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Brain Changes When Viewing Violent Media

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the argh-must-destroy-pokemans dept.

Biotech 448

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Scientists at Columbia University have used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to show that a brain network responsible for suppressing inappropriate or unwarranted aggressive behaviors became less active after study subjects watched several short clips from popular movies depicting acts of violence. These changes could render people less able to control their own aggressive behavior. Although research has shown some correlation between exposure to media violence and real-life violent behavior, there has been little direct neuroscientific support for this theory until now. 'Depictions of violent acts have become very common in the popular media,' said researcher Christopher Kelly. 'Our findings demonstrate for the first time that watching media depictions of violence does influence processing in parts of the brain that control behaviors like aggression.' The full research paper is published on the The Public Library of Science, a peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication, that publishes all its articles under a Creative Commons Attribution License."

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No Way! (0)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601749)

I don't have my own DS yet, but some of my friends do and I've played Brain Change with them a lot - there is nothing violent about it. This is such a load of b.s.

Re:No Way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21601969)

I also don't know why there would be a Slashdot story about my brother Brian and how he changes when reading purple newspapers

surprising (4, Funny)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601801)

So passing a visual stimulus that is interpreted by the brain as violent affects the corresponding area of the brain...? Who would have guessed that...

lowers inhibitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21601977)

The summary (no, I didn't read TFA...who does that?) said that it actually lowers your inhibitions.

I suppose all those violent movies I watched as a kid are the reason I am today a peace-loving vegetarian hippy.

(well, I am actually not a hippy, but the long hair, the distain for football, and the strange diet incline people to accuse me of being one).

Re:lowers inhibitions (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602079)

If it smells like a dirty piece of shit, it's a dirty piece of shit, even if it protests.

Re:lowers inhibitions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602361)

I suppose all those violent movies I watched as a kid are the reason I am today a peace-loving vegetarian hippy.

"Lowers inhibitions" does not move you to some absolute state. It moves you down from wherever you would have been otherwise. In short, you may have downgraded yourself from a zen master to a hippie by corrupting your mind with those movies.

Re:surprising (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602431)

Also, passing a visual stimuli of bunnies, dancing animated popcorn, and a documentary on FDR's PWA each either suppressed or excited certain areas of the brain responsible for various emotional responses. Researches indicated that these changes could effect people in some way.

Re:surprising (1)

leenks (906881) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602655)

That's the point - lots of people did indeed guess that. This is one of the first decent experiments that goes some way to proving it.

Evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602697)

The common-sense obviousness of the claim is not what is scientifically valuable. We have now made direct, objective observations of the effect within the brain.

We have evidence, which is the foundation of solid science.

Hmmmm (4, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601861)

So maybe they'll stop glorifying war, violence, and all of the blood battered details of the latest shoot-em-up rampage on the evening news? Nah, why would they do that when they can blame video games instead. Sigh.

Re:Hmmmm (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602199)

Hey now, banning video games is done for the good of the children who play them, stopping the nightly news from showing you broken and bloodied bodies is stepping on their first amendment rights.

Re:Hmmmm (5, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602275)

Oh yeah, I forgot! Thanks for clearing that up. Also, did you ever notice that in the US its ok for prime time tv to show someone's bullet riddled corpse, but its not ok for two people to be shown having sex, or even showing nudity? Its like the act of procreation and creating life is taboo, but the act of ending life isn't - and we wonder why we have issues with violence in our nation. Hell, its considered distasteful to even show things like "The Miracle of Life" without it being in a highly academic context.

Re:Hmmmm (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602789)

Hell, its considered distasteful to even show things like "The Miracle of Life" without it being in a highly academic context.

Well, there is a difference between "The Miracle of Life" and Ross dogging Rachel from behind while she gives him a "Reach-Under" with Chandler screaming, "Could that BE any freakier?".

Re:Hmmmm (2, Funny)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602285)

I'll be honest, sometimes I wonder to myself how I ever got so desensetized. When I can watch a video of a prisoner in iraq get his head sawed off and not blink an eye... maybe that means I should cut down on the violence... Screw it, time to go beat up some GTAIII hookers for cash.

