Critical Miss: Gamer Science

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You know what really exacerbates pre-existing social and mental difficulties when exposed to it in excess?

Glorifying war and government sanctioned murder for over a decade all across the globe. We now live in a generation where people will grow up to never know a world that existed without things like the 'Patriot Act', or the global war on terror.

Perhaps this shit needs to be.. ooh.. I don't know.. considered, when conducting studies of aggressive behavior patterns on the rise in teens. Because heaven forbid if environmental factors in one's "home" has anything to do with societal angst and cold, hard, unadulterated aggression aimed at authority. Whodathunkit, ya know? Create a world of unreal chaos, and guess what, you start living with it at home too.

But no, let's focus on video games, because clearly we need to scapegoat the symptoms instead of coming to the crux of the problem.

(Obligatory facepalm.jpg)

PS; Comic still represents a growing minority of internet scholars.

The problem isn't the science itself but how it's utilized.

"This study suggests that people who are mentally prone towards violence and are easily influenced become more violent when they play violent games frequently"

It's a stupid study. It's a needless study. Yes, it's "Science". But really it's just common sense or lack there-of.

I could make a study that suggests "People who dislike violence are disgusted by violent video games" and it would officially pass as Science.

With most of these studies being obviously politically charged and completely needless, there's no wonder a lot of people rally behind the idea that they're bullshit. Not because the results themselves are bullshit. They are accurate because they're made to portray games badly (I could do the same for just about anything. Such as a study that people who have low self esteem tend to get depressed if they are constantly insulted every day and wow, it'd be science!), but they are not accurate of a game's effect in general on the population and society at large.

As for the positive ones, they're more general to begin with, which is why they tend to garner the support of gamers. Not just that, they're a line of defense against these politically charged and fixed results.

There are very few neutral studies that actually pertains to video games and the effects of violence, etc etc. They're just difficult to find through the whole mess of idiotic tests...

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.

Lol. That's true.

But the irony is that scientific studies conclude that ALL people are inherently biased. (And their true biases are subconscious, so you're not really aware of them. The ones you are aware of aren't true biases by the mere fact that you know what they are, and can thus work around them if you have to.)

That being the case, all people will end up using their innate biases to pick and choose what they believe.

Evidence which contradicts their internal biases is rejected; Anything which supports them is not.

Inevitably, this leads to endless arguing between people with mutually contradictory biases, as neither will concede any point which undermines their own bias.

Whatever points they do concede, are the ones they were more or less ambivalent or uncertain about.

Makes politics seem a whole lot more futile once you know that, that's for sure.
(It also suggests in any given argument, the only people who should be allowed to make decisions on something are those with no implicit biases in the discussion at hand. - But that'd be impossible to work out in practice. And in some arguments, such a person might not even exist.)

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.

And fox news does the opposite, do you want to be like fox news? do you?

Everything in moderation, to much gaming is bad, just like to much chocolate, to much alchohol or to much LSD.

thepyrethatburns:

I just googled this and the closest that I found to a refutation is that the American Psychological Association does not believe that playing games equals violent behavior. However, it seems to be generally accepted by the APA that games do cause aggression and can become an addiction. Both are findings that could be taken as "anti-gamer". Do you have a link to this?

Edit: Ninja'ed and by someone with far more creativity.

Also "Anti-gamer" is often used on this site to mean "Anything that says that gaming can have negative side effects". That has as much validity as labeling me as "Anti-Driving" if I do a study that says "a lot of people die in car wrecks". While it may be an unpleasant fact, if we are to accept that Extra Credits is right in that gaming can elevate us mentally and spiritually, we also have to accept that gaming can also have negative side effects mentally and spiritually.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

image
I'm going to need a source. Which studies were criticized, and when this was said.

The American Psychiatric Association voted on the matter in 2007 and doesn't consider "video game addiction" to be a mental disorder for now

Source: http://energeticarticles.com/self-improvement/addictions/teen-game-addiction-is-it-a-problem

That's for the American Psychiatric Association. Not the American Psychological Association, my mistake. Further source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070625133354.htm

The APA defines mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Since the current edition, DSM-IV-TR, does not list "video game addiction," the APA does not consider "video game addiction" to be a mental disorder at this time. If the science warrants it, this proposed disorder will be considered for inclusion in DSM-V

That's from before the vote mentioned in the first quote. They looked into all current studies as of 2007, found the science faulty, and don't treat it as a disorder or an addiction. To my knowledge, they are not accepting any applications on the subject until new conclusions are drawn or new techniques are used to bolster credibility. I have not found anything contrary to this, and I research the subject extensively.

stealth bombers don't play games, guy. Got no hands to hold the joystick with

I love how psychologists use bunsen burners nowadays.

