Psychology Study Blames Games for Aggressive Behavior

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I'm so tired of biased reporting on this site. Not every researcher who's looking for some coarilation between violence and video games is out to get us. If you belittle the research your reporting on your not all that much better than Fox News on their side of the fence.

Someones attacking games?

That makes me want behave SO AGGRESSIVELY!!!!!!!!

Only 25 minutes? I would be aggressive if they took the game away from me that soon.

Kahunaburger:

You do know how the scientific method works, right?

It is unfortunate that I do, otherwise I'd have no hostility towards the social sciences.

Unless it reduces to physical law, it's just not a thing.

Greg Tito:
Psychology Study Blames Games for Aggressive Behavior

Psychologists "prove" that violent games incite aggression with a strangely designed experiment.

Permalink

We have a bit of conflicting evidence here from the nice campaign called W.R.O.N.G http://www.computerandvideogames.com/300040/news/no-solid-link-found-between-violent-games-and-aggression/
this study shows that violent video games DO NOT effect you, the only ones that do are the sport games really

Of course video games desensitize people to violence. You eat enough of a food and it starts to lose its taste. You hear a song enough and you start to hate it. You say a word enough and it starts to lose its meaning. You knife enough people in the face and it becomes just one more frag.

It's probably best that they do become desensitized to violence. Can you imagine how messed up it would be if someone was playing a game because they got a rush from the idea of hurting and killing people ?

All in all violence isn't necessarily a bad thing. Me and my friends will sometimes just pick up a stick or something and go at each other. We're usually drunk but that's mostly because we know we won't really feel it as much. Why do we do it ? Because it's fun, and it kinda brings us closer. You can spend years building up a close friendship but nothing brings friends closer together than beating the crap out of each other and then enjoying some mead. Violence isn't good either don't get me wrong, it really depends on the situation.

a bit of a "missed the mark" study. It shows more to how quickly a person becomes accustomed to violent imagery, and loud sounds, when they play an interactive media that has such. I think "Pen & Teller" have already tested this, and then did a live test by giving a hard core FPS kid a gun and firing it, the kid cried after one shot.

being accustom to seeing violent images, is not the same as being accustom to violence. I may look at a lot of pornography, and get some interesting insights on having sex, but unless I'm also regularly having sex, it dose not make me better at sex. Most people who are violent as adults tend to have been around violence growing up, they became accustom to being violent, because the environment around them was violent.

People who play a lot of FPS tend to have better things to do then commit acts of violence, such as playing FPS, or going to work so they have the money to buy the new FPS.

Iconoclasm:

Kahunaburger:

You do know how the scientific method works, right?

It is unfortunate that I do, otherwise I'd have no hostility towards the social sciences.

Unless it reduces to physical law, it's just not a thing.

image

That's not the scientific method - it's mindless reductionism. Reducing systems to component parts is often useful, but it's also useful to understand the systems themselves.

The only way any of this "gaming is really bad for us because it causes people to be violent" stuff to be proven is if we take the world and do some massively verified test. Seeing as that isn't going to happen, we should just leave it at people can be more aggressive, but are only really going to do anything about it if there is a pre-disposition to it in the first place. Regardless of if any of these studies hold water, I won't care. I'll keep playing and let my kids play them when they can tell the difference between reality and not reality, and stop them if they get out of hand. *sigh* Oh well.

The fuck? The louder a sound you 'blasted' at your opponent, the more aggressive you are? How does that make any sense?
And besides, it depends what you mean by 'desensitized'. If it no longer bothers you to see fake blood in movies or computer-animated blood, that doesn't mean that seeing someone get kicked in the face or ripped in half and eaten in real life wouldn't bother you. That's what I always found annoying with these 'scientific studies'. They assume that showing you images on a screen that you know are fake is the same as real-life disturbing images.
Give us some credit, we can tell fact from fiction.

There is a grand difference between a correlational relationship and a CAUSAL relationship, which is what our researchers are stating. That is clearly reaching beyond the research.

Kahunaburger:

image

That's not the scientific method - it's a misunderstanding of how science functions. Science is a method of empirical inquiry, not a dogmatic assertion about what is and isn't "off-limits" to empirical inquiry.

I never said the mind was off-limits. I'm simply saying that our current social sciences are... ill-equipped... to handle the research we expect out of them. Nor am I claiming a dogma, I'm stating that there's a certain interconnectedness that's obvious in the natural sciences that is completely lacking in the social ones. This interconnectedness, to me anyway, asserts a level of understanding that is sadly absent in our social inquiries. Granted, I've heard the "younger science" argument, but that doesn't quite hold up considering that long before "physics" and "psychology" were defined as they were today, philosophers had been attempting to answer both natural and social questions.

Now, certainly there is an empirical component, however in the natural sciences, our experimentation (at least the ones people care about) are about testing a hypothesis that is a consequence of a larger, over-arching theory. Other experiments, the ones that don't make much news coverage, are simply done to recreate or re-think previous experiments.

The image can be made far more clear when looking at the two separately. As a student of natural science, I can travel from my physics department into chemistry or biology and not feel like I've missed much in the conversation. The natural sciences have that epistemological agreement between them - our best model of what Consilience may look like. Were I a student of the social sciences, however, I couldn't go from my economics coursework into psychology with the same ease. There are some connections that work better than others, but in this instance, regardless if I were under some "dogma" as you call it, the social sciences are simply in no position to be making the sort of absolute scientific claims they try to make.

