

The only, and I do mean only, studies that conclude that video games are not directly linked to an increase in violent behavior are studies that were funded by video game publishers. Sort of like how the Microsoft-funded study discovered that Windows is more secure than Linux.

The military uses video game technology to train soldiers to kill. They know that video games make violent behaviors come more naturally. It's a proven fact by now, and all the Slashdot posts in the world won't change that.

Do some actual research. Video games are linked with an increase in violent behavior. It's a fact, like it or not.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14652288)

Violent games cause violent behavior.
People who behave violently are more likely to play violent games.

Prove one over the other.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

Gta-Klue (643989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653672)

1. reefer madness - Pot makes our kids violent prone sex crazed maniacs
2. Rock and Roll - This new Rock and Roll is driving our kids to do destructive things (and be sex crazed maniacs)
3. Heavy Metal - See #2
4. D & D - See #1 - 3
5. Video Games - See #1 - 4
6. ???
7. Blaming everything but our kids and our own parenting skills (Profit???)

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652289)

I call troll/straw man:

The military uses video game technology to train soldiers to kill. They know that video games make violent behaviors come more naturally. It's a proven fact by now, and all the Slashdot posts in the world won't change that.

The military trains soldiers to deal with violent situations in a calm, controlled manner. It doesn't brainwash them to be violent, unpredictable psychopaths.

I might concede that violent media de-sensitizes people to violence - although I still think most people's brains automatically make a distinction between real and pretend violence - but I really don't buy the argument, which has been around forever and changes its targeted medium with each generation.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14654188)

I call Jasck Thompson.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652371)

I think slashdotters 'refuse' to accept your studies because they have many friends who play violent games, and are not violent, and know that there are MILLIONS more like them, who are not violent either.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (2, Informative)

plughead (664285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652547)

Following your Google link, I found this interesting essay Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked [pbs.org] - (one of the myths debunked is the 'The military uses video games' argument...)

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14653365)

Actually, it doesn't "debunk" that myth - it says that the military does indeed use video games to train its soldiers. Because, guess what, they do! It suggested that this isn't enough to prove a link between video games and violence because the people playing the games are soldiers.

The rest of it is essentially all trash, trying to discredit the studies. Fortunately, I had already linked to an article refuting that [apa.org] .

I know most Slashdotters will refuse to accept this, but anyone who has ever played video games and then actually paid attention to the way it made them act should recognize that video games do indeed create violent behavior. I know that after playing a video game, I'm much more prone to violence than after watching TV. I've watched it happen in other people. I've heard someone talk about how they almost ran a stop light because they'd been playing too much Grand Theft Auto (and then joke about how they wanted to steal a car).

Open your eyes and pay attention. It's not a joke: video games really do encourage violent behavior.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (2, Insightful)

Chowderbags (847952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653808)

If you can't differentiate between playing a game and the real world, maybe we shouldn't let let you have a nerf gun either. Obviously if you use that too much you'll be more likely to shoot people for no reason.

Yeah, that makes sense. *rolls eyes*

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14656212)

Well, I was just going to ignore you as an idiot, but since some moderator apparently thought what you said made sense, I'll have to respond.

If you can't differentiate between playing a game and the real world

Where did I say that? Where has that ever been suggested? I never said that anywhere, and it certainly has never been suggested by studies. YOU said that. YOU misunderstood what was said.

Violent video games don't make you unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, no one has ever said that.

What WAS said and has been PROVEN is that playing video games makes people more likely to behave violently.

No one that I'm aware of has ever suggested that video games make you lose touch with reality. They do make you more prone to be violent though, and that is a proven fact.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652622)

I love the fact that this poster is claiming a proven link between a stimulus and a complex psychological behavior. "Do some actual research" is a great suggestion, that this poster needs to contemplate. Especially since the story the post links to draws a possible connection between playing video games and a general model of human behavior. Thats a link between a broad category of often qualitatively described experiences and a theory that is far from being considered applicable to even a majority, let alone to all.

At best, when examining a specific hypothesis you might be able to disprove the corresponding null hypothesis. But looking for absolute proof is just foolhearty. Especially when you deal with something like emotions that are often found to differ between cultures at a level that many casual readers don't seem to think possible.

We know so little about ourselves, our behaviors, and our emotions its startling. At this point we can do our best to figure out similar tendencies between people, but that amounts to correlation if it can be found, and not something that defines a cause-effect relationship.

