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New Book Cuts Through Violent Video Game Myths

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the with-a-giant-sword dept.

Books 213

Terry Bosky suggests a recent interview from Game Couch with one of the authors of an upcoming book which fights the "myths and hysteria" surrounding violent video games. Dr. Cheryl K. Olson explains how many of the studies linking aggression with video games were flawed or misguided, and she discusses some of her own findings. Quoting: "Until now, the most-publicized studies came from a small group of experimental psychologists, studying college students playing nonviolent or violent games for 15 minutes. It's debatable whether those studies are relevant to real children, playing self-selected games for their own reasons (not for cash or extra credit!), in social settings, over many years. But media reports and political rhetoric often ignore that distinction. Also, the most-published researchers have built their careers around media violence. Their studies were designed under the assumption that violent video games are harmful, which dictated the questions they asked and how they framed their results. Media violence is just a small part of what we do, so we could look at the issue with fresh eyes and no agenda."

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213 comments

who cares? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682420)

Video games are more violent than ever and they will continue to get more violent. Anti-violent video game proponents are like the random idiot atheist that rears his ugly head every year and tries to get the pledge of allegiance changed. Is it every going to change? Nope. Same with video games.

Re:who cares? (5, Interesting)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682578)

I object to saying that video games are getting more violent. Think of say, Space Invaders, the concept was simple: Shoot Aliens. However with better graphics such as Quake with the same objective the game suddenly becomes violent. Technology has evolved and what people mostly say is they don't object to bad graphics aliens being shot but as soon as we move it to 3-D and add a bit of blood rather then just random colors it now is violent.

Re:who cares? (2, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682982)

I killed 15 people, 11 stray dogs, two parakeets and one goldfish after playing violent video games. And that was just last week. I blame it all on high resolution 3-d graphics putting thoughts in my head.

Re:who cares? (3, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683084)

I object to your objection :)

Between space invaders and today's 3d there has been the time where blood could be drawn but mostly wasn't. Designers weren't using random color as soon as xevious, around '82. Drawing blood was technically possible and in topic in commando or green beret. And it would have impressed people, because we were impressed by VG graphics. We were impressed by marble madness fake 3d, or pole position fast sprites. Also, Video games were politically incorrect at least with leisure suit larry. It's not a matter of "we would have done it if we could".

Do VG mirror society or influence it? I guess it's kind of a feedback loop.

Re:who cares? (2, Funny)

Thexare Blademoon (1010891) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683498)

We were impressed by marble madness fake 3d,

I'm glad you were. I was too busy losing all the time. I still can't finish the last level, and getting through Silly (I think that was the name of it; the reversed gravity level) is still a bitch...

Re:who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683136)

It's no different than real life. Swatting files is acceptable and considered non-violent. Kicking a dog is considered violent. Space invaders is like swatting flies, they don't bleed and people really don't consider their sentience relevant. They're also very annoying as a group. Quake is like, well, beating up on sentient animals and people we would consider relevant.

It's not fair or right, but it's true. If something, as a group/whole, is considered irrelevant or annoying, violence against it is easily dismissed. Flies are irrelevant and annoying, dogs are fuzzy and cute, people are good hearted and kind (I'm sure you'd like to disagree, but hey... I like to think *I* am).

Re:who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683142)

Games aren't becoming that much more violent, people [youtube.com] are just getting crazier.

Re:who cares? (2, Funny)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683306)

Lets do a comparison or three: If you play with cap guns, it is generally considered not violent if you pretend to shoot someone and they play dead. It may even be called cute. If you shoot a paintball gun with red paintballs it looks more violent, especially since the projectiles actually make an implact on their target and it leaves a red bloodish looking substance. But this example is no more violent than the capgun example. Now if you acutally shoot someone with a gun, it looks more violent still because they are writhing in pain, screaming and spewing blood everywhere. But we know that it actually isn't more violent even though it only appears more violent.

Re:who cares? (4, Insightful)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683476)

as we move it to 3-D and add a bit of blood rather then just random colors it now is violent.
Yes. Because when we talk about violence we are not talking about conceptual violence but of depicted violence. Conceptually, Risk is one of the most violent games ever made, but in Quake blood and body parts are flying everywhere among machine gun fire. You can see this borne out in tv and movies where to soften effect, violence is insinuated rather than depicted because actual depiction is far more emotionally disturbing. Conceptually they are equivalent.

Re:who cares? (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683554)

There is a term for that: graphic violence. In a lot of movies, the violent acts will take place off screen simply because the act of violence is part of the plot (an investigation of a rape, a child dealing with their mothers death) but the visual presentation of that act is not necessary to the story. Now the acts of violence did take place on-screen in Space Invaders, but they were so abstractly presented that they were essentially non-graphic.

It could be argued that graphic and non-graphic violence is fundamentally different because someone who feels that it is necessary to present or watch acts that are not socially acceptable (like rape or murder) are fantasizing about those acts, rather than being interested in the consequences of those acts. And that is where the problem may lay.

Re:who cares? (2, Insightful)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683586)

Technology has evolved and what people mostly say is they don't object to bad graphics aliens being shot but as soon as we move it to 3-D and add a bit of blood rather then just random colors it now is violent.

Not quite. Big surprise to hear of a gross generalization on slashdot. Let me set you straight. As soon as we move the games to being life-like then people object. 3D and a bit of blood does not make a game life-like but those are properties of a life-like game. And maybe it's just my perception but we seem to have moved away from using aliens as targets and use humans more often in video games. All those different games based on war come to mind (Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and Metal Gear series). Using humans as targets intead of non-existent aliens brings the experience of the game that much closer to real life.

