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Videogames Really Are Linked to Violence

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the much-like-your-average-poet-is-linked-to-black-clothing dept.

Games 204

ahoehn writes "Amanda Schaffer has written a refreshingly balanced piece about the connection between video games and violence. Instead of regurgitating the typical reactionary voices in this debate, she looks at what scientific studies suggest about the issue. From the article: 'Pathological acts of course have multiple, complex causes and are terribly hard to predict. And clearly, millions of people play Counter-Strike, Halo, and Doom and never commit crimes. But the subtler question is whether exposure to video-game violence is one risk factor for increased aggression: Is it associated with shifts in attitudes or responses that may predispose kids to act out? A large body of evidence suggests that this may be so ... Given this, it makes sense to be specific about which games may be linked to harmful effects and which to neutral or good ones. Better research is also needed to understand whether some kids are more vulnerable to video-game violence, and how exposure interacts with other risk factors for aggression like poverty, psychological disorders, and a history of abuse.'"

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maybe violent people like violent video games (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18934355)

I'm not a scientist, but I've played one in a video game.

Re:maybe violent people like violent video games (5, Informative)

bradkittenbrink (608877) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934479)

For once, that sentiment was actually expressed in TFA:

Each of these approaches has its flaws. The first kind of correlational study can never prove that video-game playing causes physical aggression. Maybe aggressive people are simply more apt to play violent games in the first place. Meanwhile, the randomized trials, like Anderson and Dill's, which do imply causation, necessarily depend on lab-based measures of aggression, such as whether subjects blast each other with noise. This is a respected measure, but obviously not the same as seeing whether real people hit or shoot each other.

Re:maybe violent people like violent video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18936441)

Sooooo, Dr. Freeman I presume.

Bullskeet. (2, Insightful)

supasam (658359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934361)

I like how the blurb says absolutely nothing new about the topic.

Re:Bullskeet. (2, Insightful)

SphericalCrusher (739397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936231)

Yeah, that tends to really get on my nerves. The title seems like it's stating a fact, although the article is based on opinions and "Scientific research." I would appreciate it if they would not make their titles jump to conclusions in order to pull reader's attentions. But I guess that's business, right?

In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (5, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934381)

But what is important is, which one of them is the major culprit in the process of "farting".

with the fantastically loose relation-establishing logic of this article, correlation between snooker, billards and 3-pool and violence can be established too. But, we then need to discern which of these billards game types are a major factor in committing violent crimes.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18934433)

But what is important is, which one of them is the major culprit in the process of "farting".

Well, conventional wisdom suggests that "he who smelt it, dealt it" so I'd say the nose plays a pretty important role.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18935273)

Damn. I'd blame it on the dog, but he has no nose.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (2, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935799)

So how does he... waiiiiit, I'm not falling for that one.

Not again.

Not after last time.


Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18935355)

I disagree.

Clearly, he who denied it supplied it.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (2, Funny)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936245)

Nay, Sir....
Ya said the rhyme, ya did the crime...

...and thanks for the 30-year flashback!

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (1)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936647)

Well, conventional wisdom suggests that "he who smelt it, dealt it" so I'd say the nose plays a pretty important role.

Not according to the Mythbusters.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18935171)

WTF is wrong with you people? Just because violent video games is not the main cause of violence does not mean it cannot be a contributing factor. Why else do you think the military makes people practice shooting targets over and over again?

Go ahead, come back with some asinine comparisons. Bah.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18935349)

Go ahead, come back with some asinine comparisons.

Asinine: I'd give her face a two, and her asinine.

Like that?

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (5, Insightful)

warewolfe (877477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935571)

I hate replying to ACs, but...

There is another and more logical reason for the army to have it's soldiers practice shooting at targets and that is to become better at hitting their targets. I'm guessing that is why it is called "target practice" and not "desensitisation drill".

Frankly the idea that violent people like violent things makes a lot more sense than being brain washed by computer games.

Here is my "Asinine comparison". Opening umbrellas causes rain as there is a strong correlation between rain and the people opening their umbrellas. Well, maybe I can not prove it "causes" rain but I think I can get away with saying that it is a contributing factor.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18936947)

Well, I can say anecdotally (which is not data) that I don't play FPS games. However, I did have a spell where I went online and played some Quake with a couple of friends (and did it in person, as well). I can say the first few days, my dreams and thoughts were a bit scary (think going postal). This has happened to a friend of mine as well. Both of us are somewhat well adjusted, and I can say I won't be handling guns and going on a rampage. However, this does not mean there aren't ill effects or that I wasn't influenced. There may be some small element of truth, or some tiny effect that happened. For those "on the edge", this may push them over. For the rest of us, nothing happens, except that a few suddenly get started by these new thoughts, feelings and dreams.

And violent games are used by some miliaries to help train soldiers so that if they have to kill, they will kill, and not hesitate (which will get them killed). Even if it means they end up a bit maladjusted for normal society (there are anecdotal reports of ex-military men doing things like tearing up bars and other such matter). It's based on the fact that people become desensitized to it. Kill a million virtual beings on screen, makes killing a real one less... real (may regret it afterwards due to regular conscience, but during the heat of the moment, bang, they're dead, you're the hero of the second). Add a little bravado, a little hero worship (gee, he killed 10 people today!), and it'll become a Good Thing, at least when it comes time. Afterwards, when the mission is over... who gives a damn? A few beers will wipe away whatever the conscience says.

Of course, none of this is conclusive because they're all anecdotal. But there may be some small link somewhere. I'd certainly like to know the relation between me playing Quake for a week then having dreams of shooting stuff. To deny it is just as bad as to say it's true - there's just too many variables to make it a causal effect.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (1)

mightyQuin (1021045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936265)

How's this for a comparison: decrease in number of pirates contributing factor to increase in global warming.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (2, Interesting)

Debug0x2a (1015001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936915)

Strange, according to the **AA there has actually been an increase in the number of pirates. So do pirates cause global warming? Sounds like an argument the **AA would have a field day with.

Re:In other news, my butt is linked to my nose (2, Insightful)

Zero_DgZ (1047348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936491)

"Why else do you think the military makes people practice shooting targets over and over again?"

Uh. Because a large part of what the military does involves making you shoot at things? Notice that as part of your training the military does not make you play a bunch of Unreal Tournament. If you were becoming a truck driver they'd make you drive a lot of trucks. If you were becoming a pilot they'd make you fly a lot of planes, &c.