It's true. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601865)


After watching violent movies I beat my wife much worse than usual.

Re:It's true. (1)

log1385 (1199377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602031)

Maybe you should let our wife pick the movies you watch.

Re:It's true. (3, Funny)

Faylone (880739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602277)

Well, either you have multiple accounts for your different personalities, or that's illegal in most countries.

Re:It's true. (1)

quarterbrain (958359) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602287)

Brokeback Mountain to the rescue!

Re:It's true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602759)

I don't think your comment is funny at all. Considering how people are the victims of such behavior, and the traumatic and painful emotional experience it is, would someone please mod this as ignorant and insensitive.

How long does it last (5, Interesting)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601871)

Our findings demonstrate for the first time that watching media depictions of violence does influence processing in parts of the brain that control behaviors like aggression.

Okay, but how long does it last? Given the fact that I am not very likely to take off my shoe and bludgeon the person in front of me in the theater to death, how does this effect my likelyhood to do the same thing after the movie when I see someone I am not fond of?

Re:How long does it last (1)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602067)

Okay, but how long does it last? Given the fact that I am not very likely to take off my shoe and bludgeon the person in front of me in the theater to death,

I know, that is so ridiculous!

It is the ass behind me kicking my chair that I am going to bludgeon to death.

Re:How long does it last (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602473)

That's my question. The finding isn't that surprising. If you are standing in a crowd and someone is running around bashing people's skulls in... it makes sense that you be more prone to violence so you can defend yourself with all necessary force. Seems like a sane evolutionary adaptation.

However, this finding implies(or at least in the media's reporting of it) that violent games will cause kids to be more violent. If a kid plays a violent game, does that make them more violent in 5 minutes? 2 days? 2 weeks? 6 months? The first isn't that surprising, it's the others that are important. Does the effect last, and is it strong at that point?

Bull I play video games all the time. (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601877)

And it doesn't make me violet and well beat the crap out of the anyone that says different.

So here is a question. How does it effect younger people?
Or what is the effect if the media is interactive in nature?

I am just waiting to see what excuese the "Video games don't contribute to violence" lobby will have to say about this.

Re:Bull I play video games all the time. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602317)

And it doesn't make me violet and well beat the crap out of the anyone that says different.
Violet? You're turning violet, Violet!

Re:Bull I play video games all the time. (4, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602323)

One of the real problems that you have is that violent crime rates (robbery, murder, rape, etc) have been dropping for a long time. There is a real question of whether or why one should be overly worried about violent video games/movies/etc. when we are generally doing pretty well as a society. At some point we as a society have to be able to choose freedom to have some slightly self-destructive habits if we are to remain a free society.

At some point the video game violence issue is the same as whether we as a country should have laws banning homosexual activity, and whether we should ban alcohol consumption. Do we want freedom or an authoritarian state?

Note that alcohol consumption contributes to a *lot* more harm every year than video games and I support the right to consume alcohol.

Re:Bull I play video games all the time. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602729)

"At some point the video game violence issue is the same as whether we as a country should have laws banning homosexual activity, and whether we should ban alcohol consumption. Do we want freedom or an authoritarian state?"

Umm... We restrict the sale of alcohol to minors don't we?
That Freedom or an authoritarian state line is just over the top. So you DON"T want the research done because you may not like the answer...
How open minded and scientific.

Re:Bull I play video games all the time. (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602779)

I never said the research shouldn't be done. I think research should always be done.

But you asked about lobbying which concerns how that research is used to steer public policy. The public policy questions are different. Research is only a small part of that discussion and that is how it should be.

Re:Bull I play video games all the time. (1)

Obyron (615547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602345)

So here is a question. How does it effect younger people?

It could only "effect" younger people if watching violent makes people get pregnant and have babies. The word you're looking for here is "affect." For what it's worth you got it right in your second question though.