Of course, most children know it isn't right to shoot humans in real life but not all seem to realize that. Those who do I think are just brought up that way to not care about human life and video games are just another way to lash out at society and serve to only practice their shooting spree plans. Banning video games isn't the answer to that situation just like banning cars isn't the solution for minority of the population who drink a lot and on occasion decide to drink and drive and kill people.

Maybe I read that wrong (4, Insightful)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682428)

... but that last part sounded like they were saying "Our opinion matters more because we just don't give a fuck."

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (5, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682436)

Yes, but that's a good thing--because if they don't have a stake in the results, they don't have a conflict of interest, and thus their results will be more trustworthy.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (4, Insightful)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682476)

Why does that make their results any more trustworthy? You mean more trustworthy for me? Or more trustworthy for other people who also don't give a fuck? If you mean the latter, then honestly that sounds like this article is not just unbiased, but also fairly unimportant as it's target audience doesn't even care what they are saying.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (5, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682518)

More trustworthy than results put forth by a group sponsored by a video game producer or one sponsored by an anti-video-game group.

So more trustworthy for you to consider.

It's one of the things you really want to look for when folks start flinging studies around: who do they work for? Would you trust as accurate a study funded my Microsoft that says that 5 of 6 dentists prefer to use Windows, or would you be more likely to trust as accurate a study funded by some independent group?

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683204)

You've never been threatened by a dentist wielding a folding chair. Using windows causes violence!

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683494)

If they are highly similar studies, the one by the independent group is probably a little more reliable. If they are different, you would have to read them to know which is more accurate, because Microsoft might base theirs on 'research', whereas the independent group might base theirs on 'fluffy bunnies'.

I don't expect you would dispute this, but the notion that you can't ever trust somebody that has a chip in the game gets taken to far, when it usually only means that you should select the most independent result from results that are otherwise similarly reliable. That group X did some research is only a reason to impugn the research when group X has proven to be unreliable in the past. Independence is a reason to prefer group Y over group X.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (4, Informative)

Necreia (954727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682550)

"Why does that make their results any more trustworthy?" Because they don't get paid to come to a directed decision. They don't get money for saying that "Video Games don't cause violence" OR "Video Games do cause violence". They don't have an agenda, so what they say is based completely on the research and not instilled opinion. If you only trust sources with an agenda, then I pity you.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (4, Insightful)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682646)

If you think that there are ANY sources without an agenda then I pity you.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682856)

you can have an agenda that doesn't conflict with your findings. epic fail on your part.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (0, Troll)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683156)

no you are all wrong and there is no winning situation and everyone is fucked...in every hole.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (5, Interesting)

yali (209015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683404)

They don't have an agenda

Are you sure? Because when I googled for "Cheryl K. Olson," the first hit I got [pmusa.com] showed that she is on the payroll of Big Tobacco [pmusa.com] . She has also been a "strategic communications consultant" for Big Pharmaceutical and Big Media. I haven't found anything (yet) to indicate that she's on the gaming industry's payroll, but her history reads like that of a professional shill, not a dispassionate scientist.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682596)

*** waits for Jack Thompson to claim that Cheryl K. Olson was "bought off" by the video game industry ***

Captcha: "balanced"

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (5, Interesting)

Weslee (1118943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682728)

I had a friend who was running for a local political office.

He got various questionnaires from the various political parties.

This is the same question on both parties questionnaires, but notice the difference in how its worded -

* Do you believe in the killing of unborn children?
* Do you believe you have the right to tell a women whos been raped that she has to carry to term the resulting fetus?

You don't think that the questions they ask about violence in video games might be just a little skewed?

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683026)

Since the primary definition of "child" [reference.com] is "a person between birth and puberty", I would say no, I don't believe in the killing of these "unborn children".

Unless, that is, some people reach puberty while still in the womb. I know slashdot has a lot of people still living in their parents' basements, but that's a bit much. If you're 18 and still living in the womb, then yes, I support killing you.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683352)

If you're 18 and still living in the womb, then yes, I support killing you.

Most awesome thing anyone's ever said, ever. Thank you.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682872)

Demanding a biased study to align with one's one biased beliefs is neither insightful nor intelligent.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (1)

user315234 (1136293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682908)

"A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone."

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (2, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682568)

s/don't give a fuck/haven't made up our minds before we started

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (2, Insightful)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682624)

It is sort of saying that... but it's true. They're just saying that they don't care how the results turn out, so they won't be trying to push the results one way or another.

Re:Maybe I read that wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683278)

Humans are inherently violent. I think it should be a proper upbringing that teaches children went to act and when to restrain their urges. (Say for example you see someone being beaten to the brink of death and you have the option to shoot the guy beating up the victim, VS "He stole my toy I'll shoot him!!"
AKA. Lazy parents can't be bothered to raise their children so videogames become the scapegoat.

I'd believe her more if... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683548)

I'd be more apt to believe her study was approaching the subject with new eyes, if the words she chose didn't make it sounds like she was specifically out to "prove past research wrong". THAT, is the very essence of an "agenda", whether paid or not, whether backed by someone else or not, she's out to prove someone else wrong ... rather than taking the neutral position of determining which of the many possible conclusions might be the right one.

aaargh. (5, Funny)

notgm (1069012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682430)

this article makes me so mad at the biased video game researchers. i need to go down to my local ammunation, get strapped, and start taking them fools out.

great article - only the choir will read it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682464)

This article is preaching to the choir - it is a great interview - sounds like a the begin of a crushing blow to the likes of JackT - too bad the only the people who will pay any attention to this are those who don't have a preset agenda. As good as it is, I don't think this will fix anything. There is too much power & money at stake to FUD on games.