Irrelevent (3, Insightful)

wframe9109 (899486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934457)

We've known from past studies that gaming is one of many, many factors influencing aggressive behavior. The extremely limited extent of this effect, and the fact that it's far more subdued in the vast majority of the population makes it a non-issue.

A decent ratings policy, combined with enforcement for some of the more mature games w/ younger children should suffice...

Anyhow, today I did two things apart from study: play counter-strike, and play tennis. I have to say, I was *far* more ready for a throwdown after playing in 15-30mph wind for a few minutes. Stressors happen. So do idiots who blame them for everything.

Re:Irrelevent (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18937081)

I think anyone doing even a cursory examination that a major contributor to aggressive and belligerent behavior is TESTOSTERONE...

But you don't see Thompson suing steroid makers for making violent people...

What I would like to see.... (3, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934473)

... is a study that can differentiate between videogames increasing the violent tendencies of the player and increasingly violent people playing violent videogames. Anything else is just trying to translate correlation into causation with a lot of handwaving.

Can videogames affect the mindset of people? Sure - I'm sure I'm not the only one who, after a particularly intense multi-player session of burnout ponders the best way to force the slowpoke ahead of you off the road. But I'm also sure that I'm not the only one who has realized that this is not the proper way to deal with a slowpoke ahead of you blocking traffic. What I'd like to see in one of these studies is the establishment of the direction of the link, and whether the increase in violent thought patterns translated into action. If someone can actually show that, I'll be all on-board the "violent videogames are bad for you" band-wagon. Anything short of that, and I'll fight for my right to play the latest Doom-incarnation without censor interference.

Re:What I would like to see.... (4, Interesting)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935061)

Last year I was discussing something similar with a friend.

They say people who watch wrestling are more likely to be violent.

I ask, is it not the other way around?

Perhaps people who are naturally violent are more likely to watch wrestling?

Re:What I would like to see.... (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936057)

In psychology (hell, in science), the difference between coloration and causation is what you are taught on the very first day you go to class at university. If a study is conducted properly (and of course, people who study psychology and science will sometimes disagree if one is,) it renders your question moot. This is the very purpose of conducting studies, to isolate causation rather than correlation.

Perhaps people who are naturally violent are more likely to watch wrestling?

Surely you don't think that psychologists are totally unaware of this possibility?? Studies are specifically designed to attempt to remove all possible ambiguity of the conclusion? Chances are, if it comes up in a conversation between two friends, the people who go to school for this stuff for 5 to 9 years have probably given it a thought too. Thats their job, to ensure that psychology, physics, science, art, etc rises above what a few people sitting around a lunch table can come up with.

Re:What I would like to see.... (1)

MonkeyBoy (4760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18937103)

Personally, I beat the ever living shit out of kids who screwed with me when I was a young brat. Got sent around to a couple schools because of it. Other kids would push my buttons, get the shit kicked out of them, then smirk as I'm getting punished. Well, at least they were only smirking out of the side of their face that still worked.

Didn't play a video game in the world back then. Because video games didn't exist. I'm like old 'n stuff.

These days my favorite games are Pikimin & Pikimin 2, and though I play Desert Combat from time to time, that doesn't mean I only play violent violent streak was established lonnnnnnnng before video games were even around.

Similarly, I highly doubt that violent people are being made more violent or even being MADE violent by games. People are what they are long before games ever enter the picture.

Re:What I would like to see.... (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936517)

Unsurprisingly, this has been done. (I say unsurprisingly because psychologists are not stupid and are generally well trained in statistical analysis - something we could all do well to remember). Indeed, had you read the article, you would know that these sorts of studies are mentioned in the very article you are criticizing.

In the study they mention [ tracts/2000-2004/00AD.pdf], *random* college students are asked to play a video game. Half play Myst, the other half play Wolf 3D. Guess which group exhibited more violent behavior afterwards? So, yes, "the direction of the link" has been established. You, and other Slashdot readers, are not the first to think of this question.

Now, I'm not saying that this means we should regulate violent video games - lots of things spur violent behavior and we cannot and should not outlaw them all. But, when people claim that violent video games breed violence, they *are* in fact supported by experimental evidence.

Re:What I would like to see.... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18937091)

Unsuprisingly (because people know that human behavior is complex and rarely traceable to a single cause), the author also says "This is a respected measure, but obviously not the same as seeing whether real people hit or shoot each other." We're talking about trying to figure out whether violent videogames like Postal change people from law-abiding citizens to mass-murderers. Or at least, make them dysfunctional. What is being tracked is whether the violence on-screen translates into similar actions/violence in real life. As a lot of other people pointed out, the increase in aggressiveness is similar to what is seen after a lot of other high-energy activities. That's not nearly the same thing what's being advocated by the Tipper Gores of the world, or what people mean when they say "violent videogames cause violent behavior".

Re:What I would like to see.... (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18937139)

In the study they mention [ tracts/2000-2004/00AD.pdf], *random* college students are asked to play a video game. Half play Myst, the other half play Wolf 3D. Guess which group exhibited more violent behavior afterwards? [...] But, when people claim that violent video games breed violence, they *are* in fact supported by experimental evidence.
To be supported by experimental evidence, the results must be repeatable even when you change variables. For example, replacing Wolf 3D with BattleChess or replacing Myst with Juiced [] .

If the "violence theory" is true, then such a change shouldn't affect the results. As you know, the game of chess is violent - you have to destroy the enemy's army (Battlechess in particular also uses violent animations whenever a piece is captured). Likewise, Juiced isn't violent (and attempts at violence impedes game progression), as it's merely a racing game.

Re:What I would like to see.... (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18937207)

Yes, they are supported by some psychological experiments that were set out to pinpoint violent games as the culprit of increased violent potential. Still, the results were rather shaky and the one mentioned in particular apparently did not believe in control groups. In fact, from the study done, an equally likely conclusion could be that Myst has an incredible calming effect and deters violence, while the Wolfenstein players were acting at normal levels of aggression. To get there, you have to scroll past the study into the violent potential of Mario. I don't know though, I think another good control group might be people playing a high intensity racing game and the effects of playing sports. In fact, it might just be that adrenaline increases violent potential.