Take this article - there are people that are going to see this study and take it as though these researchers have found some sort of causal link, when in reality all they did was map the brain (again) and had some subjects play GTA in order to show the tautologous relationship between performing violent acts and the portions of the brain that would be involved in these acts lighting up. Those who are unfamiliar with the issues the social sciences have will see this study and run with it as though it were the far more interesting LHC study currently on the front page.

You wish to speak about not knowing the scientific method, that's all well and good, but there's a supreme difference between tendency and causation, as well as trend and law.

(Nice image, by the way haha!)

Iconoclasm:

I never said the mind was off-limits. I'm simply saying that our current social sciences are... ill-equipped... to handle the research we expect out of them. Nor am I claiming a dogma, I'm stating that there's a certain interconnectedness that's obvious in the natural sciences that is completely lacking in the social ones. This interconnectedness, to me anyway, asserts a level of understanding that is sadly absent in our social inquiries. Granted, I've heard the "younger science" argument, but that doesn't quite hold up considering that long before "physics" and "psychology" were defined as they were today, philosophers had been attempting to answer both natural and social questions.

This is sort of an outdated viewpoint. It was true a hundred years ago, but not so much when discussing modern social sciences. Especially with stuff like modern psychology/neroscience there's basically a fluid transition between that discipline, biology, and chemistry.

Iconoclasm:
Now, certainly there is an empirical component, however in the natural sciences, our experimentation (at least the ones people care about) are about testing a hypothesis that is a consequence of a larger, over-arching theory. Other experiments, the ones that don't make much news coverage, are simply done to recreate or re-think previous experiments.

Yes, science involves testing theories. This is true no matter whether you are studying particle physics or the brain.

Iconoclasm:
The image can be made far more clear when looking at the two separately. As a student of natural science, I can travel from my physics department into chemistry or biology and not feel like I've missed much in the conversation. The natural sciences have that epistemological agreement between them - our best model of what Consilience may look like. Were I a student of the social sciences, however, I couldn't go from my economics coursework into psychology with the same ease. There are some connections that work better than others, but in this instance, regardless if I were under some "dogma" as you call it, the social sciences are simply in no position to be making the sort of absolute scientific claims they try to make.

Actually, a psychologist could have a completely fluent conversation with an economist on behavioral economics. I think the problem is that you are familiar with your own discipline, unfamiliar with others, and are making assumptions as to how the other disciplines function. The dogma claim comes from the fact that actual scientists do not usually draw lines around what they think the scientific method can/should be used for.

Iconoclasm:
Take this article - there are people that are going to see this study and take it as though these researchers have found some sort of causal link, when in reality all they did was map the brain (again) and had some subjects play GTA in order to show the tautologous relationship between performing violent acts and the portions of the brain that would be involved in these acts lighting up. Those who are unfamiliar with the issues the social sciences have will see this study and run with it as though it were the far more interesting LHC study currently on the from page.

No, that's not what they examined at all. The neuro component of the study used existing knowledge about brain activity associated with response to violence to examine the brain response of individuals exposed to violent imagery after playing violent or non-violent video games. You seem to think they were trying to localize brain regions associated with violence.

Tl;dr: I'm not getting the impression that you are operating from an understanding of the scientific method, I'm getting the impression that you are acting on your annoyance at this study's results. My advice is to talk to your natural science professors and see what you learn about the scientific method being applied to social science.

TY7ERDURDEN:
There is a grand difference between a correlational relationship and a CAUSAL relationship, which is what our researchers are stating. That is clearly reaching beyond the research.

That's definitely true. I'd be curious rather the actual study claims a causal relationship of this type - I would guess not, because they don't really have enough evidence to argue causality.

Iconoclasm:

*snip*

A lot of the concerns you're describing, I think, go back to ethical limitations or scale limitations in the social sciences. A psychologist can't go all Clockwork Orange on a child, so they're left using constructs and proxies (brain activity and sound level in this case).

I certainly get why that can be frustrating, but I hardly think it invalidates social science. It just requires a more conservative mindset when speaking about results/conclusions.

Acidwell:
Exactly my point. You can't really turn around and say that it's video games causing violence unless you also blame just about everything else in our lives. :)

And that's the exact point that the reasercher made. Though you wouldn't know it from the article.

NaramSuen:

Jumplion:
Interesting thing to note, I do believe that youth crime rates have steadily risen. And nobody has ever said that video games were the only cause for increased aggression, only one goddamn factor. Could people please stop being so inanely defensive over something that we really shouldn't be defensive over? It's not like this guy is specifically out to get anything, it's simply an experiment to see what short-/long-term effects we can find from these things.

What source says that youth crime rates have steadily risen? All the statical data I have seen agrees that youth crime in the United States has been steadily decreasing since a high in 1994. Crime rates across the board are at the lowest levels in decades.

I may be entirely mistaken on the youth crime rates, I freely admit that. But I would be interested to know if what I said was true. When people say crime rates they take in extremely general terms, depending on what they put in as "crime" (civil or criminal?), and since all the naysayers say that "the youth is being corrupted!" it would be interesting to see that put to the test. However, as far as I have seen, people only cite crime rates in general which, while useful, isn't specific enough for my taste.

