Critical Miss: Gamer Science

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Gamer Science

Slander versus Pander.

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Well, what's sounds better, having millions of stupid, introverted people, or millions of people with laser vision and flight?

Maybe that's just wishful thinking...

Too true. Gamers are so quick to try to discredit or dismiss studies that come out in some way against their hobby, but herald pro-game studies as the truth. You can't have it both ways, guys.

Funny, I was thinking about this just yesterday...

Lol, basically

There's a happy medium, I just think neither scientific "side" of the arguement wants to look for it.

BTW: Most Stealth Bombers have at one point in their life played a video game with a joystick. Proof that video games can have a practical application ^^

personally speaking, i think if i never had a game to come home to and slaughter legions of soldiers, or zombies, or cops, or... whatever i'm choosing to de-life that day, i most likely would've looked for that same satisfaction IRL. but, knowing that i DID have that optional, consequence-free outlet for my anger at my peers and elders, i chose that nearly every time. humans had war and violence and murder and rape and pillaging and destruction and genocide and justin bieber and all the other bad things in life WAAAY before tv's and videogames were around. this may be hard for some people to accept, but at the end of the day, we're all just ultra-violent war machines looking for a reason to push the button.

True enough.

Nobody likes to hear that their hobby is turning them into a serial killer. Evidence be damned!

I love these comics

Science is a fickle beast. But not half as fickle as the media.

Who's surprised that people don't want to be portrayed as idiots and would prefer to be portrayed as superheroes?

It's hardly just "gamers" on that account.

Just a thought: What happens if the pander was 100% right? We'd still be having this argument , wouldn't we? And we'd still have people calling those who try to be right, "fanbois".

Perhaps...the Medic needs healing as well?

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Too true. Gamers are so quick to try to discredit or dismiss studies that come out in some way against their hobby, but herald pro-game studies as the truth. You can't have it both ways, guys.

except that most anti-game argumental studies often group gamers as an entire clump and only use gaming as a basis of their, at best, guesses.

I play my fair share of violent video games, everything from stomping on turtles to shooting up a meeting between two gangs, and yet Im not a violent person, nor has gaming caused any of my social disabilities, in fact the opposite, my social disabilities is what caused me to get into gaming [who needs friends when I have Mario!].

Sure, in order to get a full view of how video games affect the mind, we need to see both sides and be willing to make concessions, but much like Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, I don't see either side making concessions until the other admits they are wrong.

martyrdrebel27:
personally speaking, i think if i never had a game to come home to and slaughter legions of soldiers, or zombies, or cops, or... whatever i'm choosing to de-life that day, i most likely would've looked for that same satisfaction IRL. but, knowing that i DID have that optional, consequence-free outlet for my anger at my peers and elders, i chose that nearly every time. humans had war and violence and murder and rape and pillaging and destruction and genocide and justin bieber and all the other bad things in life WAAAY before tv's and videogames were around. this may be hard for some people to accept, but at the end of the day, we're all just ultra-violent war machines looking for a reason to push the button.

And there was a guy who lived by me who drank 15 monster drinks and committed murder suicide. Some people are not balanced to begin with. Like the fake scientist said ... you know what it doesn't matter you are arguing with a fake scientist I think you proved the point. You can't tell what is IRL.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Too true. Gamers are so quick to try to discredit or dismiss studies that come out in some way against their hobby, but herald pro-game studies as the truth. You can't have it both ways, guys.

You sort of can if you take into account the way the studies are done or what they ignore to make their point.

No study that says gaming causes aggression, as far as I have seen, and it was my focus for two years in Psychology A Level, has ever also acknowledged that movies, music and books are just as likely to cause an increase in violence. In point of fact, any media that a person can get emotionally involved in will cause a change in the behaviour or responses of said person. Games are no more likely to do it than any other media and they don't cause a greater or lesser reaction to any other form of media. To put it bluntly, Mark Chapman would have been just as likely to shoot John Lennon after playing a rousing game of Portal as he would have been after listening to Helter Skelter or reading Catcher in the Rye.

What anti-gaming studies always to me seem to be suggesting is that gaming is somehow a worse past-time, with the implication often being that only video-gaming can cause such aggression. This is of course bullshit as simple common sense will reveal. People murder and kill and start fights for any number of reasons, and there are hundreds of stimulus in everyday life which could potentially provoke such behaviour.

So yes I am fully able to call all anti-gaming studies bullshit, as long as they ignore the fact (as most if not all do) that anything and everything causes aggression, not just gaming.

In contrast, what most pro-gaming studies seem to be saying is not that games don't cause aggression and violence, but that they don't cause a complete change in behaviour. If we return for a moment to the more inflammatory and stupid of the anti-game 'studies' we have such gems as 'gaming causes rape.' Whether or not gaming does or doesn't cause rape, the anti-gaming studies would trumpet loudly 'GAMING CAUSES RAPE' whereas the pro-gaming studies would be a little more mature about it and claim 'Gaming is no more likely to cause rape than listening to Sublime's song Date Rape' That's the difference.