Re:Bull I play video games all the time. (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602355)

They'll say 'video games don't contribute to violence any more than other violent media, so if you're going to restrict sales of video games to minors on those grounds, you'd better do it with movies and tv shows as well.'

Re:Bull I play video games all the time. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602671)

Hummm so you are perfectly willing to state the result of an experiment before that experiment is conducted. Do you work for the Creation Science Institute?

Great! (2)

F-3582 (996772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601883)

I wonder how long it takes science to figure out that spending time in the army leads to aggressive behaviour, as well.

Re:Great! (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601959)

Actually they've done studies which showed a correlation to many things involving the military and violence. For example, soldiers are taught to literally drive through crowds in war situations. Strangely enough, areas around military bases have an abnormally high number of automobile collisions, and pedestrian fatalities. I wish I still had access to academic databases and could cite the studies. Similarly, soldiers who've spent time in warzones appear to have an increased tendency towards violent behavior. Go figure, right? Obviously you can't infer causation, but the correlation does seem to be pretty scary.

Re:Great! (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602629)

Considering we have an entirely self-selected military, you'd have to do some serious investigation into before and after to get more than correlation. Self-selection into the military could be based largely on the traits that the military trains people for. Careful, bicycle-riding, peaceful, pacifists don't generally volunteer to be taught how to shoot at gun-wielding teenagers from other countries.

Also, since our military is comprised mostly of people who have barely made the age of majority (and mostly men), you'd be comparing their auto collision, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, and aggressive tendencies to high school boys who are placed close together in large groups.

I think the actuaries at any auto insurance company could tell you that if you put 12,000 teenage boys on a campus and keep them almost constantly occupied you're going to have a huge number of auto incidents and accidents when they leave the campus. It doesn't necessarily make a lot of difference if it's a school or a military base. You'd have to control for things like that.

Re:Great! (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602483)

This is the reason military training includes a huge component of impulse control - the point is to train soldiers to be violence when appropriate.

Clockwork Orange (2)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601889)

This seems like something coming straight out of clockwork orange.

Re:Clockwork Orange (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602007)

Not really. Now if they were studying what would happen if the subjects were subjected to unpleasant stimuli like nausea or electric shocks while watching violent images, now that would be interesting.

Re:Clockwork Orange (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602013)

Right right little Alex. Just without the medication and surgery...

OK... but (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601891)

There's no discussion of how long these effects last. Of course our brain is going to prepare us for violence when we witness violence. If it didn't, you'd probably get killed in your first violent confrontation because you wouldn't be prepared to fight back. The question is, does viewing violent media today make me more likely to go kill people tomorrow.

Cumulative (2, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602257)

There's no discussion of how long these effects last.

In America, everything we watch has violence. You can't get away from it - go ahead, try to! (God forbid if a women's nipple is shown! Think of the children! It's OK for them to see someone get shot, though.)

What I'm trying to say is, we're constantly seeing violent images. Yeah, if you just saw that one movie or played that one game and then went into a monastery, sure the effects may not last that long. But I think that the researchers are confusing long term effects with cumulative effects.

Let's face it, we're in a violent and hostile society. The signs are all over the place: road rage, shootings, media content - violence sells after all!, how people interact in everyday situations, etc...

Did it ever occur to anyone (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601895)

That the brain may be showing that it is repulsed? Instead they just blindly assume this activity is excitement. So the assumptions of the researchers determine the outcome. Junk science.

Re:Did it ever occur to anyone (2, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602371)

I'm sure everyone responds differently, but what we all have in common while viewing violent images is empathy.

That said... (1)

jesdynf (42915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601907)

It's a damn shame Jack's disbarrment hearing wraps up today [gamepolitics.com] . The only thing funnier than Jack getting planked is Jack getting planked even though he was right* all along.

* Still a liar too stupid to be an effective bully. But right.

Re:That said... (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601955)

Along the same lines, I was wondering how long this becomes the 21st Century version of the Twinkie Defense? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkie_defense/ [wikipedia.org]

Oh yeah? (1)

log1385 (1199377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601919)

Anyone who tells me that movie violence changes my behaviour can meet me outside right after I watch Gladiator.