Jumplion I do not know how old you are, but I am defensive of this issue because I have been dealing with people like this researcher my entire life. I have had to listen to experts talk about how Dungeons & Dragons and heavy metal encourages people to worship the "devil," skateboarding leads to juvenile delinquency and video games cause anti-social behaviour. People who make unsubstantiated claims should be subjected to as much scorn as we can heap upon them.

Age has nothing to do with this. Out of curiosity, how old do you think I am?

I get that these people have gone on and on about D&D, comic books, TV, radio, rap music, grunge, Elivis, the whole lot. I've done a few essays on the subject myself. But we gain absolutely nothing by refuting every single piece of researched used just because they give results we don't like. For some people, yes, heavy metal may encourage more destructive behavior, skateboarding can potentially be associated with juvenile delinquency, and some games can cause anti-social behavior. What we don't know, however, is why some of these effects come from certain factors, or how prevalent the short-/long-term effect are (especially the long term effects.) That doesn't mean it effect everyone in the same way, and this study does not try to single games out.

We're a defensive bunch. It's great that we are scrutinizing these kinds of studies for their validity. But the thing is, we're not scrutinizing for the right reasons. We're poking at every little thing wrong with these studies, not because we want to see better studies done, but because they're attacking our precious hobby. And then when a study comes up saying "Video games help increase response time," suddenly we all turn around and declare that the other people are assholes for even think that our precious games could be destructive to anyone. That is an incredibly dangerous mindset when it comes to research, that's the kind of thing that fundamentalist nutjobs do.

Video games have an effect on people, both positive and negative. Do deny it would be incredibly ignorant and short-sighted of us. Not all studies are out to get us, and to ignore any findings just because we've seen this all before it detrimental to the whole point of doing these sorts of studies.

Sure, I'll believe that. However, I refuse to believe that it CAUSES violence. Desensitizes us? Slightly, sure. But I don't go around with a large minigun screaming random taunts in a Russian accent because I've played almost 30 hours of Team Fortress 2. Also, you have to realize they can incite other emotions too. Just look at how people reacted to killing companion cube, and at the same time, how much joy Portal could convey to it's players via it's brilliant sense of humor.

And I mean, in "violent" video games the same rules apply. Think about how funny Grand Theft Auto was, and how sad we all were when

Or even how we had mixed and confused feelings at the end of L.A. Noire.

And Assassin's Creed even adjusted my world views (what I think) is for the better, thanks to its rich, deep, engaging storyline that coincides with modern day issues.

Video games are art, and art can invoke any emotion if done well. Which just proves, [most] video games are art done well.

/argument.

PS: I'm sure we can all agree that our brain shuts off a little bit while playing games, because that's the point, they're the ultimate relaxation therapy.

PPS: Was that MK vs. DC? For shame.

It surprises me that anyone does any research on this. With the current amount of gamers and the popularity of games such as CoD, we should have seen a massive increase/change in violent behavior from gamers. If you see that, then it's time to start looking for a cause. The reality is, of course, that there is no real difference from say, ten years ago, hence, useless...
If the number of conflicting studies wasn't indication enough, this usually means there's nothing there, sigh.

Kahunaburger:
*SEE ABOVE POSTS*

Instead of quoting the blocks, I'll just refer to each premise individually, if that's okay with you. I doubt anyone else is reading our posts, but I'd like to continue this conversation anyway - anyone else can refer to the previous posts.

"This is sort of an outdated viewpoint..."

That's fine, I can understand that my viewpoint may be outdated (acquired from undergraduate coursework, so it's nothing I've looked into recently), however the argument still holds because the connection between psychology and neuroscience is a tenuous one. Neuroscience is a natural science, and the studies I've run across that involve psychology would have the same epistemological impact had they not called upon psychology at all. Take our leaps in Cognition for example. At our research department, I've seen many psychology post-bacs attempting to join a neuroscience team rejected, because they have no need for them and the funding is simply wasted employing them. This is not to say that one day psychology won't have anything to add in its own right, but only that for the time being, piggybacking on a natural science doesn't quite save the phenomenon for psychology. Not to mention certain philosophical issues that arise when suggesting the two be linked, as one is meant to study the mind and the other the brain. An easy question to answer, perhaps, but no less treacherous methodologically speaking.

"Yes, science involves testing theories..."

Perhaps this wasn't clear in my statement, but the argument I'm presenting is that there is no arching theory behind the social sciences. Each science has its own temporary theory, but nothing along the lines as a unified, across the board, method.

"Actually, a psychologist could..."

The problem with this argument, as I can see, is that this is one case. Now, naturally, there may be multiple instances of this occurring, but you made the point of specifying 'behavioral economics.' Now, the problem here is that not every economist agrees with the method employed by behavioral economics and by extension any help that psychology could offer.

I am indeed only familiar with my inquiry, however until I can see that the advancements in the social sciences are in and of themselves justified in being separate from neuroscience or systems science, I can't simply suspend my critical attitude towards research simply because it's attempting to 'find its place' in the scientific community.

Now, the issue of the scientific method is not, in itself, a scientific problem. It's a philosophical one. I'd be more than happy to discuss this particular issue further, however it isn't on topic in our current discussion.

"No, that's not what they examined at all..."