And for me it comes down to personal experience. I play a lot of violent video games. I get in to them and often experienced the increased heart rate that researchers describe, but the violent tendencies aren't there before I play and they still aren't there after I play. If they were there before, I can imagine video games could increase my experience of aggressive emotions, just like some researchers believe being in an overcrowded environment (like any US city) hightens all emotional responses, be them good (feeling happy) or bad (feeling angry or violent). But they aren't there for me.

So why is there evidence that suggests a tie between video games and violence? My thought is that there are people that get a lot of pleasure out of the heightened emotional state of being very aggressive or even very angry (it gets the chemicals flowing). Once they play a game that increases these feelings, and thus the pleasure, they will naturally want to go back because the act of playing video games is a positive reinforcer.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (3, Insightful)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652661)

How is this, WHATSOEVER, related to ID stuff? I don't personally believe in ID as being presented (although I do believe in God), but this has nothing whatsoever to do with this topic. I don't know how this got modded +5, unless it was as Offtopic?

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14654520)

How is this, WHATSOEVER, related to ID stuff?

Please try reading the subject of the comment: "ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out" If you knew what "eat your heart out" meant, perhaps you would be enlightened. I suggest looking it up.

I don't personally believe in ID as being presented (although I do believe in God), but this has nothing whatsoever to do with this topic.

Ohhhhh, NOW I see where you're coming from. You thought someone might be attacking you, and you had to reply.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14654806)

Oh, so you're saying something so amazingly insightful, like:

See, here's someone else making a stupid argument

Is that right?

If so, it still doesn't need to be said. I could just as equally said: "Solipsists eat your heart out!" or "Matrix-fighters eat your heart out!" or "Slashdot Readers who think they have girlfriends, eat your heart out!*" All with the same meaning.

My point stands clear and unscathed: The comment is still flame-bait, trying to involve religious politics to a topic that requires nor relates to ID at all.

It's still a stereotypical post meant to incite mobbish anger and hatred towards those with a certain belief system. (Again, I DON'T think ID should be taught in schools! You're not offending me personally, regardless of the effort!) It's an ignorant post with no relation to the topic, and I don't understand how it could be modded so high in the first place. That was all I was saying, and that still holds up, IMO.


*That one is a joke, kids!

No, that's not right at all. (1)

Dissonant (125475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14654961)

Listen, just about everyone here already considers the ID'ers irredeemably stupid. The goal of the original post wasn't to try and rub their noses in it. It was to say, "Look, this article is so poorly thought out that it shows strong parallels with already established idiocy on the level of ID! That's how awful this rubbish is!"

The ID stuff wasn't the goal of the post, it was just a point of reference.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14654996)

The point is that you shouldn't be so butt-hurt/sensitive. ID'ers do seem to have no grasp on logic whatsoever. The comment was pointing out the parallel which was entirely valid. The fact that you are offended that someone else would bring up the ID'ers suggests that you have more sympathy for them than your prior comment would suggest on its face.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14655426)

drinky, I see what you're saying. I do. But I still don't think the way to change people's minds when they're wrong is by slapping them. I tend to think that intelligent conversation is much more useful/important than pointing and laughing. So I'm offended by ignorant people on both sides.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658610)

So I'm offended by ignorant people on both sides.

The purpose of the original post was, in part, to draw parallels between the pseudoscience of ID and this article linking violence to video games.

If you're offended by this, then quite frankly, that offends me.

I'm tired of persistent ID'ers and their vacuous refrains. We're not going to listen to your asinine diatribes without pointing out that they are in fact asinine. Fundamentalism is an evil, evil thing.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14653466)

Slash-tard posting anti-ID message in a thread which has nothing to do with ID? Check.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14654595)

Idiotic trendy post structure? Check.
Simplistic and bogus analysis of article? Check.
Zero understanding of the research? Check.

Completely uncalled, pointless and irrelevant reference to ID? Check.

Congratulations audience. ICMUSAAPLTCKT.*

* I can make up stupid acronyms and pretend like they're common knowledge too.

Re:ID'ers Eat Your Heart Out. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663345)

Does some jackass have to bring up an Intelligent Design straw man troll in every damn discussion now?

KIds with ADHD (2, Insightful)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651823)

I myself have a really bad case of ADHD. before i was diagnosed to have ADHD I used to play videogames for about 3 to 5 hours a day. This actually helped me build up concentration and teach me to focuss due to the postive (1 up) and negative (game over) feedback that the games gave me.

This is the same concept that modern neurofeedback treatment uses.

Re:KIds with ADHD (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652210)

This is the same concept that modern neurofeedback treatment uses.Not quite.