Oh shit, here it comes.. (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601965)

The twin battle cries:

Making the laws:"We must ban these images...Think of the Children"

Enforcing the laws:"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client is innocent of assault because the violent videogame he played has been scientifically proven to have reduced his capacity to control his impulses."

Re:Oh shit, here it comes.. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602205)

"Making the laws:"We must ban these images...Think of the Children""
Yea looked what happened with tobacco...
A bunch of nut jobs decided it was harmful now a 12 year old can't legally buy a pack of smokes.
And if studies show that excessively violent media is harmful to children should it just be ignored?

Re:Oh shit, here it comes.. (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602639)

And if those studies are fundamentally flawed, but cause a firestorm to get some attention?

Remember, smokes are dangerous for *everyone* but adults can still buy them. We're assuming that parents can't control what their kid watches. To some extent, that's true. That's where parents come in and say "That's not right." Most of us do. Hooray.

The article makes me think something a bit more obvioius than what the writers are indicating. I thin kafter watching something, you think about it. Woah! I know that's rocking some people's worlds... But whenever I watch something, I spend a little time mentally digesting it.

I'll bet after watching a comedy, the humor centers light up in those people too.

I'd also be willing to bet that if you compare the scans after a day, week, or month, you won't find any real difference at all from the initial scans. Unless the person is *messed up to begin with.* Feel free to define that however you wish.

Just someone trying to scare us into thinking "WE NEED TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM *EVERYTHING!* OMG!" If you let this article scare you into thinking that you need to further shelter your kid, I'll sell you a personal bubble so you can keep all those nasty bugs and diseases from them too.

Re:Oh shit, here it comes.. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602795)

If you read the article you will see that the change was in the part of the brain that controls the inhibition of violence. It is also not the first study that has show a connection between violent media and aggressive behavior.
So you feel that study is flawed because you don't like the results.

In theory but not in practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21601973)

Maybe in theory, but not in practice. I know the more I see TV violence, the more I am sure I would never want to see it in real life. But the less I mind seeing it again on TV, because I enjoyed the context, for example movies with violence. It's not that I like violence, but you can be entertained with stories surrounding the violence. Look at murder mysteries for example.

Efficient brain function... (3, Interesting)

sweet 'n sour (595166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601987)

If the subject knows that the violence they are watching is fake then the brain wouldn't have to worry about filtering out violent behavior because it is not violent behavior. Perhaps the brain is just being efficient.


I'd be more interested in seeing the results of people watching real violence on T.V and knowing it, or seeing the results of a child who doesn't know that fake violence in a movie is not real.

Re:Efficient brain function... (3, Interesting)

The Underwriter (1042080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602565)

If the brain were "just being efficient", then porn wouldn't be the biggest thing on the internet. Your statement phrased ANOTHER way...

"If the subject knows that the sex they are watching is fake then the brain wouldn't have to worry about filtering out sexual behavior because it is not sexual behavior. Perhaps the brain is just being efficient.

"I'd be more interested in seeing the results of people watching real sex on T.V and knowing it, or seeing the results of a child who doesn't know that fake sex in a movie is not real."

Though knowing whether its real or not may intensify the response, people still "get-off" on soft porn, action flicks, sitcoms, soap operas, etc. The id can't distinguish between fantasy and reality.

Re:Efficient brain function... (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602827)

Thanks, you just explained why I prefer the homemade amateur stuff so much better.

Next logical step (1)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601995)

They should now make the obvious follow-up study and let their subjects watch select porn and measure its transformative effect on the brain.
Of course, the results probably wouldn't be as popular or easy to write a press release about - porn makes people happy!

Re:Next logical step (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602091)

The analogous study would be more along the lines of, " Does porn make people less inhibitted/more horny?" . Which, I think, would be quite an interesting study.

What they proved... (4, Informative)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602011)

The brain reacts to violent imagery, may affect impulse control after

What they didn't prove:

Violent imagery makes you violent.