This I can understand just fine - an error in my comprehension and one backed up with multiple viewings of the study. However, I have no issue with the neuroscience portion, it's the behavioral and psychological conclusion that renders the enterprise, for me, invalid thus my original comment.

"Tl;dr..."

Annoyance is, thankfully, not an option for me as I'm a Stoic. What drives my criticism is a jump in logic that seems far too damning than any small human emotion. At the end of the day, there is truth about certain matters, but certain inquiries - until they exit the 'proto' stage - will produce flawed results. I won't discuss this issue with my professor or lab techs, as they share my same NatSci bias. I'll simply find a reason to mosey on down to the Psych lab and talk to a prof there about their research methods. May I ask for the conversation to be suspended until I'm able to become better acquainted with the issue? I'll send a message when I've done this, and we can continue the conversation either here or message format - does that sound okay?

4173:

Iconoclasm:

*snip*

A lot of the concerns you're describing, I think, go back to ethical limitations or scale limitations in the social sciences. A psychologist can't go all Clockwork Orange on a child, so they're left using constructs and proxies (brain activity and sound level in this case).

I certainly get why that can be frustrating, but I hardly think it invalidates social science. It just requires a more conservative mindset when speaking about results/conclusions.

That seems like a reasonable concession - I can understand that.

I got really pissed this morning when I accidentally hit my spoon in my cereal and it flipped milk everywhere.

I blame cereal for increased violence in society. SOMEONE PROVE THIS PLIZ.

Hm. I'm guessing from the nebulous 'measured brain waves' statement that Bartholow used Event-Related potentials obtained via electroencephalography (or EEG). While you can gain some useful data that way, I certainly wouldn't consider it probative without data obtained via different methods (MRI, CT, or PET scans) to support it.

Outside of that, there is nothing here except poor science. In my training, you were supposed to gather data and then use it to devise a hypothesis, and then try to disprove that hypothesis. This sounds like the very definition of someone having a belief and then devising 'experiments' to support that belief.

Bad, bad, bad science, that.

Aphroditty:

Your brain is easily fooled. If your brain can remember not-real events as if they happened, why is it so hard to believe that not-real things can affect it? Because they do. Your brain is easily fooled into believing things that aren't real, even when a part of you knows it isn't. That's because your brain is not interested in giving you the truth; your brain is interested in giving you the information that looks relevant.

There's a distinct problem here. You can be desensitized to the GAME violence, but it won't correspond to REAL violence, because the brain simply doesn't work that way. If it did then Randy Pitchford, Gabe Newell and Peter Molyneux would be psychopathic killers by now.

Your brain remembers events; not reactions. Cause, not effect. So while you may act as soon as you hear a shot, your body will be trained to press the duck button rather than duck.

Same with game violence. Your body isn't sufficiently in a state to react appropriately to real violence in the same way as it would be when someone is on screen. That's where empathy comes in, and where natures "brain" sits. In your hormones and autonomic nerves. You can still be shaken by games (Shock and Awe proves this) but the fact that you can recover from such shocks (even when real) proves that it doesn't alter your personality.

For a simple example, I can wade through Splatterhouse without flinching but, as I'm squeamish, seeing real blood tends to make me feel faint.

Games, as they are, and I hope as they will always be, limits the amount of information that you can take in at once - and works towards specific rules. PTSD comes about when there ARE no rules, and is a form of Stockholm Syndrome. You COULD suffer from PTSD from games, but they'd need to attack all your sense (as real combat does) and be prolonged battles without rules.

Simply right clicking to zoom in triggers your mind into knowing that this isn't real. Your brain is feeding you information based on what game knowledge you've acquired (Which is your Ames Room) and so distances yourself from what you'd have to be thinking if it was a real combat situation.

Even if what you were saying was 100% true, we're talking possibly 22 people who have died or murdered as a direct result of video games. Earlier statistics show that there are 1 billion game players in the world at the moment.

If only 1% of gamers play violent games (a staggeringly low number), then the chance of game violence directly affecting real life violence stands at 1 in 460 thousand.

Being struck by lightning is 1 in 250 thousand, and that's yearly.

The basic results for claims that games do increase violent behavior simply aren't there. It's a null hypothesis.

This whole test seems a little sloppy. A little REALLY sloppy. I'm willing to believe they did all the background checks, and avoided influencing the results, but there's a wide gap between their results and their claims.

The first experiment compared how heavily 'participants' (science talk for 'lab monkeys/naive humans') reacted to violent images after playing violent games, vs nonviolent games. The violent gamers were less upset by the images, which the report says proves that people who play violent games are less sensitive to violence, therefore (what? How did this happen?) more violent.
Just think on that for a moment. Even if we assume that somehow, people being desensitized to violent images makes them less sensitive to real-life violence (an assertion that any psych student would smugly snicker at), how does this desensitization to violence make people more violent?
Consider paramedics. Or medics, for that matter. People who run around looking at gruesome injuries and having to try and fix them as a job. The stuff in videogames is nowhere near as gruesome as the stuff these people see, and they have to experience it in real life. If the claims of Bartholow are to be believed, that would mean that paramedics are all rampaging psychopaths, no longer capable of understanding pain or remorse.