I'm not sure which neurofeeback techniques you're specifically talking about, but I'm going to assume it's the type where they strap sensors to your head to measure your brainwaves.

That technique works because it teaches you to directly manage your neural state. The use of games is a quick and easy way to make the system palatable for children.

They could just as easily show you what they want your brainwave to look like, show you your brainwave on a monitor & then tell you "make it look like that."

Staring at a wave form for an hour at a time isn't going to appeal to kids very much... so they turn it into a game.

Adults have been using the "lets play a game" trick for years. "Lets play a game. Who can clean up their side of the room the fastest!" I cringe at how naive I used to be.

Re:KIds with ADHD (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652521)

Adults have been using the "lets play a game" trick for years. "Lets play a game. Who can clean up their side of the room the fastest!" I cringe at how naive I used to be.

Hah! You say that because you always finished in second place, loser! :P

Re:KIds with ADHD (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14656749)

GP:Adults have been using the "lets play a game" trick for years. "Lets play a game. Who can clean up their side of the room the fastest!" I cringe at how naive I used to be.

P:Hah! You say that because you always finished in second place, loser! :P


That's correct - speed cleaning is a completely different sport than proper cleaning. Speed Cleaning just plops things into nearby shelves without organization (thus displacing the mess elsewhere), and Proper Cleaning has a neat organizational pattern that is practical and usable at the same time.

It's just like the difference between Speed Skating and Figure Skating in the olympics. Speed Skating simply has you go around in circles, but Figure Skating has a plan to those circles.

Re:KIds with ADHD (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652886)

It's funny what competitions can work. "I just put your baby brother to bed and I'll bet he can go to sleep before you." "No he won't!" *snore*

Re:games and cognition (1)

m-laboratories (840170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14655126)

As Steven Johnson points out in his book "Everything Bad is Good For You," the connection between video games and cognition (particularly conditions like ADHD) is a lot more complicated than the mainstream media makes it out to be. Then again, what isn't.

Michael Posner has developed a "game-like" interactive training scheme that has been shown to increase some measurements of working memory and increase nonverbal IQ scores. Other researchers (Cogmed) have followed suit, even going so far as to manufacture video games for kids with ADHD.

And it's no surprise the military is interested in video games (ever play "america's army?) given that other research has shown that habitual video game players have a shorter attentional blink (basically it's the "recovery" time you need to process multiple stimuli) and have a greater capacity for subitizing. See the excellent Mind Hacks [oreilly.com] chapter on video games, or this short article [blogspot.com] for more.

What's really amazing is that games may even be a universal phenomenon among more intelligent species - Stan Kuczaj and Lauren Highfill recently observed dolphins playing over 317 distinct versions of various games, including easier versions for the younger dolphins. Whether they have underwater consoles remains to be seen...

Brainwaves (3, Interesting)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651830)

A long time ago, I read about a study that showed brainwave patterns for watching normal TV (non-interactive, like soap operas and commercials) was the same as staring at a fire. These brainwaves were pretty close to that of time periods of sleep when the brain is only running the body on survival. The only difference was when something on the TV was thought-provocing.

At least when we fire a gun in a video game we have some thought pattern. I'd like to see this study done on people grinding levels in WoW or another MMORPG. I know my brain isn't waving when I'm grinding. Kill... grab stuff... skin... grab stuff... heal... kill.. ...

wow (3, Funny)

Wisgary (799898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651877)

so that's why porn is so awesome

I can beleive that (1)

Landshark17 (807664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651892)

After some long term gaming sessions, I find myself looking around suddenly when I hear noises that sounded vaguely like something threatening from the game. This once happened to me at a library after playing way too much Quake 2.

Is this new? Think Tetris. (4, Insightful)

igibo (726664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651896)

Of COURSE videogames affect your brain. During the Tetris craze of the late 80's I would not only DREAM Tetris, I would DAY dream Tetris. I distinctly recall sitting in various highschool classes, staring up at the ceiling, and "playing" Tetris with the drop-ceiling tiles!

And, yes, before anyone asks, I DID have the high-score.

Igi

I play wow in my sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14652280)

Sad but true.

I've found this to be true for many games.

Re:Is this new? Think Tetris. (1)

harpslashdot (940537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652764)

and that would be why I stopped playing video games ... analysing daily life by how to get to the "next level" freaked me out.

Dammit (2, Funny)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653164)

so _you_ where the one with the highscore in ceiling tile tetris. I spent years trying to beat you!