Re:great article - only the choir will read it (2, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683492)

I agree, sadly. Much of the problem is that there are all sorts of studies on various forms of media and its supposed effects, some showing evidence, some not showing evidence, some showing a negative correlation. So overall there's no conclusion one could draw, but those supporting censorship can hand-pick the studies which do supposedly show an effect (even if they are old studies that have been discredited or later contradicted by other studies).

I saw this with the UK Government in its plans to criminalise possession of "extreme" porn [slashdot.org] - it commissioned three researchers with known anti-pornography views to dig out every possible study which showed some negative effect of porn (even though most the studies applied to porn that isn't being criminalised), producing the Rapid Evidence Assessment [justice.gov.uk] .

Now this was criticised by academics in the field as being "extremely poor, based on contested findings and accumulated results. It is one-sided and simply ignores the considerable research tradition into "extreme" (be they violent or sexually explicit) materials within the UK's Humanities and Social Sciences." [backlash-uk.org.uk] This statement was signed by ove forty academics - but did anyone pushing for this law pay any attention? Of course, sadly not - instead we continue to hear the Rapid Evidence Assessment being cited as proof that possession of naughty pictures needs to be criminalised.

Cuts Through? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682484)

Perhaps a better choice would have been slashes through, pummels, or annihilates.... or maybe just pwns (ganks?).

WHAT?!?! (2, Insightful)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682506)

This book makes me so ANGRY!!! I just want to launch a plasma grenade at this 'doctor'!!!!!!

But seriously, folks, it's about damn time someone stepped up to the 'personal responsibility' plate and didn't get hit in the head by the ball (man, I pwn'd that metaphor). I grew up in the age of violent video games, as did most people here... come on, this website's name involves SLASHING people. My favorite movies growing up were Beverly Hills Cop and Aliens (I was all of six years old for those), and not once did I feel the urge to be more violent, or to shoot anyone. I thought "Wow, those movies are an awesome escape from boring reality. I'm gonna go read some Calvin & Hobbes now, maybe eat a cookie."

Yes, this is anecdotal, but if ten million people have (and apparently do) have similar anecdotal stories, that adds up, and this book is just the long-overdue sober second look at a popular, convenient myth.

PS: Jack Thompson needs to be clubbed with this book.

Re:WHAT - conscious vs emotional urges (0, Flamebait)

pg--az (650777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682722)

[[ not once did I feel the urge to be more violent ]] I was thinning my old books recently, and just could not throw out "The Anatomy of Motive" by John Douglas, one of the first FBI "profilers". A lot of the insights mention something like 'precipitating stressor'. The deep point is that we ALL have the ancient emotional brain in addition to our sophisticated fore-brains - the emotional brain functions much more primitively, and via the so-called "Amygdala Hijack" our brains are so architected that the ancient emotional brain is SUPPOSED to TAKE CONTROL when we *FEEL* threatened. So the question is not about your urges during normal everyday life. The question is, what will be your instinctive response should be in the case that whatever the foundations-of-your-security may be, they are THREATENED. Say by job loss or someone steals your sex partner. The idea is that your EMOTIONAL brain is learning, that the appropriate response is to just go out and shoot the threatening person.

Re:WHAT - conscious vs emotional urges (1, Insightful)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682922)

When I got stabbed, I didn't stab back.

When I got dumped several times, I didn't lash out.

When I got fired because someone ELSE was stealing money, I didn't even raise my voice.

When I got hit by a car, I didn't get angry.

Tell me again what my 'emotional brain' is learning?

Re:WHAT - conscious vs emotional urges (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683192)

I think he missed the point entirely. I wonder whether the "FBI Profiler" had some hidden agenda?

Re:WHAT - Sorry ! (1)

pg--az (650777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683294)

I was foolish to phrase my comments with "your", although "one's urges" sounds stilted it is less personal and I am not interested in personal attacks, just trying to play "Wise Person". From the above "When I" history, you definitely have better emotional control than I do. Sorry, PG

Re:WHAT - Sorry ! (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683320)

I wasn't taking it personally, just saying... where's the proof my emotional brain is learning anything "socially unacceptable" that automatically kicks in when horrible stuff happens to me? I suppose it's possible that it's all a matter of self control (there's that pesky personal responsibility again!) and I can ignore my emotional brain when I need to, and the people who go to school and shoot twenty people don't.

Re:WHAT - Wim Hof vs Emotional Brain (1)

pg--az (650777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683446)

[[ where's the proof MY emotional brain ]] Did you catch the article on Wim Hof the 'Iceman' today on Abcnews, it includes comments by Dr. Kamler - his "Surviving the Extremes" is a great book, I flagged many pages. On the usually automatic nature of emotional response, I found the scenarios in Gonzales' "Deep Survival" to be enlightening, although a few but not the majority of Amazon reviewers have a lower opinion on that one. Obviously there are genes and epi-genes related to emotional control - like "Wim Hof", some have the right stuff, others don't.

Re:WHAT - conscious vs emotional urges (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683406)

Tell me again what my 'emotional brain' is learning?
How to patiently wait for the day when you can exact your revenge?

Re:WHAT?!?! (4, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682932)

"Personal responsibility" is a code-word for a refusal to look at contributory factors. It's a kind of simple-mindedness. The master-narrative you're playing into is this: social scientists are going to push through a bunch of regulations and restrictions because they correlate some influence with an unwanted behavior, when people should just be held responsible for their behaviors.

That populist sentiment misses a lot of the point of that kind of research. It may not have much to do with "banning" anything at all, but, for example, giving parents information that will help them decide if and when to bring videogame consoles into the home, or whether someone who is having trouble with violent behavior should be advised to stay away from videogames. That research is worthwhile even if there isn't a direct public policy connection.

I'm all in favor of the more nuanced view of the topic of media effects on behavior, and I think the authors of this book are right on. But the old canard of "what about personal responsibility?" strikes me as anti-intellectual crankiness.