More personal experience... (3, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936783)

First, I want to establish something: I am not in favor of censorship in this area, ever. In fact, I'm not in favor of pretty much any kind of censorship, even kiddie pr0n -- go after the psycho who made it, not the pervert with a stack of DVDs.

No matter what the effect of a piece of information, it is the effect that should be policed, not the information. In other words, if violent video games cause people to be violent, then police those people, not the violent games themselves. A game can't make you violent unless you let it.

With that out of the way...

Videogames have not made me more violent, measured in acts of violence. I'm actually not that aggressive. But violent games, anime, and movies probably have given me more of a capacity for violence.

For example: I am completely desensitized to the games I play: Counter-Strike: Source, Quake 3, etc. CS:S, for example: I can shoot a fairly realistic-looking human in the face, watch them crumple to the ground, blood splattered on the wall behind them, and feel nothing at all. I can do this all day -- in general, games, especially multiplayer ones, do not give me any kind of adrenaline rush.

I've also been to the arcade, so in a basic sense (Time Crisis 2, House of the Dead), I know how to pick up a gun, aim, and fire.

I do occasionally listen to the news, and oddly, I felt worse for certain characters who die in certain movies (Serenity, spoiler alert, etc) than I did when I heard about the Virginia shooting. I'm talking purely on a feeling level here -- the movie almost brought me to tears, but the news simply made me go "meh" or "wtf". Intellectually, I understand that one is real and the other isn't, but I think I would have to know the kids who died to be able to mourn for them.

Still, I can't say that it's fundamentally changed me. If I was the kind of person who would solve problems by punching someone, well, I now know how to point and shoot, and clean up after. But I'm not that kind of person -- sure, it does occur to me that it might be easier if I could just spray an Uzi across the room, but I choose not to.

So it comes back to, guns don't kill, people do. The videogames and guns may have enabled that student, but they weren't the root cause. Certainly, we could react by tightening gun laws, or tightening security at schools, but we should also be trying to create a world where, given the choice, people won't choose to kill each other. On an individual level, especially -- were that kid's parents there for him? Anyone in his dorm?

Stupidly idealistic, I know. But it's a start, I hope.

Hmmm.. maybe... (3, Informative)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934477)

...but maybe not. All of these studies are by the same researcher, a guy named Craig Anderson, who has been pushing his conclusion long before he had any data for it. There is a strong confirmation bias at work here. His latest study argues that people who play games like Halo are more aggressive at the end of the school term than people who play something like Myst.

But here's the complication. Myst appeals to casual gamers--people who play games in their spare time. Halo appeals to hardcore gamers, who do it as a hobby. That means they make time for it. Given that the time they make for it may be time taken from their studies, and their work load may be piling up, is this result due to the aggressive influence of gaming, or due to the impact of the stress of having their workload pile up at the end of the term? Too much work, and too little time to do it, will make anyone irritable, impatient, and aggressive. All he has demonstrated here is that the people who play Myst are different from the people who play Halo. Duh! The industry could have told him that years ago.

Recent research into human behaviour finds too main causal factors: genetic predisposition (measured in twin studies), and peer influence (for example, why do children speak with the accent of their peers and not that of their parents.) These probably account for as much as 90% of variance. The remaining 10% includes parent, teachers, life experience, and all media. So how much influence is left for video games? Not a lot.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (3, Funny)

Kraeloc (869412) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934495)

You clearly never played Myst. I spent a good solid year at that game, and filled many notebooks. I was NOT what you'd call a casual gamer.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934719)

I remember those days.

You wouldn't happen to know of anything recent like that, would you? Preferably something that'll run on Linux?

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18934763)

It's quite a puzzle.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934973)

Already figured that one out when a friend needed someone to set up spam filtering. Fun game, that.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

seaturnip (1068078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935509)

Try the Myst sequels maybe? To my knowledge there don't really exist any other game quite like it.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

Kraeloc (869412) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935973)

Aura [] looks pretty good, but I haven't played it. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be anything recent that's very close to Myst. Try realMYST [] if you're looking for a spot of nostalgia, or a clone that isn't based on Hypercard. I've played the demo, and it seems pretty good.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

triso (67491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934769)

You clearly never played Myst. I spent a good solid year at that game, and filled many notebooks. I was NOT what you'd call a casual gamer.
What! A "solid year" to complete Myst? What did you fill the "many notebooks" with? A week with a page of scribbles was the longest I've heard from my mates. It was a simple game behind the fancy graphics.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935937)

Granted, I was only in first grade when I first played Myst, but it took me several months to figure out all the ages, and I still have dozens of pages of notes. I didn't figure out the solution to the selenitic age tram until after solving it by brute force, so I have one sheet of paper consisting of just a map of that maze. Riven didn't take me that long, but it was still tough. I had to learn base 25 D'ni numbering on my own. The later games weren't as tough, though.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

Kraeloc (869412) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935999)

I was 8, and I was working on a Performa 500-something. I not only got to the end of the game, but finished ALL the puzzles on ALL the ages. I was also limited in my computer time by my parents, who thought my obsession was a bit unhealthy.

Of course, now they've embraced it, knowing that it's going to be paying for a chunk of their retirement.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

illaqueate (416118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935487)

that blog post isn't balanced. it's an uncritical regurgitation of of "findings" in a field riddled with errors and wishful thinking driven research. even craig anderson himself is more careful in his claims today.

i like the part on anderson's web page where he admits that there isn't any evidence that video games have any more effect than any other violent media even on his terms (the badly designed studies he published leading up to the nature article that was full of ridiculous overstatements even if you uncritically grant the leaps of logic about weakly observable effects)

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1)

jpfed (1095443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935985)

Recent research into human behaviour finds too main causal factors: genetic predisposition (measured in twin studies), and peer influence (for example, why do children speak with the accent of their peers and not that of their parents.) These probably account for as much as 90% of variance. The remaining 10% includes parent, teachers, life experience, and all media. So how much influence is left for video games? Not a lot.
Behavior is not a scalar quantity, so it does not have scalar variance. One can devise scalar measures for particular aspects of behavior, and it may then be possible to account for the variance in those measures, but it is completely nonsensical to speak of accounting for 90% of variance in behavior overall. This much, any psychology researcher worth their salt could tell you. But let's pretend you have a scalar measure of behavior and you want to start accounting for the variance in your measurements to develop explanations for where the variance "comes from". It's a lot trickier than you think. Let's say we have a data set with a bunch of variables. How much variance in, say, lung capacity does alcohol consumption account for? That depends. You could just look at their correlation (r squared) and take the square root. Or you could "partial out" other variables first (like cigarette smoking) using partial correlations or stepwise regression. The amount of variance accounted for by a particular variable depends on what other variables you're taking into account. When our predictor variables are linked, the order of predictors in the regression makes a big difference (what if we had data on time spent at bars, which would be correlated with secondhand smoke and with alcohol consumption?) In short, to say that two variables account for 90% of the variance in behavior is simplistic at best and nonsensical at worst.