So actually this comic is really putting across the wrong image here. Pro-gaming studies do not make such wild claims, and in fact the only wild claims I've seen put forth have been made by people who really haven't done much actual science in their study. If you take the time to read through the research instead of just the headlines, then everyone, gamer and non-gamer alike, might become just a little bit more intelligent.

But of course that's about as likely as the tides changing direction so probably best to ignore everything I just said and go team retard.

True. Everything negative about gaming is propaganda, everything positive is an objective fact.

GaltarDude1138:
Well, what's sounds better, having millions of stupid, introverted people, or millions of people with laser vision and flight?

Maybe that's just wishful thinking...

I don't think I want that many people having laser vision. Just think of what percentage of those people are total dicks and will probably just destroy everything in their sight. (hint: most of them). :D

There certainly is a middle ground. Most of the so called "Violent Games cause Violence"-Studies don't try to prove that. Psychology doesn't work that way, at least not in a single study. Your average study will always just try to pin down correlations and from

"There is a correlation between people who show violent behavior and people who play video games"

it is a far stretch to "Violent Video Games cause violence" but this is true for any kind of psycholgical exam. There are litarary hundreds of thousands of probelms to the hypothesis "Violent Video Games cause Violence", this is a problem fit for a generation of scienticsts, not single teams of researchers.

Here are some hints at these problems:

-How to measure Violence? How to guarantee that what you measure is not caused by the study-environment and would actually occur in real life?

-What is Violence? Violent Behavior? Beating people up? Shouting at your parents? Or just brain activity in specific areas of your prefrontal cortex? Huge different for the press release.

-How to get a controll group? Almost every young person from the civilized world these days play video games of some sort.

-How to make sure that there are no external causes or preexisting problems that get empowered by the violence in games?

-How is violence in games different than in films/books/fairy tales?

So in summary, I don't see the main problem in the community's hypocracy, but rather in the way scientific work gets presented these days. When a neurologist talks about violence, he will most certainly mean something else than us average joes.

There are people out there who do this sort of thing, and many of them are hypocrites or just stupid. However, regardless of how good the science is, we still need to be aware of how it will be used. The frustration people display whenever a study comes out that suggests games may have negative effects is born more from the knowledge of how that study is going to be used - how its results, however sensible, will be distorted or even ignored, while more drastic conclusions are attributed to it by pundits and politicians who have, in many cases, as little knowledge of experimental design and interpretation as posters on game forums. What really gets to many of us, I think, is that, even though there are people on either side who selectively interpret results, it's mostly those on the anti-game side who actually have the power to act on those biased opinions. So yeah, maybe some of us over-react to studies that suggest that games are capable of having less-than-positive effects. But then none of us are in a position where we might use that bias to try and build up an image for a family values ticket run, or otherwise try and use it for personal gain, so at least people acting this way on our side are the lesser of the two evils present here.

This comic isn't about gamers, it's about humans in general.

c.f. anti-vaccinations, astrology, homeopathy etc.

I say that people are naturally violent and those who are in the wrong mind set will look at ANY form of media for ideas on how to channel that hatred. It's not just video games, video games are just the easy target now.

"...Can exacerbate pre-existing social and mental difficulties..."
*sarcasm* ...NOOOOOOO! You think?

"...Laser vision..."
That's...that's just silly.

Great comic again! Short but sweet, though I always prefer to see the characters interacting but this was fun in it's own way. Put it like this:
Studies showing the negative effects of being an avid gamer (and not much else) are about as insightful as the 30 Days of McDonalds movie. Sometimes there's a bit of new info you might be interested in, but ultimately it's just repeating what common sense says: it's bad for you. At least stretch or jog in the mornings or something. Don't want to get heart disease at an early age.
However, the studies that are pro-avid gamer often don't show anything concrete, and when they do it's useless and sometimes kinda...well...

Health issues are obvious and don't need studies to prove them, however not every study that doesn't say games grant laser vision is the equivalent of the "violent games = mass murder" type studies. It's not all made to put down gamers...though most of it is needless.

Also: Needs more bears =3

MelasZepheos:
To put it bluntly, Mark Chapman would have been just as likely to shoot John Lennon after playing a rousing game of Portal as he would have been after listening to Helter Skelter or reading Catcher in the Rye.

Well, he may not have shot John Lennon, but he might have killed Gabe Newell with neurotoxin.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Too true. Gamers are so quick to try to discredit or dismiss studies that come out in some way against their hobby, but herald pro-game studies as the truth. You can't have it both ways, guys.