Re:WHAT?!?! (5, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683162)

"Personal responsibility" is a code-word for a refusal to look at contributory factors.

But how come it's only ever the "unpopular things" that are questionned as to whether they affect behaviour - fictional violence, video games, rock music, Marilyn Manson, porn?

No one questions the violence in religious texts when it turns out a murderer was obsessed with the Bible or killed someone because "God says so". Unless they're a pagan or satanist, in which case, it's back to the "unpopular things" which must be banned again.

I've nothing against providing parents with information, but note that people do use these claims to ban things, even for adults. I think "personal responsibility" is a valid response when the claim put forward is that media alone can turn people into violent criminals.

Re:WHAT?!?! (2)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682948)

I grew up in the age of violent video games
Since this 'age' you speak of only started like 15 years ago (if that), I would say you haven't grown up at all.

Re:WHAT?!?! (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683014)

Really? There was nothing violent before 1993?

My son's favorite driving game is Carmageddon. Do I think he'll be a bad driver? No.

Re:WHAT?!?! (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683242)

I used to love Double Dragon (1987). Beating up people with baseball bats.

Sorry, what were you saying?

Re:WHAT?!?! (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683290)

Yeah, I remember all the protests and petition drives related to Double Dragon.

"Offtopic" ?! (0, Redundant)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682968)

Are you serious?

An accurate sampling? (1, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682526)

From TFA: "Our survey involved over 1200 kids in two states"

I am not versed in acceptable survey sampling standards, but given the 100's of 1000's (if not millions) of gamer-kids all across the country, this seems small to me. Just an uneducated observation....

Re:An accurate sampling? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682576)

Oh common that's statistics 101, kid. You could get a more accurate result with 120 participants, or a less accurate result with 12000 participants. That size of the sample doesn't make a difference as long as it is representative.

Re:An accurate sampling? (5, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682688)

You really aren't versed in survey sampling standards, most surveys only involve a couple hundred people, if that. The way surveys work is you use a small number of people but you statistically balance the people involved based on catagories (they call these demographics). For example, if 40% of kids who play video games are between the ages of 6 and 10, white, and come from middle class families, then 40 out of 100 kids in the study need to be between the ages of 6 and 10, white, and come from middle class families. Depending on how accurate you wanted to go, if you have accurate demographics to start with you could get decent results using 100 kids in a single town, but that would be very very hard to do, and hard to verify your results. It's not 1200 that should worry you for accuracy, that's actually a pretty large number; it's the two states part. It seems to me they may not be taking region of the country into account for this, which might be a factor or might not.

Re:An accurate sampling? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682998)

So these demographics are based on what? Previous surveys? I guess my question is, who gets to say what the demographics are? Since this isn't exactly Census data we are talking about here...that is to say, no one has come to my house and asked me the ages of my kids and what games they play.

Re:An accurate sampling? (4, Informative)

esme (17526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682780)

You're being to simplistic -- the sample size needed for good predictions isn't directly related to the total number of gamers. The size of the sample needed is related to error introduced by the measures used and the phenomenon measured. If you have a robust methodology, you may need only a few subjects. If there are huge errors introduced by your methodology (political polling is a good example of this), you may need thousands of subjects.

I didn't read the article (this is slashdot, after all...), but any good psychologist would include statistics indicating the probability that the results were caused by error or random chance, usually this number should be very low, 5% or lower. See the wikipedia article on P-values [wikipedia.org] for more on this.

But to answer your question: many psychological experiments are done with a much smaller number of subjects (50 or so), and get very low P-values. The effect being tested here may be harder to reliably measure, but the sample size is also pretty large. So there's no reason to think that 1,200 is too low, unless the stats say otherwise.

-Esme

Re:An accurate sampling? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683328)

I don't mean to get all pedantic on you, but you tripped one of my peeves. It's not methodology, it is just method[s]. Methodology is the study of methods.

Re:An accurate sampling? (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682894)

Well, that happens to be one of those funny ways that mathematics likes to grab your intuition by the red rubber nose and give it a resounding snap.

IANAS (I Am Not A Statistician), but this is the situation as I understand it.

Suppose I have a room with a hundred people in it. Some of them are mathematicians, whose noses I've blackened with a magic marker. Everybody is wearing red rubber clown noses. Your job is to snap enough noses that you have a reasonable estimate of what proportion of them are mathematicians. Let's say you check five people, and two have smudgy noses. That gives you an estimate of 40%, but it's not very reliable, so you continue checking until you have snapped 50 rubber noses, and found twenty mathematicians. Now you're pretty confident the ration is about 40%, right?

Now suppose there were a thousand people in the room. You're a bit less confident in your 40% effort, but you're still almost as confident. But look: increasing the sample by a factor of ten made you a LOT more confident; increasing the population by a factor of 10 makes almost no difference (at least with these numbers; a 1 in 50 result would be a different kettle of fish).

Samples over a certain range get rapidly better -- much faster than linearly, and then they kind of run out of steam because they can't really get much better or they'd be perfect. The upshot is that for many experimental designs you aren't much better off having 500 subjects over having 50, whether the population you are sampling is 10,000 or 100,000,000. In fact you might be worse off it the population size is, say, 500 -- at least if you are interested in gaining any insights about your null hypothesis.

It's a good thing too. If you think about it, if you do something like a drug trial with a hundred or so subjects in it are supposed to stand in for all of the 6.7 billion people on the planet.

In any case, I'm always a bit skeptical when I see studies with sample sizes in the thousands. It's not financially efficient to conduct real studies this size, so they tend to be hashing together data from sources collected for other purposes. Such studies have their place, of course. They also have their limitations.