Re:Hmmm.. maybe... (1, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936637)

Here is the problem. Just as some people see violent video games as an easy scapegoat other refuse to consider the possibility that they do contribute to violence.
I have played video games for 30 odd years. I am now what I consider a casual gamer but in the past I was pretty hard core for the time.
A video game will not make a good Quaker in to a mass murder. However they do influence you mood. I can remember going to Malibu Grand prix and driving a few laps. I soon learned that I need to wait a little while to drive home because I was wired that my driving tended to be a little aggressive.
Like alcohol violent and intense video games probably can cause problems for people with a certain predispositions and or a lack of life experience.
Should parents worry if teens and pre-teens are playing to many violent video games? Probably, but I would worry if they where reading too many handgun magazines and or apocalyptic literature as well. It could very well be that playing a lot of violent video games is a possible symptom and not cause. Or it could be a contributing factor.

BTW the reason that violent crime was so low around late nineties was because of an economic boom.

Shenanigans! (0, Redundant)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934487)

Millions of people but some of those people , conclusion why should we be worried again?

Re:Shenanigans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18934501)


Re:Shenanigans! (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934529)

Millions of people *do random activity* but some of those people *activity we don't like*, conclusion why should we be worried again?
*stupid formatting problems*

Re:Shenanigans! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935835)

Millions of people <use pointy brackets> but some of those people <post them on slashdot>, conclusion why should we be worried again?


WHAT??? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18934515)

i play CS:Source almost every day and i'm NOT FUCKING VIOLENT oke??? I will CRUSH YOUR HEADS if you ever bring this topic up again.

Agression vs. Violence (3, Insightful)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934537)

The study in TFA basically compares the way players of Myst and Wolf 3-D treat each other. Amazing! In a game that deliberately increases adrenaline through various means (play Wolf 3D if you haven't, you'll jump out of your skin in some places even though the graphics are really low-tech), players show aggressive behaviour toward one another. I bet we'd see this effect in other competitions that are heavy on the adrenaline, such as football or hockey.

Myst, on the other hand, does not involve anything of the sort, focusing instead on intellectual puzzles. There's no real time pressure except for the other players. An RL analogue I suppose would be Chess. Not surprisingly, highly intellectual activities where the players are not directly competing with each other leads to a more patient sort of competitive behaviour. Less adrenaline means more reasonable discourse.

The question, of course, is whether activities that cause high adrenaline actually do cause violence. I'd say yes, though in many cases the violence is contained to a particular activity, say sacking the quarterback. I'd say I'm a violent, aggressive person. However, I'd also add that I try to keep those tendencies away from places where it's not appropriate. I love a good adrenaline rush, and I'd rather not take cocaine or meth to get one. Just because WoW and football bring out my overly dominant tendancies doesn't mean that WoW and football are bad, nor WoW players and football players.

For some real news, try finding a causal link between people who have high-adrenaline outlets (don't forget competitive sports!) and violent criminals (as determined by conviction rate). I doubt that we'll find anything significant there.

Re:Agression vs. Violence (1)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934993)

So how is it that in chess you are not directly competing against each other? I actually get quite heated in a chess game.. but on to the bigger point. While adrenaline might be a factor, it is really a small factor compared to the bigger picture. Countless studies have shown that even after just viewing violent content people have a greater tendency towards agression or mimicking behavior. (The bobo doll experiment has been done again and again with the same results with children, just to name one experiment) Personally I don't believe this means that violent games or movies should be banned, in the end it is the person's own choices and mental state that make the decision to harm someone. But I think it is worth a look to see if one can identify any more possible influences that could be identified by observing how one plays violent games that might help identify unstable people so they can be helped.

Re:Agression vs. Violence (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935173)

Thanks for the bobo doll comment. Just read the wikipedia link on it - very interesting!

Re:Agression vs. Violence (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935641)

Well, I definitely have as much a struggle with myself as with my opponent when I play Chess. I usually lose the game myself, and don't really have much to get angry at my opponent about anything except taking advantage of my blunders. I can certainly see that Chess could lead to very heated arguments, and yet I rarely see things like this happening.

some people are just wired wrong (4, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934613)

How is this any different than Joe Six-pack who gets pissed off after his team looses on Monday Night Football and decides to beat his wife to take out his frustrations, or the guy that has a bad hole on the golf course and wraps his driver around a tree? There have been losers like that since Ally Oop lost 20 clams on a Mastodon race, went back to his cave and clubbed his wife. Some people just can't handle things not going their way. If there was a way to screen them and take them out of gene pool I'd be all for it, but to try and point the root cause to some external influence is just shifting the blame. The problem isn't that Johnny plays counterstrike; it's that Johnny has a violent temper and lack of self control. You can plug any anything in place of video games, the stock market, sports even jobs, basically anything that can involve a positive or negative outcome can lead to violence in a person inclined to be violent.

Re:some people are just wired wrong (4, Insightful)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935063)

I wanted to Parent as insightful but I'd like him to consider the fact that it is a very similar
aggression that allows people to see an injustice and actually do something about it rather than
sit on the sidelines. Also if it wasn't for this kind of aggression do you think we'd of had a civil
rights movement? Some times the only way to make things 'right' is by aggression. I'm not saying that
every one should as aggressive as they are in a video game. I'm just saying that you can't totally
decry this part of our humanity(or is that instinct?) because it is very vital to your own personal
continued existence when it comes to actual injustice. The problem as I see it is that no one taught these
kind of people what to expect from life. And there is the rub, because not many video games teach you how
to loose graciously, where life sometimes demands it.