Most of the studies present a violent image and ask you questions after. Partly because it'd be unethical to show them imagery and then attempt to induce violence. Thus they must use proxies which only prove a relationship from the imagery to the proxy.

Common Study:
Show a 3 min clip from bioshock - ask "are you feeling more or less violent" or "please push this button as hard as you want" and then write a conclusion " Bioshock makes you violent".

I doubt violent imagery has no effect on you, it likely agitates the flight or fight response but I am skeptical on whether it can induce violence in a normal/average person. I dislike how media and various groups try to portray a stronger relationship. Doom 3 has not made me a serial killer, it's highly unlikely doom 6 will make my children serial killers, and if it does it's probably partly mine and my communities fault. It my kid does end up being a serial killer there is most likely a biological factor too. Media alone does not make a killer.

Re:What they proved... (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602227)

It doesn't really matter anyway. All of our grandchildren will grow up in padded rooms. There will be no violence in the media, and the government will no longer fear the people, as they'll have managed to remove the brain's capability for violence, as well as the means to produce violence action.

Of course, watching kids' TV shows and listening to XMas music incites me to violence, so you never can tell with some people.

Re:What they proved... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602309)

This should be labeled troll. Nobody can prove the loss of choice (even drugs shown to have great influence over choices only affect the person's ability to choose, it doesn't remove the choice). What they're showing is about as far as science can take it short of invading a person's thoughts.

The fact that people are less resistant to violence is sufficient to show a likelihood of future behavior, and that's as far as any science has gone.

Re:What they proved... (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602797)

I doubt violent imagery has no effect on you
Imagery of all kinds, be it violent, pornographic, or of pretty flowers in a field, has effects on people. That shouldn't be the question. The question is does it make you more prone to act on that imagery.

Some examples:
  • Surgeons are desensitized to blood, but they aren't looking for people to cut up
  • Garbage men are desensitized to the smell, but they aren't looking for cologne that smells the same
  • Morticians are desensitized to corpses, but they don't go out every night killing people just to have more
I'm sure you could think of other examples. Just because we become desensitized to something, doesn't mean we are more likely to act out on it. Some people will, that is for sure. Then again, some people were violent long before we even had media (including cave drawings).

Same shit, different day (1)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602021)

If you exercise a muscle, will it not grow stronger? If you watch or play violent media and get violent impulses, will you not exercise your impulse control.

Do some people get heart attacks at the gym? Yes.
Do some people crack when exposed to too many violent impulses? Yes.

Should this stop the healthy majority from exercising their muscles or their impulse control? Perhaps, if you want to have a country full of flabby people with little self-restraint.. oh wait..

It can't be! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602043)

It violates the Received Slashdottian Orthodoxy! The answers are going to be oh-so-predictable.

I nominate this for the... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602055)

"No duh" award of 2007.

Is there any stimulus interpreted by the brain that doesn't change it one way or another? There are literally 100 million gamers world wide that have played violent video games. What percentage goes onto mow down their classmates?

You can have my violent media when you pry it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602073)

...from my cold, dead...oh wait.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602083)

Where't these the same guys that got owned by Grant on Mythbusters last night?

Research? We don't need no stinking reasearch (1)

dkixk (18303) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602117)

/. loves violent games and we are, obviously, well adjusted. This is #$!@ ridiculous. Frag those fscking eggheads. How dare they question my favorite &!#$%! passtime. Taste my steel, Care Bear!

Nothing new (4, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602123)

When any game (video or otherwise) rewards a player for brutalizing a passive, non-threating character, I think it's reasonable to call that a desensitization device. Once someone become desensitized to something considered by all modern cultures to be objectionable, they are more likely to react the same way to similar real-world stimuli.

Just like therapists use certain interactive video imagery programs to help people with extreme phobias. If you have severe arachnophobia, but spend several hours every day interacting with realistic spiders in an simulated environment, you will be less likely to have a panic attack when confronted with a real-world spider. This is a long-documented psychologically valid method.