Testsubject909:
The problem isn't the science itself but how it's utilized.

"This study suggests that people who are mentally prone towards violence and are easily influenced become more violent when they play violent games frequently"

It's a stupid study. It's a needless study. Yes, it's "Science". But really it's just common sense or lack there-of.

I could make a study that suggests "People who dislike violence are disgusted by violent video games" and it would officially pass as Science.

With most of these studies being obviously politically charged and completely needless, there's no wonder a lot of people rally behind the idea that they're bullshit. Not because the results themselves are bullshit. They are accurate because they're made to portray games badly (I could do the same for just about anything. Such as a study that people who have low self esteem tend to get depressed if they are constantly insulted every day and wow, it'd be science!), but they are not accurate of a game's effect in general on the population and society at large.

As for the positive ones, they're more general to begin with, which is why they tend to garner the support of gamers. Not just that, they're a line of defense against these politically charged and fixed results.

There are very few neutral studies that actually pertains to video games and the effects of violence, etc etc. They're just difficult to find through the whole mess of idiotic tests...

Yes. Everyone's perception and paranoia is through the roof these days. The air we breathe is charged with political rhetoric, fear, treachery, insanity, etc. So whenever a claim is made against a large group of people, literally minding their own business (playing games), well people get offended by that, by default.

Seriously, it's like this entire world is trying to find enemies where there are none, and faults where they don't exist. The fact that we have all these social, economic and political problems and disasters in the world right now, and there are people spending time trying to claim "aggressive teens/people" is coming from gaming... well, it's bogus by default. Head in the sand behavior.

It discombobulates my psyche, and I desperately try find different sand that I'm comfortable putting my neck in.

TheMaddestHatter:
snip

They didn't render them BS. They just decided to not add it as an addiction. They take their job seriously. Just because the APA didn't find enough evidence to add it doesn't mean all anti-game studies are useless. The biggest critique of most of the studies is not factoring in all other media. I just don't want to discard them as worthless. That would be foolhardy.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

TheMaddestHatter:
snip

They didn't render them BS. They just decided to not add it as an addiction. They take their job seriously. Just because the APA didn't find enough evidence to add it doesn't mean all anti-game studies are useless. The biggest critique of most of the studies is not factoring in all other media. I just don't want to discard them as worthless. That would be foolhardy.

No, that would be recognizing the obvious scapegoating that has been going on since the beginning of time. First it was Classical Music, then it was Realistic Painting, then it was Abstract Art and Cubism, then it was Jazz, Rock And Roll, Comic Books, Radio, TV, Hip-Hop, Rap, Books, Movies, Religions, Movements, Clothing, Video Games, and everything except the actual people involved. I will reiterate the same thing I say every-time something comes up: There is no piece of media, no art, no clothing, and no outside influence that can make you do anything you don't already have some inclination towards doing. If I have done something to hurt myself or others, the problem is me and will always be me. The same applies to every other person on this planet, and I'm tired of people taking the easy way out rather than looking for some introspection that can actually help them change their lives.

Sorry, but the fact is that never has a study done a particularly good job of demonstrating a link between video games and violence. The reason studies keep getting funding is because the vast majority of these studies get ripped apart in peer review. Either the study fails to adequately control the variables, or the study utterly fails to provide a point of comparison to other violent media, i.e. music, movies, tv, and even books.

Gamers can be quick to dismiss these studies, sure, but it's up to the scientists to adequately defend their work, which is something that has been sorely lacking. That's the way science works.

I don't know where he got his doctorate but I want to buy one too.

TheMaddestHatter:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

TheMaddestHatter:
snip

They didn't render them BS. They just decided to not add it as an addiction. They take their job seriously. Just because the APA didn't find enough evidence to add it doesn't mean all anti-game studies are useless. The biggest critique of most of the studies is not factoring in all other media. I just don't want to discard them as worthless. That would be foolhardy.