Re:some people are just wired wrong (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936207)

You made me sad, send me a million bucks.

What people don't seem to get about civil rights movements is they require 3 things, people who feel there is an injustice, people who feel guilty and people in power who believe justice isn't being served.

People who feel there is an injustice are arguably the smallest part of the equation, homosexuals and slaves had little or no voice before their civil rights movements were born. The guilt is a product of "White Civility" and while spreading isn't universal (See South Africa's battle with sexism and homophobia after apharteid). The third relies on the second one, defining fair is always complicated (people would like to think it means treating everyone equally, which is rarely the case and wouldn't have helped racism) but usually boils down to "giving to each according to their needs."

As far as videogames contributing to school violence (Which is the link they are trying to establish) I agree there is probably a causative element, however gun control and anti-bullying measures in schools would be far more effective and really wouldn't harm anyone.

Your assumption that people should unilaterally pursue injustice is the root of the problem, most bullies come from broken/poor/disenfranchised homes and feel that there is no justice therefore violence is an acceptable root to power. The same kind of thinking which leads to people wanting to own guns.

Lets assume this is a problem of the U.S.A. and created by the U.S.A. (They seem to have more shootings than anyone else). To produce gun control you need to have a reasonable government which strikes a balance between anarchy and facism. People should realize that civilization is damn hard to maintain only about 20% of crimes are solved and when that number reaches about 15% you get total anarchy (People don't think the government can catch/protect them) whereas when it reaches 40-50% it rapidly degenerates into the 70-80% range (as people stop commiting crimes and therefor feel justified in treating criminals more harshly). The U.S.A. has stopped citizens from having unliscenced weapons while at the same time divorcing the military from the will of the people, encouraging conservative gun ownership. Meanwhile the divide between rich and poor is growing and opportunities are disapearing, creating people who feel disenfranchised (and in that situation like you said feel justified resorting to violence and other forms of crime).

As far as "What you should expect from life" that pretty much singles you out as middle class in that you feel the depictions of wealth on TV are unreasonable, if you live in the ghetto you can't tell truth from fiction because the happy rich people all look like they stepped off the screen.

The nature of these crimes isn't in that these guys are trying to fight for a better place in society, they are lashing out against a society they feel is against them. Video games often depict such scenarios, while this might seem dangerous its a good element in society to have depictions of utopias that reflect the flaws in society and distopias that magnify them. And since the government doesn't care about most minorities (Glasses wearers, youth etc) they're right to get pissed.

Presenting these studies: Smarmy McJunkscience (5, Insightful)

ductonius (705942) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934623)

Two of the studies use kids - who the entire video game industry agrees shouldn't play violent games, and to that extent has developed a rating system to help *parents* control this.

The third study simply says that the college undergrads were more aggressive after engaging in a mentally stimulating activity. People tend to be more aggressive right after watching sports too. We've known this for years.

So, what we have here is two studies that have very low validity because they have nothing to do with reality and one that's deliberately designed to come to the conclusion 'video-games make people aggressive'.

Can we have some real science now, please?

Re:Presenting these studies: Smarmy McJunkscience (1)

ClassMyAss (976281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935437)

People tend to be more aggressive right after watching sports too. We've known this for years.
Not to mention those who play sports! Quick, compare how many times in high school you were physically threatened or hurt by a jock versus a video game nut. Can anyone honestly say that the videogame kids are more dangerous overall? The football players I knew were (and to my knowledge, have been as long as the damn sport has been around!) always the most obnoxious, arrogant, and physically abusive people around. Yet you never hear people trying to get football banned from our schools, though the ultimate price that everyone pays is likely much larger than that from video games.

Re:Presenting these studies: Smarmy McJunkscience (2, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935965)

The football players I knew were (and to my knowledge, have been as long as the damn sport has been around!) always the most obnoxious, arrogant, and physically abusive people around.
Other than the physical part, I've found there are always people who are arrogant, obnoxious, and abusive when they are in an element they feel they control. Try playing as a noob on WoW, and you'll enjoy a few people who "have 4 level 60 chars" and spew out obscenities and verbal abuse.

What I don't understand... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18934639)

If videogames cause violence, why have the years that have whitnessed the birth and rise of videogames seen the sharpest drop in violent crime rates. Particularly when something which has been acknowledged to increase crime, wealth disparity, has grown so profoundly. Looking at these trends I'd be tempted to conclude that videogames confer a protective effect.

Re:What I don't understand... (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935935)

What do you mean? Crime rates for all violent crimes are up by a hundred bazillion percent over here in Liberty City...

you insensitive clod. :P

pffffffft! (0, Troll)

thegnu (557446) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934651)

Video games cause violence? PFFFFFFFT! I'll meet any m+f-er who tries to pry my controller from my fingers with a hail of bullets.

A m-f-ing hail, my bitches. Of bullets. That's right. ;-)

No different than "risk factors" for anything else (1)

psu_whammy (940612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934687)

There are a lot of various diseases and psychological states that have a medium-to-long list of risk factors. Who says that violent video games CAN'T be one?

For example, risk factors for a heart attack include high blood pressure, a bad diet, family history, and lack of exercise. Obviously, having any one of those isn't necessarily a bad thing by itself. It's when you combine a whole bunch of them that you need to be worried.

I mean, all the people who buy Grand Theft Auto can't be all psychopaths. But a few might be... and more than likely there are a bunch of other signs that the rest of those buyers aren't going to share.

Re:No different than "risk factors" for anything e (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935651)

I think that the point is that /nothing/ shows that violent video games are a major contributing factor. At least nothing resembling an actual scientific study. And this one is no different than any other.

As someone has said above, one must move to prove an actual causal link and not just a simple correlation.

New study (3, Funny)

Joe U (443617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934691)

And a new study conducted by me says everyone is unique in their own way and reacts differently to different situations.

Yay, I saved billions in research, someone send me a new gaming rig, my old P4 is showing it's age.

(If you don't, I'll play a few levels of Doom at you.)

The burden of proof is against the author's side (4, Insightful)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934725)

Given that violent crime dropped dramatically from the mid-90s on (during the same time period in which the first generation to grow up with violent videogames came of age) the burden of proof for this lies on the side that proposes a link between videogames and violence. Unless there is really clear proof that violent crime would be even lower than it already is, I don't see much of a positive correlation between the two in the real world.