Re:An accurate sampling? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683096)

How do statisticians account for the 'willing to take a survey' factor? I often wonder that when I hear survey results. In your example, what if the mathematicians thought 'I've already had my nose marked, I don't want to screw around here anymore' and just leave? Like phone polls only include people who don't have caller ID and/or people with copious free time to answer a survey.

Re:An accurate sampling? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683184)

Well, that's really a different question altogether. It is, of course, to reach wrong conclusions by a process that is mathematically unimpeachable, simply by starting with questionable data.

This is a problem for the peer review process; you have to disclose how you got the data and people take turns sneering at you for being too stupid to count those fellows smudgy nosed guys running out the door. You of course have to disclose that you lost some, because they know you did, and probably have a pretty good idea of roughly how many you probably lost. When it's your turn you return the favor to them.

In any case, there is one ready answer always appropriate to this kind of question: it needs more study.

Re:An accurate sampling? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683266)

Well said. And thanks for giving me intelligent answers without making me feel like an ass for even asking.

Re:An accurate sampling? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683546)

I am not versed in acceptable survey sampling standards, but given the 100's of 1000's (if not millions) of gamer-kids all across the country, this seems small to me. Just an uneducated observation....


Correct, you are not versed in "acceptable survey sampling standards" or even the basic theory underlying sampling. The size of the population being sampled is not a factor in the size of the sample needed to draw conclusions to any degree of confidence. see Required sample sizes for hypothesis tests [wikipedia.org] .

correlation and causation (1)

yali (209015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683564)

The sample size isn't the issue (it's a pretty good sample size, as surveys go). Rather, it's that the researcher is proposing to throw out a large body of research [psychologicalscience.org] including randomized experiments and longitudinal followups, in favor of her own one-time survey study.

It's almost as though "you can't show cause-and-effect with a one-time survey." Wait a minute, where did I get that quote? From Dr. Cheryl K. Olson, quoted directly from TFA. It's almost unbelievable that she's apparently saying it with a straight face while asking us to draw causal conclusions (null ones) from her one-time survey.

In related news, looking at pr0n... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682556)

doesn't make you want to go have lots of sex.

And eating Habaneros no longer burns your a**hole.

More at 9.

-AC

I am a researcher in this field (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682588)

Not violence in games specifically, but I have done original research on behavior and its relation to violent video games. My results show a temporary increase (lasting around 15-20 minutes) in violent behavior after playing a selection of video games with varying types of violence. Some of these are first person shooters, some are fighting games, etc.

Now, before you naysayers get your panties in a bunch, keep in mind, we are professionals. No one in my group had any agenda apart from doing good research. We had no stake in the outcome, and were not funded by anyone who would be able to influence our results. We controlled for all the variables you can think of and plenty you can't.

The results are good, and I trust our conclusions.

And if even one of you tries that "correlation is not causation" thing you love I'll scream, especially since it doesn't even apply to our study.

Re:I am a researcher in this field (5, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682710)

"Trust me" says the Anonymous Coward pointing to hypothetical results of an unnamed study that may or may not even exist.

"Sure," says I, "When I get bacon delivered through my second-story window fresh off the flying pig."

I expected that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682812)

I don't really recall saying "trust me" anywhere, if I did, I apologize. I have no desire to convince anyone of anything, so the animosity you're exhibiting is uncalled for. I simply told you what I do and what our research has shown, and that I am confident in the results. You're free to do whatever you like with that information.

As I said, I expected a reaction like yours. I have to wonder though, why you chose to attack me rather than ask me questions and educate yourself.

Re:I expected that (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682830)

Because I don't think you have anything--elsewise you would name the study, tell what journal it was published in and what year, and discuss the methodology.

Right now, I can only assume you're talking through your hat--especially as you're too much of a coward to post other than anonymously, though doubtless you have some "excuse" as to why you can't put even a pseudonym to your claims.

Put up or shut up.

If you ever wonder what happened to Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683008)

We're currently preparing the data, we haven't published yet, and it hasn't been independently verified. Which is why I said "I'm confident" and not "it's been independently verified". Again, I don't know why you attack me when you could have gotten that answer simply by asking like a civilized person.

Re:I expected that (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683010)

People who earn their bread by publishing aren't really keen on giving out their data before it's properly published. That's because journals aren't keen on publishing studies where the data is in the public domain. So authors tend to be secretive about articles they're getting ready to publish, although they sometimes (often) can't resist blabbing a bit about their conclusions.

I see this sort of thing all the time.

I'm sure our AC would be glad to give us some referenes to published studies, if you promise to look them up and read them.

Re:I expected that (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683250)

I'm sure our AC would be glad to give us some referenes to published studies, if you promise to look them up and read them.

My understanding is that there are published studies showing an effect, there are published studies showing no effect, and some even suggest a reverse correlation. So this doesn't really help us.

And we have no hope if questioning a study if it's just some AC saying so. If you like, I'll log out and post anonymously, claiming I have just been performing a study showing the reverse affect. But really - even if the AC is being sincere, we have no chance to see what his research is really telling us, or find any possible flaws.

As you say, researchers have reasons for being secretive - so why blab about it at all on Slashdot? Wait until it's published and reviewed, that's how science works - not on hearsay from anonymous commenters on the Internet!

Re:I expected that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683468)

And we have no hope if questioning a study if it's just some AC saying so. If you like, I'll log out and post anonymously, claiming I have just been performing a study showing the reverse affect. But really - even if the AC is being sincere, we have no chance to see what his research is really telling us, or find any possible flaws.


I think I need to clarify a few things for you. You need to know I have no desire to convince you of anything, nor do I care to prove my results to you. That's not why I posted. I posted with the intention of answering questions about the subject, because I thought there would be at least a smattering of individuals who would like to get some references and learn a few things.

so why blab about it at all on Slashdot?