In the second test, people blasted noise at each other, and it was found that violent gamers blasted louder noises. This one, at least, actually almost measures aggression, but again, even if the result is valid and the louder noise-blasting was caused by violent games, there are a whole range of unexplored reasons for this. Perhaps the violent games, being louder, caused people to become less sensitive to violent noise, in exactly the same way Bartholow claimed to have proven the gamers reacted to violent images?

The reference to behaviourism, though, and the claim that violent games reward violence, was quite jarring, and perhaps the last nail in the science-coffin that Bartholow slumbers in during daylight hours. Many of the earliest behavioural science tests were about making something happen if an animal pressed a button, with the result being that the animal pressed the button more often.
This, in a way, is exactly what violent games teach people, or any game for that matter, as far as behaviourism is concerned. If you give your pigeon a button that causes a guy holding pigeon food to be violently stabbed to death, thus giving the pigeon a treat, it won't actually cause the pigeon to harbour any ill will towards the guy holding the food. As far as the behavioural mind-control stuff is concerned, it's still a case of button=food. The dead scientist is just a side effect.

This could have caused problems with the last test, and it did. Bartholow gave the test subjects a game with a controller. With buttons. And then, when they were done playing, he gave them another button. Also, rather than seeing if people wanted to inflict violence, it measured how loud they wanted to be. Which has nothing to do with violence. And the test was made useless by the same scientific principles discovered by the field of experimental psychology Bartholow was drawing from when he made his grand, sweeping claims about violent games, which is like hitting yourself over the head with a helmet. And then publishing pictures of your head wounds.

Ultimately, all these tests show is that rewarding button-mashers with fun makes them want to mash buttons, and showing people guns a lot makes them less squeamish about seeing guns. The rest is the academic equivalent of writing 'Games are Evil' on a sandwich board and wearing that instead of any clothes. I'm a little scared that Bartholow actually teaches psychology, though this is university, so he probably just spends most of his day gloating about his imagined omnipotence. Which incidentally makes this whole experiment a lot less surprising.

Time for another episode of "you should have read the paper." Let's begin.

ZeZZZZevy:
"The group who played the violent games employed louder noises than the control group, which Bartholow believes proves that games cause aggression."

this just feels like faulty logic to me.

since when did loud noises correspond to violence?

DarkenedWolfEye:
The fuck? The louder a sound you 'blasted' at your opponent, the more aggressive you are? How does that make any sense?
And besides, it depends what you mean by 'desensitized'. If it no longer bothers you to see fake blood in movies or computer-animated blood, that doesn't mean that seeing someone get kicked in the face or ripped in half and eaten in real life wouldn't bother you. That's what I always found annoying with these 'scientific studies'. They assume that showing you images on a screen that you know are fake is the same as real-life disturbing images.
Give us some credit, we can tell fact from fiction.

The images used to test for desensitisation to were taken from the International Affective Picture System. They are pictures of real things, not computer animated. They are photographs, much like you would find in a newspaper or other media that is about real life.

solidstatemind:
Hm. I'm guessing from the nebulous 'measured brain waves' statement that Bartholow used Event-Related potentials obtained via electroencephalography (or EEG). While you can gain some useful data that way, I certainly wouldn't consider it probative without data obtained via different methods (MRI, CT, or PET scans) to support it.

Outside of that, there is nothing here except poor science. In my training, you were supposed to gather data and then use it to devise a hypothesis, and then try to disprove that hypothesis. This sounds like the very definition of someone having a belief and then devising 'experiments' to support that belief.

Bad, bad, bad science, that.

I take it from the "guessing" and "sounds like" that you didn't read the paper. Wasn't there something in your training that said that you should have done that, before writing it of as "[b]ad, bad, bad"? It was EEG though, so you got that right.

Ultimate Evil:
This whole test seems a little sloppy. A little REALLY sloppy. I'm willing to believe they did all the background checks, and avoided influencing the results, but there's a wide gap between their results and their claims.

Oh, this'll be fun.

The first experiment compared how heavily 'participants' (science talk for 'lab monkeys/naive humans') reacted to violent images after playing violent games, vs nonviolent games. The violent gamers were less upset by the images, which the report says proves that people who play violent games are less sensitive to violence, therefore (what? How did this happen?) more violent.
Just think on that for a moment. Even if we assume that somehow, people being desensitized to violent images makes them less sensitive to real-life violence (an assertion that any psych student would smugly snicker at), how does this desensitization to violence make people more violent?
Consider paramedics. Or medics, for that matter. People who run around looking at gruesome injuries and having to try and fix them as a job. The stuff in videogames is nowhere near as gruesome as the stuff these people see, and they have to experience it in real life. If the claims of Bartholow are to be believed, that would mean that paramedics are all rampaging psychopaths, no longer capable of understanding pain or remorse.

Speaking of "smug snicker[ing]"...No, this part of the procedure was just to see if there was desensitisation. Not agression. That was the next part of the test. As for the "how", this was part of the introduction:

Desensitization to violent media, in turn, has been theoretically linked to increases in aggressive behavior (see Smith & Donnerstein, 1998). Habitual exposure to violent media may reduce aggressive inhibitions (see Huesmann & Kirwil, 2007) and empathy for the pain and suffering of others (see Mullin & Linz, 1995), and weaken typical aversions to violence (see Cantor, 1998; Funk et al., 2004), all of which should increase the likelihood of aggressive responses.