What? (2, Funny)

AntiDragon (930097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651901)

Utter garbage! Playing Doom for 9 hours a day all of the last 12 years hasn't had any effect on me! ....Oohh, someones at my door. Sorry people - I gotta go get my chainsaw. ...Hmm...looks like I need a bigger freezer too...ho hum...

So what neurons fire when you read /.? (1)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 8 years ago | (#14651965)

... if any at all?!? ;-)

In Soviet Russia... (0, Offtopic)

MrTester (860336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652062)

In Soviet Russia mirror neurons fire you. Aw hell. Ive obviously been following slashdot too long....

In South Korea (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652279)

In South Korea, old people don't have mirror neurons.

Re:In South Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14652572)

In North Korea, they don't have old people.

Re:In South Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14656310)

In Soviet Russia, mirror neurons don't have old people.

Re:In South Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14656610)

In Soviet Russia, mirrors reflect you!

Excuse me? (3, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652238)

"Videogames Affect Your Brain"

Unless you're already brain dead, doesn't every stimulus affect your brain in some way?

Re:Excuse me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14655530)

I have read comments on slashdot so dumb that I'm sure no neurons were involved either in the reading or writing of them.

But my brain is affected only selectively... (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652250)

I do not feel any emotive reaction when I am shot dead in any Enemy Territory or Quake, but I have quite a deep depression when loosing battle in Globulation-2 or Warzone 2100. Perhaps I should start a politician career to lead my nation for victories...

It's more than just neurons firing (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652365)

While they talk about mirror neurons and super mirror neurons, it's telling that they use "a particularly heart-palpitating race in Burnout" as their example.

What's going on in Burnout isn't just neurons firing, you've also got hormones pumping.

Hormones are the reason that simulators are only so effective. When I skid out on ice during a driving game, I don't panic and think "Oh SHIT! I'm gonna die." In real life, even if I don't get hit with a flood of chemicals at the moment I fucked up, afterwards, my body & brain will practically be awash with them.

Simulations & games don't have real consequences and for the most part, your brain and body knows the difference.

tinfoil (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652367)

will wrapping ur head in tinfoil help?

lol i was around slashdot for too long as well

Pac Man behaviour (2, Funny)

La Gris (531858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652410)

Will people who played pac man, enjoy dark places with blinking colors while hearing buzz music and eating pills. Oh wait...

Hmmm (4, Insightful)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652465)

I do research on mirror neurons... I work with Marco Iacoboni who is quoted in the article. I also play WoW.

One question that is not yet answered is just how realistic a computer generated movement has to be to engage the mirror neuron system, and what properties of the movement our motor neurons really pay attention to. Much of the research on mirror neurons focuses on reaching and grasping movements (since these are important to monkeys where the data were first recorded). Those kinds of things tend to be pretty poorly implemented in computer games in my experience, while gross movements like walking and running seem pretty convincing.

It would be an interesting study to compare mirror neuron activity while watching live actors to watching computer generated avatars. You would probably get more activity in gamers who are familiar with the virtual movements.

Obvious (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652573)

It's obvious that video games affect people's brains. Every experience shapes our world view. In other news: Breathing affects our lungs.

I remember playing Doom as a kid and being startled by imps or the growl of a pink beast coming up behind me. That doesn't mean that in the real world I'm going to be tricked by my brain into thinking there is an actual imp coming to get me if I hear a screech in the distance. It's the same as reading. When I read a Star Trek book, I'm not in the 24th Century, but a brain scan of my thought processes might indicate that. Humans like to immerse themselves in fiction, it's why so much of our entertainment is fiction based. Only nutty people would think that their special kid is seeing ghosts after they watch The Sixth Sense. Why would sane people try to accuse video games of making their kids try to fly, or race cars?

Reality vs. Videogames (5, Insightful)

0311 (796591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14652931)

I served in the Marine Corps reserve as a squad leader in a LAR company (Charlie Co., 4th LAR, 4th MARDIV, 1994-2002). I have trained in every skill the LAR scouts are tested on. I have worked with miles gear, planned and led training in combat, security and recon patrols in the mountains, in urban and desert environments; I have called for fire for mortar, artillery and air strikes. All in training. I have also played FPS games and let me tell you, nothing about it is the same. Throw on a flak vest, kevlar and 30-60 lbs. of gear, ammo and food, then lead your fellow Marines into 90+ degree weather on a 2000 meter patrol route through mountainous terrain, culminating in a full-on assault on a motorized pop-up target range. In gas masks. And that's just training. Never been to combat, myself. Tell me, which part of that is similar to sitting on your lazy butt in your living room, waggling your fingers and thumbs? None of it? Good Answer!! There are so many elements to armed combat that lead up to the possibility of pulling the trigger that comparing the two seems ludricrous to me. If videogames were anything like the real thing then in an FPS you would only be shooting a minute or two out of every hour. When your FPS game comes with 120 lbs of gear, a couple of cases of ammo, a rifle, some uniforms and five months of military, physical and combat training, then you can start making comparisons. Or you could simply join the Marines. If you could hack it. Maybe, on 2nd thought, you are better off in your living room.