Why not? I've exposed nothing and will not allow you or anyone else to force my hand, so what's the harm? I enjoy discussing the topic, although I have done too little of that as yet. And I find it very interesting that you say "blab" which has a pejorative connotation. Is information, even unverified, something you fear? Why?

Re:I expected that (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683624)

I have to wonder though, why you chose to attack me rather than ask me questions and educate yourself.


Isn't it obvious? Clearly he just got done playing a violent video game.

Re:I am a researcher in this field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683020)

You know, all the cool people get their bacon by just pulling it off a pig as it walks by. I'm gonna go find me a pig and rip off a hunk right now.

Who modded this insightful? (1)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683344)

""Trust me" says the Anonymous Coward pointing to hypothetical results of an unnamed study that may or may not even exist."

Don't be an ass, researchers don't talk about their results before they publish. That's probably what's happening here.

Re:I am a researcher in this field (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682800)

It's a shame you didn't post a link to some of your articles, I'd have liked to have had a look. One thing which seems especially interesting here (other than the methodological issues concerning sampling - but methodology seems to be my hobby horse) is the question of "why" it should be that being exposed to one thing makes you more likely for a limited time to do that thing... I wouldn't have thought that socialisation could work in such a short space of time, and I think normalisation is the same. We can see people doing things all the time which we still feel are wrong and shouldn't be emulated. So the question is still "why"?

Off the top of my head (and I'm not a researcher in this field - it may show) but I wonder if evolutionary psychology might not have something to say here... could it be that seeing violence prepares us to either fight or "fly", and that results in more violence - I guess this would cause feelings which seem to pop up out of nowhere and then disappear after 20 mins or so.

Anyway, an interesting field... anyone got any research on the why?

Re:I am a researcher in this field (1)

John Miles (108215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682992)

My results show a temporary increase (lasting around 15-20 minutes) in violent behavior after playing a selection of video games with varying types of violence. Some of these are first person shooters, some are fighting games, etc.

And your control group included kids running around outside playing Cowboys & Indians and Cops & Robbers, too... right?

Re:I am a researcher in this field (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683122)

I'm not surprised at all, and I don't doubt you.

The thing is, and I'm not trying to put words in your mouth like, "VIDEOGAMES MAKE KILLERS," but what level of increased violence are we talking? There's no doubt I'm more likely to punch my friend in the shoulder when we play Tekken, and maybe I'm even more likely to shoot someone, but if the chance that I'm going to get stabby is 0.01% and a game brings it up to 0.0101% who cares?

Waking up at 6AM gets me pissed off too, but I do it every day. Should we outlaw 9-5 jobs now?

Re:I am a researcher in this field (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683216)

My results show a temporary increase (lasting around 15-20 minutes) in violent behavior after playing a selection of video games with varying types of violence. Some of these are first person shooters, some are fighting games, etc.

How did you measure violence?

Also I'm glad that you point out that any effect, if at all, is temporary. Often there are studies which say "We showed some images and then asked them some questions", and those wanting to ban the media leap to the conclusion that viewing the material has a lasting effect.

I take it you have a link to your published results, Mr Anonymous?

As I have told others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22683284)

We haven't published yet, and we haven't had our results verified, which is why I said I'm confident, not "we've been independently verified".

And as someone else with a more advanced grasp of the process has posted, most people in my industry don't openly discuss specifics before publishing. The publishers don't really like that. While I understand your skepticism, I find that the repeated attacks (in your case veiled but still obvious) stem more from a lack of knowledge about the process than anything else.

Re:As I have told others (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683366)

I replied to that post - yes, I know now you have reasons, but the point is we can't discuss, debate or speculate research before it is published.

So let's stick to the studies which have been published (which, as I understand it, claim a range of possible effects with no clear conclusion). Maybe the decades long debate of media and violence will be solved by your study, but then maybe that will be overturned by a study released the day after. Who knows.

I am not attacking anyone, btw, I apologise if my last line sounded flippant, but your OP didn't state the research had yet to be unpublished - my only lack of knowledge is what you did not tell us.

Are you able to answer my question on how you measured violence, at least?

What about the programmers? (2, Insightful)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682602)

People are always concerned about what the effects of playing violent video games might be, but nobody seems to question whether there are any undesirable effects of programming these games. I imagine that a programmer, stressing out to meet the game's shipping deadline in the face of a show-stopping heisenbug somewhere in the code, might be more inclined to do something violent during a particularly frustrating midnight debugging session, such as take the computer up to the roof of his company's 12-story office building and then drop it to the ground whilst yelling profanities at the top of his lungs.

I think there should be a law that people have to pass a background check before being allowed to program violent video games.

Re:What about the programmers? (1)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683032)

Nah, if the stress gets to be too much, we just kill an artist.

And eat him.

Re:What about the programmers? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683262)

On a similar line, you'd think if viewing material was really harmful for adults, then those working for the censors (like the BBFC in the UK) would be the most harmful violent people of the lot!

Strangely there are no calls to lock them up though, in case "one of them might go on to commit a violent crime"...

Re:What about the programmers? (1)

rgo (986711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683570)

Any programmer could be working under heavy stress, so I don't get your point that programmers working on violent games can get more violent.

It is very hard to gague cause and effect (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682626)

When it comes to self-selected behavior like what movies people see, what games they play, what drugs they partake of, etc., it is very difficult to determine cause and effect.

If people who watch R-rated games tend to be more violent than those who don't, are the movies making them more violent than they otherwise would have been? Maybe, but determining a "yes" or "no" answer is far from easy and far from certain.

