Psychology Study Blames Games for Aggressive Behavior

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It may, but just because they had "lower brainwave action" or whatever to the violent picture, doesn't mean they're desensitizes for violent.

I myself am a high school student, as such I have dissected creatures, had broken bones, and I did work experience at a vet's office (saw some orthopedic surgery, I don't recommend watching it btw) and I play heaps of violent video games.

As such, I am used to the sight of blood, broken bones, the concept of pain, etc. am I a violent person? No.

Greg Tito:


Bartholow also mentioned that subjects who already play a lot of violent games had less reaction to the violent imagery, which apparently means something more significant than mere familiarity. "Those individuals are already so desensitized to violence from habitually playing violent video games that an additional exposure in the lab has very little effect on their brain responses," he said.


I'm sorry, this makes no sense to me. If someone watches a lot of CSI, and then is shown a picture of a dead body, of course they are going to have less of a reaction than those who have never seen anything like that. That doesn't mean that these people are "desensitized" to violence, it just means there is a basic familiarity with those kind of images.

Here's another theory; perhaps people who play violent video games aren't 'desensitized' to violence, but just aren't affected by violent imagery. In other words, if you show them an obviously staged picture of a man with a gun in his mouth, their brains go, "Oh, this is staged. It's just a picture, no need to get worked up about it."

Maybe a better way to test their reactions would be to take them into a coroner's office and show them a real cadaver of someone who was violently murdered, and gauge their reaction to that. I won't presume to guess what the results would be, but gauging their reactions to the end results of real-life violence, 100% in the flesh, would probably give you more useful data.

Another idea: You could do to your test subjects the same thing EA's marketing department did to Yahtzee; stick them in a room with a source of constant annoyance that can only be removed by open aggression or, say, by solving a moderately complicated puzzle, and see who becomes aggressive and how long it takes them to become aggressive.

EDIT: A personal anecdote; I have a relative who (at least used to) get road rage CONSTANTLY. I almost had to wear ear-plugs every time I rode in the car with them. Every time anyone so much as turned a corner slowly they would explode in obscenities, and I think threats of violence were a common component of these outbursts. I think this tendency actually got this person in some trouble at their job recently.

Anyway, this person never started playing games until Bejeweled and FarmVille came out.

I realize this isn't exactly a statistically significant cross-section of the population, but this little slice of personal experience suggests to me that anger issues and violent behavior, whether they're influenced by media exposure or not, are probably much more significantly influenced by other factors.

Personally, I don't think violent video games make people aggressive; I think frustrating games (i.e. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on Veteran) make people aggressive, just like trying to drive in rush hour or being stuck behind an old lady at the shops who takes five minutes to count her money (I've actually served someone who did that), but you don't see someone people try to propose those from being banned because its just silly.
From experience, I am generally aggressive after a really frustrating round of BFBC2 full of spawn-rape and horrendously powerful clans who don't give you a chance to move from the spawn than dismembering mutants for a couple of hours of Fallout: New Vegas. In fact, I believe that the latter is a good stress release and allows me to get on with life during difficult times without becoming frustrated enough to end up venting it out at someone who doesn't deserve it.
I'll use Yahtzee's argument from the Mortal Kombat review which is; Do violent video games truly make little kids think that its OK to know each other's heads off or fire fireballs at them? That's not to say that I don't think there are some games out there that are messed up, but until I see someone without an agenda conducts a truly unbiased experiment and use a reasonable test group, I'm just going to ignore both sides; besides video games are big business and I highly doubt that these naysayers will be able to get anything significant done without a fight or some sort of backlash, either from the consumers or the companies.

Ok. I call it like I see it.


Everyone has blamed TV, cartoons, Elvis,rock n roll, the beattles and videogames for violence/down fall of society...depending what's new on the menu.

It has no basis, no merit, to easily skewed but whom is giving the grant money.

You put on a fake study, show your funder what they want, collect money.

It's like the lame never ending fox/cnn stories of

Cheese burgers make you fat, Try this instead!

A plagiarized cut and pasted story/study just regurgitated because the author/lead researcher can't think of anything real, so just throws it out there to show they are pretending to work...

I tend to only get aggressive when people skirt out on their own personal responsibility. GTA didn't make you steal a car, pac-man didn't turn you into a binge eater... you did that yourself not the games.