Re:The burden of proof is against the author's sid (1)

jpfed (1095443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936039)

In general society, there may have been something other than the prevalence of videogames that has changed between then and now. That's what experiments are for- to try to set up an environment that ensures that the only systematic differences between the different groups you want to compare are those predictors that are interesting to you.

Books? (2, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934837)

I haven't seen any studies that indicate one way or another whether violent books contribute to violent behavior. Why is nobody concerned about this?

That's rhetorical... the answer is that video games are new and scary to a large group of relatively influential people. In a few decades, nobody will worry about this issue at all.

And, as another poster mentioned, how about the catastrophic number of injuries and deaths throughout the nation caused by sports? Why aren't people enacting panicked legislation banning sports? It's because they are familiar with sports, they played sports when they were young.

All we have to do is fight a delaying action... stop as many inane laws as possible for another 10-20 years. After that, nobody will care.

Re:Books? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935359)


There should be no question by now that if you expose a vulnerable/suggestable person to the right kind of stimulus that you can get them to do things. Clear example is the "Stockholm Syndrome". It should not be surprising that by repeatedly play-acting killing people and creating general mayhem that some people are going to be influenced to go out and kill people.

The real question is if this affects more than just particularly suggestable people or if over time people become more open to this kind of influence. Right now, the jury is out. Some folks would rather take precautions against this sort of thing happening. Whether or not this is a paranoid delusion or simply common sense has yet to be worked out.

I have no doubt that if you took a three year old male child and had them do nothing but play GTA 3 all day long until they were 16 you would have a seriously screwed up person at the end of this experiment. But until that experiment is actually performed it is really difficult to say how screwed up they would be. So far, parents have been reluctant to volunteer their three-year-olds.

We have seen some people kill over games already. They become so deeply involved in the game and are unable to discern a life outside of the game world.

So perhaps there is a question of degree here as well. Obviously, with enough exposure you can have problems. Heck, with enough exposure to ice cream you will die. Saying the danger level for exposure is zero is just as silly as saying it is infinite. But, there are no facts currently available to say what sort of people are at risk and what levels of exposure might be risky.

Furthermore... (3, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934879)

Football, baseball, hockey, basketball, dodgeball, foosball, ping-pong, bocce ball, lawn darts, beer pong, soccer, racing, raquetball, handball, volleyball, wrestling, javelin and frisbee golf have been linked to violence.

This can mean only one thing! Video games are at fault! Down with teh gory bits! Er.. wait...


This is a great topic for discussion. (2, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18934977)

I really like this topic. So I am wondering if I should use my 4 remaining mod points or post something here... Any thoughts?

Ahh.. damn.

But seriously. We've known there's a link to pretending to do something and actually ending up doing it. Look at the prisoner vs. guard studies in that college of which the name I forget... Basic idea: normal people pretended to be prisoners and other normal people pretended to be guards. After a while, the people who were pretending to be prisoners actually FELT like prisoners (even though they could leave whenever they wanted in reality) and the Guards.. oh man the guards... they started getting violent and abusive. We're talking college students.. I mean, they're the epitome of maturity, I don't understand how this could've happened :)

Ok so that wasn't entirely serious. Let me try again. People who like violence will play violent video games. This does not mean the game turned them violent. It was already in them. It's human nature. Really.


Re:This is a great topic for discussion. (1)

Echnin (607099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935889)

You are thinking about the Stanford prison experiment [] .

Interesting experiment.

Beware the Irish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18935017)

So I take it "reactionary" is one of those terms that is going to lose any useful meaning because everyone uses it wrong, like what happened with "begs the question". Oh well, language sucks anyway.

Can you regurgitate a voice? That sounds like some kind of spiritualist trickery.

One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18935159)


Linked to violence? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935181)

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Videogames and taking a shit are "linked," I guarantee you that 100% of people who play games also take a shit at some point. That doesn't mean that videogames cause bowel movements.

The reality is that people who commit acts of violence can be shown, either by previous diagnoses or by forensic analysis to have very severe personality disorders. Those personality disorders can develop due to a variety of causes, physical/sexual abuse are strongly implicated, as is poverty and a number of other situations, there may even be genetic predisposing factors. These people claiming a causative link between between playing games and the development of the kinds of personality disorders linked with violent behavior. Pointing out that guy who went on a killing spree played Counterstike, when he also had a long history of Schizophrenia and Antisocial Personality Disorder just isn't going to cut it.

In every one of these events there are warning signs, which often are ignored by family, peers, and educators (or as was the Case in the VT shooting, botched by the piss poor mental health system in the United States, the shooter had been previously committed, I think they clearly failed to make sure he was stable and on an adequate treatment regime before release.) Show me even one, ONE, case, where a kid is perfectly normal, without clear predisposing factors, and then discovers games and becomes a violent sociopath. Until that happens I remain convinced that Videogaming is no more harmful than a heated game of Checkers or Battleship.

Re:Linked to violence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18936569)

That's true but it's a lot cheaper to ban video games than it is to make the poor people not poor.

There is a market... (3, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935229)

Those that don't want violence in video games should just start producing non-violent ones. With all the violent games out there, you would guess there is quite a bit of a market left for non-violent onces, but except a little sports game here or a mini-game there, the market is mostly ignored by the developers/publishers. Where are the non-violent triple-AAA titles?

Non-violent AAA titles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18936127)

Uhhh.. *cough* Nintendo *cough*

Unless cartoonish violence doesn't count as non-violent, but then most sports games wouldn't count either, what with all the hitting and injuries.

Re:There is a market... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936225)

Same place as the triple-AAA tv series and movies that don't rely on either violence, sex or both. Seriously, they're two common themes right from Tom and Jerry beating each other up to the fight for Daisy's favor between Donald Duck and Gladstone Gander. The only question is whether it's too adult, too soon. In the bigger picture I don't think you can stop it though, though you're welcome to try on the personal parenting level.

What we need to instill that PC violence is not real violence, it's Tom and Jerry violence with real weapons. People don't respawn or restore from the last savegame. People aren't fixed by picking up a medikit, being treated by a field medic and perhaps not at all. Real violence is ugly, painful and often causes permanent damage that the victims have to live with for the rest of their lives. Real people have families that can be torn apart or have their lives turned upside down.