Re:Nothing new (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602387)

--When any game (video or otherwise) rewards a player for brutalizing
--a passive, non-threating character, I think it's reasonable to call
--that a desensitization device

Now, if only there were some examples to go with here... Maybe I'm slightly behind the times here, as I don't have any of the current consoles (though I have all 4 of the last generation consoles (PS2/XBox/GC/DC)), but I haven't played many (if any) games that reward players for brutalizing passive, non-threatening characters. Even in the most publicized cases of people trying to censor and ban violent video games the games themselves attempted to punish players for doing so, or simply didn't present such characters to begin with.

I'm not worried about becoming violent... (1)

Johnbd66 (716980) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602127)

The money/resources that they wasted on this study should have gone towards serious research into problems such as dementia. But I guess, since they still will not understand dementia by the time I get it, I will forget all of the violence that I've witnessed and become complacent once again

I am ... (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602159)

I am Jack's desensitization to violence.

mythbusters treatment (1)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602179)

Mythbusters busted this very scan on last night's episode. This magic machine that can tell you if your lying, if your racist, or if are violent. Mythbusters were able to defeat the machine as a lie detector while none of them were able to defeat the polygraph as a lie detector. I have my doubts about all the other things these scans are supposed to tell. I'm sure the scans are perfectly accurate, just the conclusions people are drawing are flawed.

Possible Explanation (2, Interesting)

Tony Freakin Twist (673681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602193)

I would propose that perhaps the age-old argument for the presence of violent media - that it mitigates real violence by offering a release valve - would be the explanation here. I'm not a neuro-scientist (IANANS), but wouldn't less activity mean that that portion of the brain is not working as hard at blocking violent impulses, maybe because there are fewer of these impulses?

Monkey See, Monkey Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602195)

Monkey See, Monkey Do

In Other News (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602213)

Watching cute bunnies and teddy bears has the same exact effect.

Re:In Other News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602407)

I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *bunny*, isn't it

Sickening (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602225)

This kind of garbage has more in common with phrenology than it does real scientific research. We try to think we understand how the brain works, but news flash... WE DON'T.

There are so many theories on intelligences (Jeff Hawkins personally has my favourite ideas and his book On Intelligence is a great gateway to Cognitive Science) and none of them are right, or else we could have converted it into an algorithm and have AI. That being said, anyone who says anything more than "duh" to these conclusions is either trying to be manipulative for their own gain, or an ignorant slave to the ideas of others.

Make love, not war (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602229)

How much more scientific evidence do we need to convince people that watching adults having consensual, mutually enjoyable sex is better for teenagers than watching people killing each other?

Re:Make love, not war (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602441)

Woah there chief. That hippy stuff doesn't fly around here. Everyone knows that the true American way is to strictly adhere to our 2nd amendment rights to the point where you're gagging on your gun! We have to keep our strict Christian values, while maintaining our seperation of church and state!

Remember! Don't get down! Get up and fight some terrorists!

Hoorah!

-FCC

violence is catharsis (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602231)

the issue of unwanted expression of violence isn't that you can't suppress it, but that you have too much rage. it doesn't matter if your ability to decipher right and wrong is pristine when you are in a fit of madness: the gates of reason may be strong, but the flood can be worse

therefore, a superior way to prevent spasms of violence in real life is to allow for some way to express violence in harmless ways

such as violent videogames

what gets released harmlessly on a keyboard or joystick is that which will not be released in real life situations

it's not like the violent videogame creates violence. what made the ancient romans violent? violent is inherent to human nature. look at a roomful of 4 year olds if you don't believe this. a violent videogame can only catalyze the release of violent potential that is already in the person

so certainly, if someone is already unstable, a violent videogame could serve as the flashpoint which makes a previously unstable person blow up. but this still isn't a ding against violent videogames, since something else would have eventually set an unstable person off

by and large, violent videogames reduce violence in society

the daily friction of life creates a build up of rage. the question is how is that rage released. a violent videogame provides that release, in exaclt the mechanism described above. but it's not like that rage has anywhere else to go were it not for violent videogames

i think we as a society should play more violent videogames to reduce real world violence

i am not in the least joking

there are unstable individuals who can't differentiate from reality who should not play them, sure. as if the existence of violent videogames or not makes them any more or less unstable