I'm sure, given the above, you can work out for youself could work out how the two are linked, and why the theory under consideration will not say that paramedics are rampaging psychopaths.

In the second test, people blasted noise at each other, and it was found that violent gamers blasted louder noises. This one, at least, actually almost measures aggression, but again, even if the result is valid and the louder noise-blasting was caused by violent games, there are a whole range of unexplored reasons for this. Perhaps the violent games, being louder, caused people to become less sensitive to violent noise, in exactly the same way Bartholow claimed to have proven the gamers reacted to violent images?

Well, they never mentioned how loud the games are, so to insist that the violent games are louder is a bit of a stretch. And not all of the games were as loud. I'm pretty sure that Tony Hawk would have been louder than Hitman, for example.

In any case, the participants had over five minutes of silence after their 25 minute gaming sessions. I couldn't say for sure, but that might give them ample time for their hearing to return to normal.

This could have caused problems with the last test, and it did. Bartholow gave the test subjects a game with a controller. With buttons. And then, when they were done playing, he gave them another button. Also, rather than seeing if people wanted to inflict violence, it measured how loud they wanted to be. Which has nothing to do with violence. And the test was made useless by the same scientific principles discovered by the field of experimental psychology Bartholow was drawing from when he made his grand, sweeping claims about violent games, which is like hitting yourself over the head with a helmet. And then publishing pictures of your head wounds.

Ultimately, all these tests show is that rewarding button-mashers with fun makes them want to mash buttons, and showing people guns a lot makes them less squeamish about seeing guns.

The control group also played games, so they also pressed buttons. They did not show the same desensitisation or aggression.

The rest is the academic equivalent of writing 'Games are Evil' on a sandwich board and wearing that instead of any clothes. I'm a little scared that Bartholow actually teaches psychology, though this is university, so he probably just spends most of his day gloating about his imagined omnipotence. Which incidentally makes this whole experiment a lot less surprising.

A gamer wrote this. Hooray for gamers.

I had to look at some research done on violence and video games, and I found one professor, Christopher Ferguson, who, instead of doing another study, looked at series of studies while comparing the methods and results.

The article here - http://www.tamiu.edu/~cferguson/videometa1.pdf - was looking at the research methods. For those who don't want to read, he points out the massive flaws that are used in research just like the thread-starting study. I'm fairly sure he even mentions Bartholow as one of these inept researchers.

This article - http://www.tamiu.edu/~CFERGUSON/videometa2.pdf - was looking at the effects of violence in video games. He essentially concluded that, based on current studies, video games do not contribute to aggression, but video games can have benefits for coordination.

On a personal side note: the only games that I've played that made me feel angry or violent were things like N, and Super Meat Boy, not anything violent, just frustrating games.

Phyroxis:

That does not disprove my assertion.

Except the whole thing about astronomy being wholly based off correlation. Astronomy is still a valid science.

Phyroxis:
I take everything Anderson says with a huge grain of salt as he has shown his axe on a number of occasions. For example: http://videogames.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=009291 and his direct quote: "This relation between media violence and aggressive behavior is causal."

Sure, attack the messenger. I mean, it's not like we're on a games website, with their own axe to grind or anything.

American Psychological Association > The Escapist

Always

loodmoney:

DarkenedWolfEye:
The fuck? The louder a sound you 'blasted' at your opponent, the more aggressive you are? How does that make any sense?
And besides, it depends what you mean by 'desensitized'. If it no longer bothers you to see fake blood in movies or computer-animated blood, that doesn't mean that seeing someone get kicked in the face or ripped in half and eaten in real life wouldn't bother you. That's what I always found annoying with these 'scientific studies'. They assume that showing you images on a screen that you know are fake is the same as real-life disturbing images.
Give us some credit, we can tell fact from fiction.

The images used to test for desensitisation to were taken from the International Affective Picture System. They are pictures of real things, not computer animated. They are photographs, much like you would find in a newspaper or other media that is about real life.

Alright, I'll give you that, they were using real photos. But when I said 'fake blood in movies' I was counting very photo-realistic images as part of something we still knew wasn't really there. Images do have power, I don't deny that, but being able to handle fake violence doesn't mean you would take real violence in stride. In our everyday lives, we don't expect bloody violence, generally. But when we play a violent game, we certainly do expect it. So when do you think we'll be less surprised and disturbed to see it?
The experiment was contaminated just by people being in an abnormal situation (being in a controlled environment while being observed) and playing violent games. They were put in the mindset of expecting inordinately violent images and that's exactly what they got. As for the people playing nonviolent games, they probably weren't in the mindset of 'There will be bloody images on my screen, and that is normal'. Violent pictures were thrust upon them when they didn't expect it, so of course their brain activity spiked.
This could be an interesting discussion if you'd please not be so infuriatingly condescending.

Ace IV:

Phyroxis:

That does not disprove my assertion.

Except the whole thing about astronomy being wholly based off correlation. Astronomy is still a valid science.

I never said Astronomy was invalid..? Nor that correlation was unacceptable.

Phyroxis:
I take everything Anderson says with a huge grain of salt as he has shown his axe on a number of occasions. For example: http://videogames.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=009291 and his direct quote: "This relation between media violence and aggressive behavior is causal."

Sure, attack the messenger. I mean, it's not like we're on a games website, with their own axe to grind or anything.