No, that would be recognizing the obvious scapegoating that has been going on since the beginning of time. First it was Classical Music, then it was Realistic Painting, then it was Abstract Art and Cubism, then it was Jazz, Rock And Roll, Comic Books, Radio, TV, Hip-Hop, Rap, Books, Movies, Religions, Movements, Clothing, Video Games, and everything except the actual people involved. I will reiterate the same thing I say every-time something comes up: There is no piece of media, no art, no clothing, and no outside influence that can make you do anything you don't already have some inclination towards doing. If I have done something to hurt myself or others, the problem is me and will always be me. The same applies to every other person on this planet, and I'm tired of people taking the easy way out rather than looking for some introspection that can actually help them change their lives.

Oh, I agree with you. And so do many psychologists. Which is why the tag line is usually "They will only have a chance of influencing someone if that person is already mentally predisposed to do something." My original point was more about gamers acting with maturity when topics like this are brought up.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

Oh, I agree with you. And so do many psychologists. Which is why the tag line is usually "They will only have a chance of influencing someone if that person is already mentally predisposed to do something." My original point was more about gamers acting with maturity when topics like this are brought up.

Unfortunately, the majority of these "studies" don't say, "Violent video games may remind violent people they are violent." They say, "Video games create violence! BAN THEM FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!"

Even the studies that do stick to the facts seem unnecessary to me. We can't understand that violent people are going to be attracted to violent things, and then may commit violent acts?

summed up in one phrase. people hear what they want to hear and f you for telling them they are wrong...no matter how wrong or hypocritical they may be :/

On the subject of gaming promoting violence:

For me, it always decreased violence. It gives you an alternative, safe outlet where you can do whatever, without anyone (but FOX) caring. I believe it's pretty common to need an outlet of anger, and to have an entertaining, harmless one is even better, I would believe.
And there is a difference between familiarity and action. A huge one.
That said, why wouldn't violent movies promote violence?

Made me laugh, though.

SyphonX:
Yes. Everyone's perception and paranoia is through the roof these days. The air we breathe is charged with political rhetoric, fear, treachery, insanity, etc. So whenever a claim is made against a large group of people, literally minding their own business (playing games), well people get offended by that, by default.

Seriously, it's like this entire world is trying to find enemies where there are none, and faults where they don't exist. The fact that we have all these social, economic and political problems and disasters in the world right now, and there are people spending time trying to claim "aggressive teens/people" is coming from gaming... well, it's bogus by default. Head in the sand behavior.

It discombobulates my psyche, and I desperately try find different sand that I'm comfortable putting my neck in.

Wow... I honestly didn't expect anyone to actually reply to what I say. Typically i'm used to the forum here for commenting on largely popular videos (Extra Credit for example) to basically get flooded rapidly by comments, praise and far too many ideas to be discerned by most save the few who scour through the various page with deep interest in the thoughts of all within the society that built itself around these forums and this site...

But yeah. There's a lot of needless desire for opposition, as if the world can only exist in shades of black and white with no middle ground. Even in philosophy, there's a lot of "Let's have two different views go against each other" where I always sometimes see that both have their place and that their ideas are not so disjointed that they can't be combined together.

TheMaddestHatter:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

Oh, I agree with you. And so do many psychologists. Which is why the tag line is usually "They will only have a chance of influencing someone if that person is already mentally predisposed to do something." My original point was more about gamers acting with maturity when topics like this are brought up.

Unfortunately, the majority of these "studies" don't say, "Violent video games may remind violent people they are violent." They say, "Video games create violence! BAN THEM FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!"

Even the studies that do stick to the facts seem unnecessary to me. We can't understand that violent people are going to be attracted to violent things, and then may commit violent acts?

No, that is news outlets. I can't find it (so take this with a grain of salt, sorry), but there was a survey that reached a conclusion that 50% of women cheat on their spouses. So said news outlets. In reality, the scientific community had dismissed it because it had a return (people who answered it) of 2%. That part the news outlets forgot to mention. They do it all the time. Whatever it takes to generate hits. In fact, meta-analyses often take into account "publication bias".

Ian Caronia:
"...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

This kind of attitude actually quite irritates me.
Believe it or not "common knowledge" is not viable scientific evidence. At one point, it was "common sense" that the earth was flat and light came from the eye. Common sense was wrong.
You could argue that violent media is likely to make mental people more mental or you could argue that providing people an outlet for their aggression could possibly be beneficial. Both of those conclusions are fairly reasonable and both are supported by "common sense."
Studies are often repeated because a single study represents a miniscule cross section of the population. Different studies allow for different geographic age locations, age parameters etc.

cynicalsaint1:

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.