It's correlation masquearding as causation. (1, Interesting)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683378)

If people who watch R-rated games tend to be more violent than those who don't, are the movies making them more violent than they otherwise would have been?

It's not impossible, or even overly difficult, for egghead researchers to answer this question...but it IS more work. Besides, a mere correlation seems to be all that is required for making voter-friendly knee-jerk policy, so very few people or institutions ever request or fund the extra work required.

Playing violent games (or watching violent films or whatever media you're consuming) does not cause violent behaviour...it IS violent behaviour. I don't think it matters if you kick your neighbour's dog, drown your sister's cat, stab some random person you've picked a drunken fight with at the local pub or blew the head off of some virtual being in a video game...it's the same kind of violent behaviour on different scales. There are laws concerning all these violent behaviours and it ultimately doesn't eliminate them.

As such, I think that the heavy consumption of violent video games and other media, beyond some reasonable level, is more a symptom of psychological issues rather than the cause of anything. I think that in large part that is because children's upbringings are more institutionally-influenced than ever. When I was growing up we were just starting to see the "latch key kids" phenomenon come to the forefront, where both parents worked and were not home for a couple of hours after kids got home from school. It was still commonplace for one parent to be home, or at least stay home until the kids were old enough to be "latch key kids". The community was more friendly too--more people were at home during the day, you knew more neighbours, kids ventured outside and interactions were more personal...and so on. Kids were brought up, at least in the early years, by PARENTS and by the immediate community.

Today, people feel entitled to more luxuries than ever before, governments feel entitled to be bigger and to have more of your tax money than ever before and the marketplace feels entitled to more of the rest of your money. As a result both/all of the adults in a family feel it is required of them to work as much as possible. As soon as parental leave is over it's back to work and put the baby in a daycare. The daycare worker raises the child for the bulk of the day...then the teachers. Extra-curricular activities are super-structured (school-programmes and such), and otherwise activities are passive and institutional. "Professionals" like coaches and programme managers and TV writers are too often the only influential people who shape young minds as parents all too often get self absorbed in furthering careers, financing giant houses with upside-down mortgages, making payments on the new car and so on.

Some people subscribe to the "Lord of the Flies" view, that left morally unguided humans will create a chaotic and violent society. I think that "institutional guidance" is even worse than total non-guidance in some ways. Perhaps we are inherently selfish, but with child care and educational professionals all espousing "child centric" theories and methods we seem to be ENCOURAGING this selfishness to the point of breeding little sociopathic tyrants. It's all about what the child wants and fulfilling all the child's desires and instilling any sense of empathy or concern for others of any kind is seriously neglected. Most kids can cope but there is a segment of the population, whether through a bad home environment or some peculiar wiring of the brain, become DANGEROUSLY sociopathic and tyrannical.

As such kids grow up they evolve from being selfish in the pursuit of gratification to being gratified at the expense of others. They get high off feeling superior. Kids these days can use some monstrously cruel emotional torture along with the escalating physical violence. I think that addiction to violent games is one step on this path, just like bullying peers or torturing animals. It is just as futile to try and take away the violent games as it is to try to keep animals or bullied victims away from such people--they just find more targets elsewhere. All of these social activists wringing their hands about video game violence really have to dig deeper to the root cause, if they really care about the problem that is. I think many of them out there just rail against the symptoms because they are sociopathic on some level themselves (they do it to gain public prominence, public office, or otherwise get a feeling of self importance).

Oh well, I could ramble on forever about this.

Re:It is very hard to gague cause and effect (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683526)

I guess this is a place where running studies on a broad sample of the population - different ages, ethnicities, genders, backgrounds, and - most importantly - tastes in games/movies/whatever - would be beneficial. "People who like violent movies are more likely to commit violent crimes" could be rewritten as "People who commit violent crimes are more likely to like violent movies." It's difficult to show any kind of causality there. But if your sample shows that people, whether they actually like violent movies or not, are nonetheless more violent after watching them, that might be more meaningful. This is presumably more difficult with testing games, since you would have to have a certain degree of skill - and therefore be the type of person who would play those games - in order to play them effectively enough to be included in the study.

Personally, I find that I only get more aggressive when playing frustrating games - the crappy arcade-style stuff where it's almost impossible not to get pwned every 30 seconds because the controls aren't responsive enough. It's annoying, and it pisses me off, and I'll sometimes shout a bit or throw things. On the other hand, Unreal Tournament (my favourite "violent" game) never made me even a tiny bit more aggressive. If anything, I would just get a little nauseated occasionally when I'd seen too many heads blow up.

Its just something (2, Insightful)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682658)


That gives lazy politicians something to do! Lets save our children from the violent video games! Instead of, oh, I dunno, managing tax reform, social problems, basically stuff you were elected to do.

Violent media has been around since the dawn of time, in the form of TV, books, sports etc etc etc. Its not going anywhere, kids, so don't worry about it. Wherever there is a market, the product will get served.

Perfect.. (1)

mikeinwa (1237758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682662)

Its about time something like this came out. It is about parents raising their children properly, not the games they play.

But... but... but... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682738)

This would mean that Jack Thompson really is a crank.

Won't somebody think of Jack??????????

Alright, I admit it! (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682774)

I've developed violent tendencies towards zombies, trolls and robots.

remember the cell phone FUD? (1)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682938)

I don't know if it was the case in the US, but in France, when cell phones became popular, they were mostly used by teenagers. And there was a lot of FUD, about how that would make them antisocial, or stupid, or unaware of the outside world, etc.

Mostly it came from people (and journalists) ranting because they found teens phoning on the street obnoxious.

Then all of a sudden, it stopped. Why? because then the amount of 60+ old people owning a cell phone had risen to 70% !

It's the same thing with video games; now they're becoming a common thing among adults, ie those who vote, buy newspaper and work as journalists.
That's all.