American Psychological Association > The Escapist

Always

[/quote]

I never said the Escapist was beyond reproach. If you look at my first reply to this thread, it contains a lot of frustration with Tito's mishandling of the article.

And no, APA does not > The Escapist nor does APA < The Escapist. They're totally different entities with totally different purposes.

Jumplion:

NaramSuen:

Jumplion:
Interesting thing to note, I do believe that youth crime rates have steadily risen. And nobody has ever said that video games were the only cause for increased aggression, only one goddamn factor. Could people please stop being so inanely defensive over something that we really shouldn't be defensive over? It's not like this guy is specifically out to get anything, it's simply an experiment to see what short-/long-term effects we can find from these things.

What source says that youth crime rates have steadily risen? All the statical data I have seen agrees that youth crime in the United States has been steadily decreasing since a high in 1994. Crime rates across the board are at the lowest levels in decades.

I may be entirely mistaken on the youth crime rates, I freely admit that. But I would be interested to know if what I said was true. When people say crime rates they take in extremely general terms, depending on what they put in as "crime" (civil or criminal?), and since all the naysayers say that "the youth is being corrupted!" it would be interesting to see that put to the test. However, as far as I have seen, people only cite crime rates in general which, while useful, isn't specific enough for my taste.

Jumplion I do not know how old you are, but I am defensive of this issue because I have been dealing with people like this researcher my entire life. I have had to listen to experts talk about how Dungeons & Dragons and heavy metal encourages people to worship the "devil," skateboarding leads to juvenile delinquency and video games cause anti-social behaviour. People who make unsubstantiated claims should be subjected to as much scorn as we can heap upon them.

Age has nothing to do with this. Out of curiosity, how old do you think I am?

I get that these people have gone on and on about D&D, comic books, TV, radio, rap music, grunge, Elivis, the whole lot. I've done a few essays on the subject myself. But we gain absolutely nothing by refuting every single piece of researched used just because they give results we don't like. For some people, yes, heavy metal may encourage more destructive behavior, skateboarding can potentially be associated with juvenile delinquency, and some games can cause anti-social behavior. What we don't know, however, is why some of these effects come from certain factors, or how prevalent the short-/long-term effect are (especially the long term effects.) That doesn't mean it effect everyone in the same way, and this study does not try to single games out.

We're a defensive bunch. It's great that we are scrutinizing these kinds of studies for their validity. But the thing is, we're not scrutinizing for the right reasons. We're poking at every little thing wrong with these studies, not because we want to see better studies done, but because they're attacking our precious hobby. And then when a study comes up saying "Video games help increase response time," suddenly we all turn around and declare that the other people are assholes for even think that our precious games could be destructive to anyone. That is an incredibly dangerous mindset when it comes to research, that's the kind of thing that fundamentalist nutjobs do.

Video games have an effect on people, both positive and negative. Do deny it would be incredibly ignorant and short-sighted of us. Not all studies are out to get us, and to ignore any findings just because we've seen this all before it detrimental to the whole point of doing these sorts of studies.

Civil law, by its very definition, is not criminal; it deals with disputes between individuals and/or organizations and rewards compensation, not jail time. Also, the burden of proof for criminal law and civil law are completely different. Crime rates break crimes down into very specific categories, violent, property, drug, etc... and these categories usually have sub-categories. homicide, breaking and entering, impaired driving, etc... I am not sure how much more specific these statistics could get.

My question about age was not intended to be condescending or patronizing, if you took it that way then I apologize. All of your comments are well thought out and interesting to read. I was using it as a way to segue into my broader point about the various scapegoats that have been held up within my lifetime. I grew up in the 80s and have watched a steady train of cynical opportunistic politicians and public figures demonize things that they do not understand in the name of the public good.

I do not deny that video games have both positive and negative effects upon people. However, I greet any claim, positive or negative, with the same amount of scepticism. This type of research will always be jumped upon by people trying to serve their own self-interests and since I have a dog in this fight, I will be on the side-lines casting doubt.

Even if playing games desensitizes one to violence, that doesn't necessarily mean one is more likely to commit violence.

Anecdotally, I would know.

MasochisticMuse:
Even if playing games desensitizes one to violence, that doesn't necessarily mean they're more likely to commit violence.

Anecdotally, I would know.

I still think it only desensitises you to pictures of violence, but maybe even not so much.

That two hammer video? I was going to throw up after five seconds, I had to turn it off.

So, use that two hammer video, for genuine violence, make it clear that that man is *actually* being murdered, and run the test again. Ethics of that are questionable though.

Trust me, it's just as bad as people who don't play video games.

PS: I'll make it clear I can watch SAW movies and allsorts of simulated violence all day, but when it gets real that's when the desensitisation all goes away completely and utterly. I think I speak for most reasonable people when I say that I know there's a difference between the real and the virtual.

I actually agree that playing violent video games will tend to make you more aggressive. I don't really care though, I don't think it's THAT big of a deal...

"Blast him with a loud sound"

OH LORD GOD NO! THAT IS SO VIOLENT!

Give me a break, crying babies blast me with loud an unpleasant sounds when they cry and no one would describe that as "violent". A loud noise is a harmless prank.