Yes, I suppose to some it might sound like treating the influence of a bad world by introducing a worse world, but it is more important that they get a balanced view than a glorified view. The same goes for sex ed. In a recent study here in the Nordic countries the average age to start watching porn was 12-14yo. The average sexual debut is around 17yo, and by then 99% of the boys and 86% of the girls had seen pornography, which they themselves defined as what you'd call hardcore pornography. Only 5% found it difficult to get access to pornography. That means you have in reality only two choices: Let children be educated by pornography, or provide information and guidance to get a balanced picture.

Same with violence, if 95% think it's easy to get access to porn, the figure for violence must be close to 100%. It's what the market wants. The parents can in theory buy it, but if their kids won't play it then it doesn't help. And they will have access to violent games, movies and tv series somewhere. So you can either fight the tide, or teach your child to swim.

You can always argue nature vs nuture (2, Interesting)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935245)

Does everyone who has violent tendencies who does not play video games go out and commit murder? No.

Does everyone who has violent tendencies who does play video games go out and commit murder? No.

Sometimes they do though. Who is to say that running over a hooker in GTA4 to get their money back did not push them over the edge? One could also argue that if running over the virtual hooker did not make him "snap" something else would have. You could also argue that being able to run over virtual hookers may have stopped him from "snapping" sooner. The possibilities for debate for this topic are endless but what it really comes down to is the person who does the act.

Take me for example. I have not gone on a killing spree but I have picked up smoking recently. I'm 23 years old. Both of my parents and all my family members smoked or dipped and have for all of my life. Out of the dozen or so close friends I have all but two smoke habitually and the other two will do so on occasion. Did this make me predisposed to smoking? Perhaps. Did my friends and family strap me in a chair and force me to smoke cigarettes until I was addicted? Of course not. I made a decision to smoke knowing full well the consequences that could come from my actions. If I were to go pick up a gun today, point it at someone and fire it would be decision I made for myself. I can fool myself into thinking I can get away with it just as I could fool myself that I was not going to get addicted to smoking cigarettes but the issue still remains: I pulled the trigger. Whatever mind tricks I played on myself would be because I knew I was going to get caught.

As far as being insane goes, I know if for whatever reason I did kill someone I would plead insanity and do whatever I could to pull it off. I'll take heavily medicated and alive over the needle any day. I'm sure some people who do plead insanity really are but I'm sure most are just smart enough to know how to stay alive.

Studies are a primary cause of conflict (2, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935297)

The only thing that I've learned from the debate is that studies are a primary cause of conflict.

Scientific debates always seem to end with a bunch of guys in nice outfits yelling at each other until their faces turn red.

Clearly, we need to ban science.

Studies Show Evidence to the Contrary (3, Informative)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935309)

The author of this article fails to reference a recent study that reaches completely different results.

An Institute in Australia studied 120 11-15 year-olds and concluded that violent games did affect children who were already predisposed to violence and aggression, but children who were not violent to begin with were unaffected. fected-by-violent-games/2007/04/01/1175366055463.h tml []

We should be careful here... (5, Insightful)

toddt (731370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935333)

I think we should probably be careful about hanging our hats on the argument that video games are completely innocuous, because I think there's going to be a mounting accumulation of evidence linking games to violent behavior.

Here's what we know from a neuropsych framework:
1) Impulsivity and aggression are linked to activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) (the "fight or flight" part, if you remember your basic psych). The more the sympathetic system is activated, the more likely we are to make rash, impulsive decisions. The racing-heart/sweaty/stressed feeling you get when you lose your temper? That's the sympathetic nervous system talking, hopping you up on adrenaline. (And noradrenaline, et cetera) Think of how much more likely people are to make stupid, impulsive decisions when they've lost their temper than when they're thinking "rationally". (e.g., road rage or bar fights)
2) Video games, exciting movies, gambling, and the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (if you're five) all activate the SNS. We know this from measuring galvanic skin response, looking at pupillary reflexes, or simply measuring the level of cortisol in the bloodstream.
3) It could be inferred, then, that video games are likely to increase your arousal which will then make you more likely to cut that guy off when you're driving home from the LAN match or escalate the trash talk into something physical. AS COULD ANYTHING ELSE EXCITING. We've seen this, somewhat less conclusively, from behavioral observations. Five-year olds are more likely to karate-chop the dog after some Power Ranger action. People are more likely to drive recklessly after playing a lot of Gran Turismo or watching Oceans Twelve.

In short, video games *do* change the brain... and that's why we like them. We crave excitement and novelty. We like being surprised; we like scary movies; we like jumping out of planes; we like gibbing people in Quake. We *like* jacking up our SNS.

I think we, as gamers, are setting a trap for ourselves when we say that video games have no impact on our cognition. Of course it does. Everything does. Claiming there's no mental impact of gaming is a foolish position, and when you lose this argument, it makes it that much harder to win the subsequent arguments. A more interesting question is whether games go behind the simple modulation of arousal levels. Are games fundamentally different than sky-diving, for example? I don't think so, but honestly, the jury is out. I can see the other side, too. We tend to play games for nine straight hours, when it's a rare person who sky-dives that much. When we're gaming, we actually envision ourselves in the role of Kratos, God of War, while we don't usually have that involvement with action movies. Maybe games *are* different.

Of course, the *real* question is how much this matters. Even if there were a well-controlled, randomized study showing that the amount of game time played directly correlated with the likelihood of a violent crime, is that enough cause to ban games? I think not, but, then again, I prefer not living in a nanny-state.

Anyway, just some thoughts... (and yes, I am a neuroscientist. And a gamer.)

Re:We should be careful here... (1)

jpfed (1095443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936169)

As someone about to finish their Psych and CS double-major, I have long been irritated by this "debate". Everyone I've talked to in our Psych department thinks "Well, duh, of course videogames are a risk factor for violence." and everyone I've talked to from CS says "Well, duh, of course videogames don't make people violent- you don't see me going off and killing everyone, do you?" It's not a discussion as long as people are married to their own viewpoints.

Of course, the *real* question is how much this matters. Even if there were a well-controlled, randomized study showing that the amount of game time played directly correlated with the likelihood of a violent crime, is that enough cause to ban games?