Well, what are we supposed to say? "You know what? Maybe I really am just one more ragequit away from going postal with an SMG down the local mall." I don't buy it. If this was a serious issue, why don't we see horror stories revolving around gamers in the newspapers every day? Most news stories that feature "killer gamers", show us obviously highly unstable people, and who totally played Call of Duty that one time. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that videogames turn people into mindless, unfit zombies, who sometimes recover just for long enough to become raging psychopaths.

mechanixis:

Well, he may not have shot John Lennon, but he might have killed Gabe Newell with neurotoxin.

deadly neurotoxin.

Andronicus:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Too true. Gamers are so quick to try to discredit or dismiss studies that come out in some way against their hobby, but herald pro-game studies as the truth. You can't have it both ways, guys.

Well, what are we supposed to say? "You know what? Maybe I really am just one more ragequit away from going postal with an SMG down the local mall." I don't buy it. If this was a serious issue, why don't we see horror stories revolving around gamers in the newspapers every day? Most news stories that feature "killer gamers", show us obviously highly unstable people, and who totally played Call of Duty that one time. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that videogames turn people into mindless, unfit zombies, who sometimes recover just for long enough to become raging psychopaths.

Not having the majority of comments on a negative game article being "lalala, can't hear you", "Like psychology is a real science", and my personal favorite: "[insert anecdotal evidence that has no point or relevance]" would be a great start. You know how we prove we aren't all man-children? Respond rationally and sensibly to claims.

Its called Confirmation Bias.

That said, I still have yet to read a study linking gaming to violent behavior that really convinced me. I mean psychology is a really soft science to begin with. Take the last study reported about here - having less of a reaction to a violent image? That lacks any kind of context to suggest that it correlates to a desensitization to violence. All it means is that they were desensitized towards violent imagery. Looking at a picture and watching a person being brutally beaten right before your eyes are two entirely different scenarios.

Secondly the most these studies show is that gaming can be linked to an increase in aggressive behavior in the short term. Which makes sense - especially if you're playing with/against other people - you tend to get psyched up, but I don't imagine that's too different than aggressive behavior being increased through competition in general.

Finally if we're are all desensitized and more prone to violence - why aren't we seeing it reflected in society? The rate of violent crime is going down after all, as gaming becomes more popular. I'm not suggesting that the two are necessarily related - but if gaming really made people more violent you'd expect we'd see some sort of evidence of that in the general gaming population - but we really haven't. The gamer stereo-type is a wimpy-nerd, not a violent psychopath.

I get what the comic is saying, but even when I make myself look beyond my own confirmation biases its hard to take these studies too seriously. The human psyche is way too complex for me to believe that any one simple factor such as playing video games has a major affect on it.

While somewhat true, I would argue that taking out the "exacerbated, pre-existing" requirement out of the speech in the first square, and just putting in "is a root cause of" tends to be more in line with what most anti-gaming or overtly-critical-of-gaming studies put out overall. There is a very notable difference between "games cause this condition", and "games may help exacerbate a pre-existing condition".

ShadowsofHope:
While somewhat true, I would argue that taking out the "exacerbated, pre-existing" requirement out of the speech in the first square, and just putting in "is a root cause of" tends to be more in line with what most anti-gaming or overtly-critical-of-gaming studies put out overall. There is a very notable difference between "games cause this condition", and "games may help exacerbate a pre-existing condition".

Yeah but many gamers will just hear "gaming causes violence" (even though its probably talking abut aggressive behavior) and just respond with "I've been playing M games since I was 5 and I haven't murdered any one, stupid". They wont listen to qualifiers like pre existing aggression becomes more apparent, or those with little aggression avoid the violent content all together.

But every scientific study that portrays excessive gaming with negative connotations is a direct attack on me & my very measure of existence. I have no choice but to violently resist, lest I find myself in an existential crisis as my identity is stripped of value.

The laser vision guy seems legit. <3

I have to disagree with the video games = violence thing though. My rather aggresive nightmare of a father was quiet as a mouse after playing on Doom 2 with invulnerbility and the chain saw. It was like a stress reliever almost.

@MelasZepheos:

I logged in just to say that, although I would've never been so eloquent. Congratulations.

Pay attention, people. This is actually a pretty big problem around here.

Too much gaming is actually a bad thing. As is too much...well, ANYTHING. Still, the point stands.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Too true. Gamers are so quick to try to discredit or dismiss studies that come out in some way against their hobby, but herald pro-game studies as the truth. You can't have it both ways, guys.

Hehehe glad I'm not the only one who saw the double standard of it all.

You can't have your cake and eat it too.....mainly because it's a L-*COUGH* GRMMPH

*Gets grabbed by the over-used-joke police and is whisked away in a van*

neither have been peer reviewed.

Hate to say it but thats about the truth

Gotta love something funny and eye opening.

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