I'd tend to agree. Generally these studies are talking about the effect on children (to which our response is "well children shouldn't be playing x game" but they most definately are) which are much more mutable when it comes to behavior or they're talking about sessions far in excess of the average gamer's playtime.

props for the Jurrassic 5 reference

standokan:
I don't know where he got his doctorate but I want to buy one too.

If you look carefully it's from the University of Mitchigan.

The issue, to me anyways, is that most of the anti-gaming studies try to show violent games can TURN you violent. Sort of a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde thing. The nicest person can suddenly become a mass murderer by playing Call of Duty.

Now, if more studies actually said stuff like the first panel I could go along with it. Basically games won't turn you into a killer but if you already have stabby and slashy tendencies games will make you use a bigger knife. But so too will movies, music, books, and television.

Mysnomer:

Is that Cory playing the stereotypical gamer?

Negatory, I like to think that I myself have elevated above reading too much into these studies unless there is some real interesting brain stuff. Behavior studies are fairly open to interpretation and there are so many variables usually not considered.

He also has much more prominent sideburns then I can really grow... mine are more or less wispy.

:)

Just as dogmatic and full of shit as the other side.

Grey Carter:
At one point, it was "common sense" that the earth was flat

Sorry Grey. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

But you have to admit that there are a lot of ignorant people blaming games when they should really be looking at themselves.

Perhaps we don't have the most mentally balanced bunch here, but look at who we're up against:

image

imageimageimage

There's no gamers that I know of that even rival this level of ignorance and implied violence.

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.

Bi-gaming or something like that.

OT: That's true. We do jump to conclusions.

Personally, I take one experience in college as proof enough that Violence in video games may incidentally translate to some real world violence.

The story: I was playing marathon sessions of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and during my playtime, pretty much any time I saw a cop car my instinct was to RAM THE SHIT out of it. One night, me and buddies had decided to go get pizza at Little Caesars and I pull up to a stop and see a cop car crossing my path. Without thinking, I put my foot on the gas and start to accellerate before I realize that YES, smashing cop cars is BAD and hit the brakes again.

Realisticly, it translated to about as much as me stopping, jerking forward a little bit and stopping again. No harm done, but it scared the shit out of me that I had allowed my driving in game to effect me out of game. Since then, I have ALWAYS tried harder to make the distinction.

The sad reality is that this kind of thing is common across the "news" spectrum. Note that there's actually very little "news" about gaming --- instead, there's "commentary". Which isn't subject to journalistic standards, because it's merely someone's opinion.

Grey Carter:
Critical Miss: Gamer Science

Slander versus Pander.

Read Full Article

Agreed.

There are some things about that study that I think should be investigated further (like whether the competitive nature of a game has the same "I hit you with big sound" impact as the violence allegedly has)... but there are points made that have value. Perhaps the study over-assigns that value, but it is certainly greater than zero.

When we overreact to these things, we just play exactly the role "they" expect: the immature, stubborn kids upset about someone not liking their toys.

This nails the issue right on the head.

People believe what they want to believe...that's pretty much how the world, mainly opinions and beliefs, have worked for the last...well, it's always kinda been that way. Some people may be open to new proposals that they may not be to quick to approve on but only if it doesn't negate a major part of their view on life, are willing to give up one for another, or they can integrate it to that belief and perhaps other ones.

This would be true if only the arguments that gaming causes violence were more like the first panel and less like FOX news propaganda.

That would be a great exposition of the double standard of some gamers if it weren't for the fact that most research on the subject seem to indicate that video games to not have any harmful effect on children age 5 and up. In fact, most research that claims otherwise has been proven to use a flawed methodology.

But I guess the comic warns about adopting an attitude where we would dismiss outright any research that is inconvenient to us while only acknowledging the papers that suit us best.

"Our study indicates PROVES that prolonged ANY exposure to violent ALL video games can exacerbate WILL CAUSE pre-existing social and mental difficulties DEFECTS *end sentence* and, in excess, can cause..."

^^^THIS is the argument gamers fight so hard against. If anyone were to say the exact statement in the comic, gamers would, of course, nitpick at things such as "Why aren't violent movies held to the same standard?"; "ANYthing 'in excess' is bad"; and "If they're pre-existing, then video games didn't CAUSE anything!", but we'd have to grumble and accept the facts.

The edited statement above is what fear-mongers sling left and right, and is completely devoid of any scientific merit. After hearing this same bias statement rehashed a hundred times, I think it's understandable that gamers have pre-sharpened pitchforks and ready-made torches sitting next to their computers.

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.

Not really, at least in my case. I reckon both of them are pretty soft science and laughable.

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