Well... (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602237)

Perhaps because it's a way to release aggression in a safe way? I mean how often do you say "I just want to punch something" and you would take it out on a punching bag, but not on a person? I'm certain that if I did I would temporarily lower my own inhibitions, just like a meditating man can slow his heartbeat. Why? Because I know it's a punching bag I'm punching, so I can just let go, let the adrenaline flow and punch the shit out of it. Which pressure cooker would you have, the one with or without a vent?

fMRI Studies are like... (1)

wo234lf (1126181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602247)

Sledgehammers. They provide gross oxygen levels provided by the blood in particular brain regions. A good control has to be given to subtract the actual data recordings from - because the brain is constantly activated all over, and constantly provided blood. If the controls are wrong, the study is usually not proving anything, though sometimes the reader has to figure it out. That said, fMRIs also assume that in different people, the brain is organized EXACTLY the same, which just isn't true - if it were, then among other things, we'd all have the same memories.

So, let's find another source before we believe anything an fMRI study suggests.
And don't even get me started on which brain region "does" what. Because even that isn't exactly well established. For example, how is this possible: http://www.eurekalert.org/images/release_graphics/pdf/brain.pdf [eurekalert.org] (PDF warning).

So how does that explain... (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602263)

So how does that explain why playing quake 3 arena makes me comfortable and sociable while watching an episode of full house makes me want to invade iraq?

I didn't rtfa, but I would think their explanation would have something to do with empathizing with the (real people) characters on a sort of might-makes-right thing.

Or ... (1)

GrEp (89884) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602311)

Another conclusion is that after viewing violent media the brain knows it doesn't want to copy this behavior so it goes into a "yeah whatever" mode. This might have a negative impact on learning soon after watching violent media. They should test this.

When are these jerks going to learn (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602315)

playing games doesnt make you a serial killer. look at me. I play tons of games, halo, counterstrike, quake, doom, world of warcraft, all of it. have been for years.

these eggheaded self righteous mamas boy luzer idiots need to understand something. i am not a freaking serial killer. playing games doesnt make me aggressive. IM NOT a god da@#$ AGGRESSIVE PERSON, YOU FREAKING JERKS.

When are these IDIOTS GOING TO GET IT THROUGH THEIR DA-- SKULLS, WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO, BEAT IT INTO THEM?!?!?
I CAN PLAY AS MANY DAMN GAMES AS I WANT AND ITS NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY AFFECT ON ME. IM NOT A CRIMINAl. IM NOT
VIOLENT. I DONT HIT ANYBODY! I WOULDNT HURT A FLY, AND IF THESE RETROGRADE HOBTWATTLING SLOPE BROWED BUFFONS WOULD FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO DO WITH THEIR TIME WE MIGHT HAVE A CURE FOR CANCER NOW

MORONS. MORONS ALL AROUND.

-the not at all violent or aggressive gamer.

Hmmm. (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602341)

That'll explain why after I play GTA3 for 4 hours:
1. I'll go out and think to myself, "Hm. That car looks nice, I'll jump in that one till I can find a miata.
2. I scan the city for police bribes in the street.
3. "Ooo, if I run through that crowd, I'll be able to hide behind that building till the tank arrives!"
4. "How do I start vigilante mode in this car?"

dang hippys / neo-cons (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602401)

when will people realize video games don't cause violence? They cause people to show up to work late, neglect real life issues and revert to a hermit-like state.

But not violence... nosiree

I'm tired of this war on aggression (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602419)

Controlled and focussed aggression and competition are at the heart of our survival as a species and our great works of civilization. Its importance is shown in our old sagas and stories of heroes, in our current movies and books, in the games we play, in the glorification of sports players.

Every study or report that says that such and such "increases aggression" as though it is the more horrible thing in the world disgusts me. They would have as living as women were once forced to live in our society - as meek, childlike creatures with no independence or strength of their.