This is NOT a controlled experiment as they have not controlled for competitiveness, how playing ANY game makes people more competitive and likely to use a louder noise in the pursuit of victory.

loodmoney:

plexxiss:
Considering that the report opens claiming that "scientists have known for YEARS that playing violent video games causes aggression" i would like to ask which scientists that would be. and which studies that conclusion was reached from. just saying "scientists" is ambiguos and proves nothing. Also surely it would be psychologists rather than scientists. And if there was a control group it wasnt mentioned. it seemed it pitted gamers against non gamers in a succesion of violent images and i can imagine the gamers played the videogame while non-gamers did not before response to violent images was measured. It just seems odd that those who had not previously played videogames did not seem to play videogames before the test. if anything there should have been four groups. gamers having played the game. gamers having not played the game before the test. non-gamers who did not play the game. non-gamers who had played the game. the test itslef seems shoddy or the report is very simple.

You'll do.

-Psychologists are a type of scientist. But scientists are also "academi[cs] battl[ing] against videogames", so the distinction might have been lost on the journalist.

-There were four groups: High previous exposure to videogames/non-violent game;
High previous exposure to videogames/violent video game;
Low previous exposure to videogames/non-violent game;
Low previous exposure to videogames/violent video game.

The violent games were Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Hitman: Contracts, Killzone, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The non-violent games were Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, MVP Baseball 2004, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, and Sonic Plus Mega Collection. Each participant played one of the games for 25 minutes before the two tests (for desensitisation and aggression).

-The experiment is pretty sound; the report woefully incomplete.

Lord Honk:
Well, I won't simply dismiss these "scientific findings" just because I think that studies that are conducted for a reason will yield the results they were made to find. I have come to accept them and try to learn from them.

Let's assume the claim "violent video games can make you more aggressive" is true until proven otherwise. Is this effect only observed in video games or is this a natural reaction, say, to stressful, high-adrenaline situations? If the latter is the case, then big whoop, but if not, how can this be? A type of stimulus unbeknownst to other media, how do we deal with it? A scientific mystery.

Or just standard, rehashed, old news. Anyway, I don't think anything major is gonna happen in the near future. If I should be wrong, I revoke my previous statement and claim the opposite.

It is probably not just a "stressful, high-adrenaline situation" thing. From the paper: "All games were pre-tested to ensure relative equivalence on how enjoyable, arousing, and frustrating they were." "Arousal" being the key word. This would refer to psychological arousal, i.e. stress. They could be criticised for the informal way they judged "relative equivalence", though, as there is no details given on how they did that.

Thank you this makes me judge the experiment in a better light as it turns out the report was badly done rather than the experiment.

DarkenedWolfEye:


Alright, I'll give you that, they were using real photos. But when I said 'fake blood in movies' I was counting very photo-realistic images as part of something we still knew wasn't really there. Images do have power, I don't deny that, but being able to handle fake violence doesn't mean you would take real violence in stride.

Unfortunately, due to the constraints of ethics, psychologists cannot test using real violence. So pictures are a compromise. However, the fact that desensitised participants blasted more noise at their opponent does support the idea that they took real violence in stride (again, as close to real violence as is possible). On the other hand, it could be argued that pictures aren't the best way to represent violent scenarios (as compared to e.g. videos), but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.

In our everyday lives, we don't expect bloody violence, generally. But when we play a violent game, we certainly do expect it. So when do you think we'll be less surprised and disturbed to see it?
The experiment was contaminated just by people being in an abnormal situation (being in a controlled environment while being observed) and playing violent games. They were put in the mindset of expecting inordinately violent images and that's exactly what they got. As for the people playing nonviolent games, they probably weren't in the mindset of 'There will be bloody images on my screen, and that is normal'. Violent pictures were thrust upon them when they didn't expect it, so of course their brain activity spiked.

That's pretty much what desensitisation to violence is: expecting (in some sense, in this case on the neural level) violence, and having less of a reaction to it. And gamers who had more previous exposure to violent games were more desensitised, i.e., they were more in the mindset you mention, regardless of whether they played a violent or non-violent game before the test.

All psychology experiments are contaminated by people being in a artificial situation, but this cannot be held against this particular experiment without it being held against all psychology experiments. And that will include all those that support the absence of a link or a negative link between video games and violence.

This could be an interesting discussion if you'd please not be so infuriatingly condescending.

Yeah, sorry about that, and it wasn't meant to target you in particular, so much as the majority of the thread that responded with a knee-jerk reaction. It's just rather hard to watch a group of otherwise rational people become anti-science as soon as a study of this sort comes out.

Treblaine:
"Blast him with a loud sound"

OH LORD GOD NO! THAT IS SO VIOLENT!

Give me a break, crying babies blast me with loud an unpleasant sounds when they cry and no one would describe that as "violent". A loud noise is a harmless prank.

This is NOT a controlled experiment as they have not controlled for competitiveness, how playing ANY game makes people more competitive and likely to use a louder noise in the pursuit of victory.

The noise blast thing went up to 105 decibels, which is above the level that, at extended esposure, causes hearing damage. It is as loud as a fire alarm (the old kind, that doesn't gradually increase in volume), and other unpleasant things. You must remember that experimenters have to operate within ethical limits, and this pushes up against the "harmless prank" level.

Also, both groups played games, so if "any game makes people more competitive", that was controlled for. However, there was no control for the "competitivness" of the games in either group, so that could be a legitimate criticism: the violent games might have been more competitive than the non-violent ones.

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