Re:Reality vs. Videogames (0, Flamebait)

trepan (593758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653545)

Perhaps the links between violence in the real world and violence in gaming weren't meant to compare those who dedicate their lives to the military but to those who pick up a gun on the weekend and decide to shoot up their family or friends.

But, thanks for flaming anyawy ;-)

Re:Reality vs. Videogames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14655550)

It's still true though. If videogames "taught people how to kill", we'd have kids trying to figure out how to type +mouselook on their daddy's rifle. Not to mention kids knocked on their ass bawling when the kickback from their shotgun hits them in the chest or face. I have yet to see a game that teaches how to take the safety off, load the weapon, or any other information about the basic operation of a weapon. The only one that might come close is any gun with a laser sight, assuming that they know what range daddy adjusted the "dot" for.

Accuracy isn't the issue. . . (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14655779)

It's acceptance of the reality.

Or more precisely, creating a population which will be inclined to accept a certain type of reality.

People hanker for the real world to fit what they think their brains are wired for. It's a subconscious drive. Once that reality is achieved, it hardly matters if there are discrepancies between reality and the simulator/mind-programming systems; Bush and his elitist friends are still getting rich in signing billions of dollars in weapons contracts.


-FL

Re:Reality vs. Videogames (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663159)

Totally agree with you, although I don't have your insight. And even when it comes to shooting, I don't see what aiming with a crosshair with your mouse has to do anything with holding an actual gun, let alone operating it, you can play as many FPS's as you like, you still won't know how to operate a gun, besides pulling the trigger, provided that that's all it takes to shoot.

A FPS player's two cents

Yet another spurious soft science article (1)

Expert Determination (950523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14653341)

This article reminds me of Moliè's doctor who explained the soporific effect of morphine through its "dormitive effect". In particular I refer to the sentence:
what it suggests is that we have in our brains some mechanism that may induce some form of immediate behavior..."
We know very little about the workings of the human brain. We do have some high level models which don't tell us much more than folk psychology. And we have some detailed low level models. But we don't really have the tools to connect between these descriptions of the brain. What we do have is a long way from being able to make any kind of deduction from the pattern of firing in some neurons to actual behaviour. All this researcher has done is invent his own "dormitive principle" (some mechanism that my induce some form of immediate behaviour...) and then use some research about neurons, whose connection is only tenuous, to lend it apparent legitimacy.

Autism (3, Insightful)

millennial (830897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14654311)

Scientists have also linked mirror neurons to autism. It has been suggested that in the autistic brain, mirror neurons are either absent or in short supply. Mirror neurons fire off a signal whenever we see another person exhibiting any signs of emotion or stress, so it makes sense that they would fire off whenever we see a character doing something we would consider stressful. It's part of what helps us be part of a larger community of empathic beings. This explains why mirror neurons are linked to autism: Autistic people often have great difficulty understanding the emotions and motives of others, and thus seem entirely alien and separate to most non-autistic people. It also explains why some people cried when Aeris died :)

Oh wow... what a surprise... (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14654634)

So you mean to tell me that the fast analysis response neurons in the fusiform gyrus actually learn and respond when you're playing a game which just might require fast intuitive response?

Blimey! I'd never have guessed that.

Mirror neurons are used to make split-second judgements. They're behind what most people call "intuition" or "gut feeling". And you make those decisions in less than a second - incredibly well, surprisingly.

Go read the book Blink! - it's full of information about how this system works.

Do virtual reactions affect our lives and thoughts (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14654722)

No they don't! *searches around frantically for a "Cancel" button*

Why are you so afraid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14654882)

I don't get it. The knee-jerk reaction to a news story like this is always: "Oh, that's stupid, blah blah blah, more anti-videogame-violence crusading."

But listen, jeezus. Don't you at least want to hear the arguments first? Look at the research? *Understand* the research, even a little?

I mean, if there is some validity to the theory that violent videogames (yes, and movies and television and whatever) *lead* to violent behavior, even indirectly, wouldn't you at least want to *know*?

Why are /.ers so afraid even of the suggestion?
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