My own viewpoint is that we should go out there and find the truth. A lot of different interests are going to interpret the truth differently depending on what kinds of decisions they have power over. For example, one might look at this issue and say "as a voter, I want politicians to lay off my video games, how ever this turns out." But there are other filters through which people might decide the relevance of the issue- for example, I want to have kids someday, and if GTA is going to make it more likely that they'll have behavior problems, then I'd like to know that.

Pirates REALLY ARE responsible for Global Warming (1)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935407)

I like how the title of the article is so definitive, when really there is still a big ol' question mark. Yes, I suppose video games are linked to violence in as much as a correlation exists. Whether or not that correlation actually means anything has yet to be proven. Similarly, the decline in pirates over the past couple hundred years correlates well with the rise in global average temperature... as I'm sure you're all aware!

And Babies kill people! (2, Funny)

Renig (1090765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936185)

To add on to your argument, the birth rate has risen exponentially in recent years... and so has the death rate! Clearly we can conclude that babies kill people!

Re:Pirates REALLY ARE responsible for Global Warmi (1)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936369)

Actually, the exact opposite is true (or, more precisely, the same is true in the inverse). There has been a HUGE increase in the number of pirates in the last few decades, you know.

Holds no water (1)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935443)

The author's comment about how video games aren't proven to "cause" violence is true. That she dismisses that the lack of causality or even correlation is suspect. Essentially, what she's saying: If even the most creative manipulation of numbers doesn't give you the statistics data you want, then throw it all out because the issue is more complex.

Many other countries with violent video games do not have the high crime rates we do. As the number of violent games increases, violent crime decreases. This is a real statistical trend the author failed to address. In fact, it was only after the war in Iraq, that the 10-year decline in violent crime started to rise again in the United States. Surely war can't induce children to crime, so the cause must be video games.

Like all bogus supposed causes of violence, video games will eventually cease to be blamed. Once upon a time, books were banned for fear of inciting the youth. Dancing was also prominently feared. Holding hands, rock and roll music, and even dating were declared to be ultimate demoralizers of society. Time has shown all of this to be wrong.

Some people will always lie and cheat in order to impose their will on others. These people NEED prohibition of the things they don't like. They are the same people who want to burn books, censor speech, and only care about the freedoms they themselves enjoy. Anything is fair game in a witch hunt, so I propose blaming witchcraft for the decay of society. It's been done before, so it can happen again.

Mod article down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18935451)

It's disgusting that in this day and age, "not ridiculous" is equated with "refreshingly balanced." Yes, this piece isn't as bad as Jack Thompson tripe, but it's still shite. It's a meaningless feel-good piece (closes with "Meanwhile, how about a game in which kids, shrinks, and late-night comics size up all these factors and help save the world?") that has no substance and simply says "stuff is complicated and linked together and stuff."

Life sure is complicated, but that's not what psychology or any of the social sciences are about. They're about reductionism, about finding the identifiable and predictable patterns and elucidating them. They're about linking independent and dependent variables, not as cleanly as physics, but as best as you can manage. And this "link" between videogames and violence is about as tenuous as the link between, well, *anything* and violence. Breathing is linked to violence, reading is linked to violence, sliced bread is linked to violence, *society* is linked to violence, but that doesn't really tell us a damned thing now does it?

Clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18935503)

Overt violence and sexuality in media + Japanese kids = fetishist weirdos

Overt violence and sexuality in media + white kids = raving, opportunistic, self-righteous, violent assholes

Well at least I was waiting for it (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935507)

I was waiting for her to accuse video games as being a front for IBM

And in other news... (1)

What Is Dot (792062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18935741)

...cheeseburgers make you fat, smoking rots your lungs, and drugs are bad, m'kay?

Lebowski (1)

nastro (32421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936305)

" Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

Still stupid and worthless (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936473)

I don't think anyone here denies that young kids playing violent video games may cause them to be more violent. The question is whether the games do more to cause violence than watching violent tv and movies, reading violent books, or playing potentially violent sports. These studies quoted do nothing to show that or if they did, the article does not mention it.

Also, we still have to question how/why these 3rd and 4th graders in the last study got the violent games. Well, no, we know how and why but I'm sure you know what I mean. Sure, perhaps the game did cause them to be more violent overall, but guess what, the game was clearly fucking marked as being something they weren't supposed to be playing in the first place. Again, nothing learned. Mature games may not be good for young kids to play, which is why they are marked as being for 17+.

Then of course there is the type/level of violence. The article did mention this, which is good. There is a big difference between the increased vulgar language, trash talking someone you are in competition with, shooting extra long in a game, and even punching someone and the much more violent action of grabbing a gun and shooting someone in an attempt to kill them.

So basically, they've done a bunch of studies that when combined together suggest what we already know. Violent games may or may not cause extra violence if played by young children who the game is clearly marked as not being for. Way to go.

Stupidity (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18936481)

No one blames the Bible for David Koresh. Why is that do you think? It seems pretty obvious to me: Koresh was a crazy loser and if he hadn't picked the bible as his poison, he'd have just picked something else. That's what crazy losers do: they latch on to something and turn it destructive.

The Bible is not causitive to insanity. And regardless of how you may massage the numbers, its not correlative either. Neither are slasher flicks, ghost stories, football, rock and roll, cops and robbers, or, yes, video games. Got it?

Games don't explain violence surge after VT news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18936907)

The number of video games was essentially constant. The number of copycat shootings increased in proportion to news coverage. Why? The number of nutjobs inclined to think they could get their story on NBC increased. These nutjobs think violence is the answer. why? The news is constantly telling us that violence is the answer, that terrorists are heroes. These guys think that the media will treat them with similar respect, and apparently they are right.

A direct link (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 7 years ago | (#18937153)

So when I was a kid, my brother and I would play Double Dragon together. We worked as a team and became so good we got to the end. After you defeat the final boss, you then must fight each other for the girl. Well I managed to get a baseball bat and stand over his body swinging, making it impossible for him to retaliate. You know what happened next?

He hit me.

There you are, the direct link between people being annoying bastards and violence. I mean playing video games.. yeah.

WTF??? (0, Flamebait)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18937243)

I love these studies by ignorant assholes that have never been even close to the subject matter.
This has been a "subject matter" since society has been able to define the problem.....nothing new to see here for the past 12 centuries...Yes, you have outsmarted yourself beyond redemption...jack-off and cut your own's the only way to redeem yourself!
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