I liked the comment by "J. Thompson, Esq." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22682972)

From the thread in TFA:

Silvercube: "Does violent video game desensitize the act of killing?"

I think one way to answer that question is by asking, "Who cares?" If the juvenile crime rates aren't rising, you don't even have correlation between violent actions and violence in media, much less causation.

Another approach is to look at children who are raised in climates and cultures of real-life violence. Does anything that happens in GTA or Postal come close to events in Darfur, Cambodia, WWII-era Europe, or even Israel and Palestine? If growing up in these traumatic real-life environments doesn't lead to daily murder sprees in those countries' schools, it seems awfully safe to suggest that video games don't, either.

A word about studies and bias (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683072)

No mater how hard someone doing a study tries, there will be some bias and it may be completely unexpected.
That's OK. that's why studies are done open, done many times, and looked at.

Certainly who sponsored the study is something to look at, but it doesn't automatically mean the study is flawed. It's especially important when a study goes against previous studies.

So stop with the 'study is biased ' crap. Of course it is. Look at the result and see if it skewed the data, or id the study used bad techniques.

For the topic at hand, It is clear that violent games have a short term effect.
Adrenalin, acting out violent behaviors are all common to some degree.
It will go on for as long as the adrenalin is their system, and/or until it stops being funny.

I think there can be a point where the game can cause problems. We're not there it technologically, but it doesn't mean we won't cross the threshold.

If someone had a holodeck, could playing war games cause someone to be shell shock? desensitize someone to violence? I don't know and i hope not. That doesn't mean we shouldn't study it.

This conclusion should've been obvious. (1)

HazyRigby (992421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683102)

Just as those with an agenda to push became convinced that pornography leads to rape, today's overwrought "think of the children" hysterics attack video games. If video games truly were a starting point for murderers and thugs, we'd see a sharp increase in said crimes as video games became more popular. In fact, the reverse is true, and according to the Wiki article on crime in the U.S., 2005 was the safest year overall in the last thirty.

People relentlessly analyze everything that offenders do, searching for something to blame. But the confusion of correlation with causation is perhaps one of the stupidest mistakes researchers (and the public) can make.

I wish we could stop focusing on silly issues like whether the new Halo game is offensive to members of the Flood or whether the main character in Grand Theft Auto kills hookers. We've got people suffering and dying all over the world, and bored biddies would rather censor our PlayStations than do some actual good. I suppose the lure of controlling others' lives is stronger than helping people.

Re:This conclusion should've been obvious. (1)

Devin Jeanpierre (1243322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683436)

If video games truly were a starting point for murderers and thugs, we'd see a sharp increase in said crimes as video games became more popular.
Not necessarily. That would only be true all the time if everything else related to crime increases and decreases stayed at exactly the same level-- and they certainly haven't. It's possible that video games cause crime, but that the overall decrease in crime since the 90's has masked it to such a simple method of observation. Not that I believe it has, but you haven't shown it to be impossible, and so you can't simply conclude that video games have no effect on crime.

Nobody cares... (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683148)

No amount of studies will convince the anti-video game people they are wrong. They ALREADY KNOW they're wrong. The reality is that they're either front groups for religious organizations trying to get donations by focusing on the "hot button" issue of video game violence, or they're front groups sponsored by television and film groups afraid of the competition. They exact same thing played out with comic books and roleplaying games.

Religious organizations pretend they're "fighting" X to solicit donations so they can get rich/spread their religious ideas. Nobody involved cares about kids at all.

AND NO AGENDA (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683180)

It is in the summary, we need to look at the issue with NO AGENDA.

Be honest, how many of us does that rule out?

If have undergo military training in the past, and looking back, I know that through carefull management of my emotions I was being trained to be a killer. I really didn't notice it at the time, but training like that is designed to make you feel part of a group and you want to protect and fight for that team and kill those who are not in the same colors.

So I KNOW you can be manipulated.

Are claims that violent games decensitize you to violence then really that odd?

I noticed something, the same people who scream that goverments are training killers are the same who say that violent games have no influence on people. The two don't add up.

Any normal person can be influenced by media. A simple experiment, play the theme from love story and the theme from jaws over the same scene, wanna bet you look at each clip with a different heart rate?

But it doesn't really matter if the influence is there or not, first we got to accept that scaremongering politicans and selfish players are NEITHER suited to give an unbiased opinion on this subject. What next, we ask smokers about the danger of smoking or the tobacco industry? No, we ask doctors who are supposed to start each study with an open mind.

It is sad to see so clearly that this hasn't happened when it comes to games BUT this by no means proof that games are harmless. We really need independent study in this area AND then IF games are shown to have an influence, ask ourselves wether the influence is worth basic freedoms. For instance, we know drinking is bad for you, but we still allow it.

Don't get too excited, kids (1)

musth (901919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22683584)

The mass of evidence still favors the link. http://www.apa.org/science/psa/sb-anderson.html [apa.org] answers some of the present study's objections. One study using somewhat different methodology doesn't suddenly invalidate the bulk of research - that's not the way statistics works.

Also, Dr. Olson doesn't strike me as completely impartial, based on the tone of her writing. It's one thing to point out how you believe your study is superior; another to impute biased motivations to other researchers (e.g. "the most-published researchers have built their careers around media violence"). Clearly to me she's to some degree part of the political war here.

Here's another example of this kind of reasoning:

On the topic of gaming violence, Slashdot overwhelmingly publishes items that scoff at the idea of a link between gaming and violent behavior, as opposed to items that support a link. Gee, I wonder why that is?....because the Slashdot readership is generally 12-35 year old males with a strong interest in computers and playing video games, the exact hormone-engorged demographic the violent crap is marketed to?
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