I'm not saying that uncontrolled violent behavior is in any way a good thing - but neither is passive acceptance and docility. The current brand of civilization would never let any of us grow into men and women, but stay as helpless children.

Clockwork (1)

GreatRedShark (880833) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602427)

This isn't news,
A Clockwork Orange proved this point ages ago!

B A Lony (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602447)

These guys are going to try and advocate a course of action to reduce aggression in society via censorshop.

Who is justified to say when aggression is inappropriate and too much. How the aggression manifests in individuals is unique to the individual. Some people use aggression to pursue goals and positive results.

Worse, visual stimulation makes people dance! (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602501)

When Shall we Dansu [imdb.com] was playing, patrons were seen ballroom dancing out of the theater.

I would say any visual stimulation that invokes strong emotions be they violent or exuberant will have an after effect on some people.

Nothing to see here, etc.

 

Scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602517)

Have given human beings yet another reason to claim that they are not responsible for their own actions. It never ceases to amaze me that there is a disease or disorder to blame for any ill-action a person should decide to take.

Nonsense (1)

StormDragoness (1193535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602543)

Scaremongering What happens when the person is returned to a normal non-violent environment.

Old news! (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602561)

Heh, old news - I cited this last week in a research paper.

I also managed to work in a citation of the Desert Bus for Hope [desertbus.org] fundraiser for the Child's Play charity, as a bit of a contrast.

OH MY GOSH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602571)

And people's brain change when they're reading a book, and when they see an attractive girl, and when they are working on homework! What will we find next!

Seriously, could slashdot possibly post slightly more meaningless studies?

The brain learns by imitation (3, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602633)

Language is the perfect example of the brain learning by imitation. This research is common sense. If the brain/mind is exposed to a lot of a particular stimulus, it will associate with that stimulus as being okay and worth mimicing. A lot of it probably has to do with survival. If you see everyone around you drinking water, it probably makes sense to drink water. Conversely if you see everyone around you avoiding poisonous berries, you probably want to avoid the berries too.

you all have the logic of a kindergartener (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602681)

Violent entertainment does not CAUSE violence. Rather, they desensitize you to violence. The more you see, the more used to it you become and the more accepting of it as "normal" it becomes to your brain. When violent behaviour becomes more normal to you, you will have less self-restraint when faced with violent impulses. The impulse would have existed regardless, but violent entertainment affects your reaction to that violent impulse. If violence is abnormal to you, you will resist it more strongly.

biology != morality (1)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602689)

This news actually can be helpful to gamers, and should NOT be used as the basis for any Jack Thompson-like legislation. Guess what!! Sexy women make me hot! But that does not mean that I have the moral imperative to make inappropriate advances toward women, nor does it warrant laws requiring women to wear chaste clothing in public, as long as the clothes pass basic obscenity laws, at least in secular societies like the US (no offense intended toward countries following Sharia laws). In other words, humans can develop a moral imperative that is independent of our more base (and fun) impulses. Certainly that is true of adults, and should be expected of them.

Proponents of greater restrictions on gaming for kids are missing the point that the best form of restriction on gaming is an opportunity for the parents to be more involved in their kids' lives. A blanket ban on violent games is not narrowly tailored to suit the problem; whereas parental involvement in kids' lives is both narrowly tailored to suit the problem AND a part of what we should expect of parents: know your kids. Spend time with your kids. Don't try to legislate away your role in shaping your own child's skills at impulse control, which is a basic skill for success in any civilized society.

Sheep training (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602787)

The premise seems to be that "violence" and "bad" are synonyms, or that it is never justified.

Which is what weak and dumb sheeple need to believe, if they are to be tamed by government.

Why doesn't it affect everyone? (2, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602807)

If this was the case, then why doesn't every boxing match break out into 50,000 individual boxing fights? Apparently it only affects people who would not only reenact something that on the surface is dangerous, but also explicitly says "DONT DO THIS" in effort to dissuade people from ... trying to do it.
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