I'm going to call B.S. on this study. 1. Desensitization does not mean a person will be more violet, they are just not act so disturbed by seeing violence.

Unfortunatly, I forgot my other points I was going to make. Curse my crappy memoery. *sigh*

Maybe these scientists were one of those people with brain disorder who could not differentiate real violence and computer/movie violence.

Wow will these psychologists just GIVE IT UP! Work on something more important for fox news to exploit.


You could actually read my post and argue instead of misquoting me and dismissing my point, that's just a bit arrogant.

Really? Cause it sounds like you're saying correlation doesn't work because you think it doesn't make sense. Well, sorry to break this to you, but something can be true even if you don't understand it.

People of the world, I bring you news that you can use!

Namely, we've been through this before, time and time again. You will never make the link that games equal violence! Games equal therapy AGAINST violent action through simulation. They make you feel better, which is why they are a form of entertainment. In other words, to say that any game has MADE violence happen is entirely backwards in thinking and WRONG.

I was working on a series of papers on this same subject for a semester of my English class, and while reading a lot of these studies, you see the same methods for testing showing up in every study.

I think it's shocking to see the same methods recycled to reinforce the same point, partly because I've seen studies that show that the methods researchers are using are unreliable, unproven, and only theoretically indicative of anything.

Plus these researchers also apply laboratory results directly to real-life situations, assuming that the situations are the same. Try playing video games alone and with people studying you. It will definitely be a very different experience.

In addition, all of these studies are done on people who have not committed an act of violence. Therefore, the studies don't include a real link to violence, just a theoretical one.

Until their research the correlation of desensitization and violent behavior was never proven. After their research, IT STILL WASN'T PROVEN. Okay, video games may cause hearing impairment. Come back when you've got a better test structure and a better test of aggressive behavior, and when you've got a broader test group than Call of Duty fans. To say this was lazy is like saying dark space is cold.

Given the kind of world we live in, I do not think a desensitization to violence is necessarily a bad thing. As he said it does not cause violent behavior, but in my opinion it merely keeps people from being shocked or mentally scarred from violent images; which is not necessarily a negative trait this day and age.

This is fucking stupid! Agh! I'm going to find that psychologist and RIP his FUCKING head off and shit DOWN HIS NECK!

Fuck I'm pissed now! I'm gonna go watch My Little Pony. Friendship all up in that motherfucker!

This study is so bogus, I did not even read it! He is such a hack and does not even know what he is talking about!/sarcasm

But really, Horrible, horrible article that makes Tito look like a defensive ass and about half of a thread who did not read the study.

He needs to repeat the experiment with violent movies and TV shows, and graphically violent comic books.

so fake violence desensitizes people to fake violence and loud noises desensitizes people to loud you'll be telling me seeing in the dark desensitizes people to darkness (which it does).

this seemed to be based in a logical fallacy of sorts... this just shows that humans adapt to things they are familiar with; TECHNICALLY you could say video games increase aggression, in the same way that sports do because your actively engaging in an aggressive activity. as a matter of fact, merely watching sports has produced far more violent behaviour than videogames. you could substitute a number of factors in this study and come up with similar results.

how about you pinch someone's arm, then pinch another guy who you kicked in the balls; the second subject will likely be desensitized to pinching.

I play violent video games all the time, and I blame them for my highly active imagination and my yet uncompleted novel! Yes, the desensitise us, but does that mean we all want to go out and shoot Ruskies? OF COURSE NOT!!!!

Really, I wasn't expecting them to do something like that. /sarcasm

Of course they would.

"We don't have any new studies but let's make up some bullshit and say we've noticed something."

OR.....maby that bullshit...

i don't no...does anyone else think that people tend to make the psychology reports up sometimes?

Violence is often caused by frustration. Frustration is most commonly and most strongly evoked in "social" (or not so) contexts. Without a serious disorder, people can usually keep themselves sufficiently in check. Violence by itself is not attractive to a sane mind and cannot "convert" someone to it.
That are just some common sense observations.

"Basically we as gamers have to concede that yes, violent games DO desensitize people to violence and encourage people to be more aggressive."

For those who deny it, deny it all you want, the research data shows that violent video games affect immature children's behavior, if not adults who have learned better the difference between reality and fantasy. This is not to say that violent video game are not to be sold, how about just not sold to children, and curbing their involvement in simulated war and all its gory?

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