Psychology Study Blames Games for Aggressive Behavior

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"known" for years? hmm no ... no they didnt

I feel like there's no argument when it comes to this. It's obvious that video games have an effect on a person's aggression levels. The question is, does it increase or decrease them, and to this, I believe the logical answer is the former.

Of course, the same could be made of millions of components of everyday life- Like if you sit on an uncomfortable chair at the office.

The first bit was interesting, but there are problems with the second part, when he says that people who already play a lot of violent video games are less sensitive to violent imagery. That's a correlational study, and as such you can't make causal conclusions based on it, as the confounds haven't been eliminated. Any psychologist should know that. I know that and I'm only a psychology student.

People who already see a lot of violence, perhaps from TV shows and such, might be more desensitized to it and subsequently more predisposed to buy a violent video game. All that second part suggests is that there is a correlation between violent video games and becoming desensitized to violence, not that there's a causal link.

9Darksoul6:

I'm amazed by how the greatest minds in science and philosophy still try to establish what "reality" is, while you believe a mecanism (your brain is not a person, therefore it is not rational; nor is your subconscious) simply "worked it out".

Quite simply, nature trumps science because it's been around for longer.

Science actually has worked it out. I'd suggest looking up the "uncanny valley" when you've finished being condescending.

You might also want to look up "mechanism", "rational" and the difference between a mind and a brain.

This experiment has been done time and time again. It doesn't speak much to his credit to not know this. It does not any more than any experiment before it prove a cause and effect link between video game violence and real violence. You can't prove it, beyond exposing people to actual violence -- putting an actual gun in their hands with no rules to see whether gamers or non-gamers would fare better.

Keep trying, I'll keep laughing.

So are you telling me that books,movies,theater or even cowboy games (childrens games) can't do the same?

I'm a renonwed bacon expert and I will tell you that bacon is fatty! But so is any other meat.

... and tomorrow we'll get a story that proves that there is no link whatsoever... and then by the weekend we'll have another one that proves it again.

We see this all the time and it gets really old. Why is this such a big deal to people anyway? Oh yeah, that's right, because the same people who tried to ban comic books and protest Marilyn Manson concerts want strict regulations on video games because they're something they don't understand. It's silly that people are still this worried about something as insignificant as video games. Seriously... they have ratings on them. Isn't that enough?

I think the scientists should be more concerned with sports increasing aggression. Hell, in football you're encouraged to be violent towards the other team, but you don't see parents up in arms over that. It's a double-standard.

Aggression is most definitely not the same thing as violence. I can definitely agree with the aggressive thing, I get pissed off if I can't get passed a certain point in a game, but I'm not that violent a person. I also have a good hold of myself; if I didn't my aggression -would- lead to violence. Yet it does not.

9Darksoul6:
Why is it so hard for you (common gamers) to believe that seeing violent imagery in motion affects you senisitivity towards violence? Even more if you're actively causing it ("playing")...
Be rational. How could your subconscious possibly know the difference between real-life violence from virtual violence? Is it really that hard to admit? I also play violent videogames, and it doesn't bother me.

if you know its virtual then your subconscious knows as well

OT:i agree that it "desenities" a bit but there is also a big diffrence between video game violence and real life violence a big ones being the smell, sights, sound and every thing else a video game cant deliver in the right magnitude if at all

I agree and wouldn't call it desensitized, but used to something. When you do something, such as eat McDonalds everyday, the taste gets worse and worse. What's the saying about the best things in life are taken in small bites?

A better test would have had people play 3 games, either in a different order, different amount of time, or one group omitted a more violence based game for either a game they'd been playing or a less violent game. It sounds like he designed his experiments around the results to get what he wanted, which I call shame on

Pretty much any competitive activity makes you more violent in the short term. Sports games, in fact, tend to enhance aggression more than violent games.

The real question is whether anyone has demonstrated that desensitization works on any time frame other than the extreme short-term.

Greg Tito:

First off, blasting more sound at someone is hardly an accurate measure of aggression and probably speaks more to the sound design of the games played.

There was a study a while back that tried to determine whether violent television would cause violence. In this experiment they let subjects administer shocks to people, and the intensity of the shock given was to be the measurement for violent behaviour after said subject had watched either a violent or non-violent television program.

This experiment is very similar with the addition of measurement of brain activity. The only reason they won't shock people this time is because it's considered unethical. The study of psychology took a while to realise you can't just shock people for the sake of science. I bet GlaDOS would disagree, but hey.

The experiment isn't flawed in and of itself. administering loud noises to other people is like exposing them to pain, only less so than shocks. Now if they would've gauged the volume of some song or other sound that the subject would set after playing the game, that would surprise me.

That being said it's been well known that violent imagery makes people violent. It's also been known this effect does not last long after a person has stopped playing.
It's also been known that if you see something all the time, like gore, violent behaviour or anything else violence-related you will get used to that imagery. It's what desensitisation means. What it doesn't mean, however, is that you will also get desensitised to those same images out of their original context. I can look at people getting maimed, blown apart and tortured in video games all day long without flinching, even laugh at some times. But when I watch one of those tv programs that shows a real life surgery going on sopmetimes I get very uncomfortable.

So no, it's not a bad study. It's what people infer from the study that could be bad.

Playing Little Big Planet made me a serial killer... i just like too see people explode out from nowhere and pop when you throw them into fire pits...

I loled at this study... xD

The conclusion could also be drawn that video games condition people to be better at goal based situations. If you want to win a game that includes blasting loud sounds at other people, you blast louder sounds at other people. The first part of the study includes a part of science that I have no personal knowledge of (neuroscience) so I cannot comment on that, but the second part is inherently flawed and is set up in a way to purposely prove the persons own hypothesis. Shit I wish people would stop doing this kind of stuff.

Edit:

TitanAtlas:
Playing Little Big Planet made me a serial killer... i just like too see people explode out from nowhere and pop when you throw them into fire pits...

I loled at this study... xD

lol I'm pretty sure LBP is one of those "non-violent games" times they were using for the control. How great would it have been if that group would have been more violent :D.

This is not new; it's only unusual because of the parameters by which this idiot-claiming-professor is asserting that video games cause aggression.

I have seen studies that show the exact same thing that this study showed, that when you put a kid in front of violent video games, the brainwaves that measure aggression rise, and when you keep said kid in front of said games for an extended period of time, those aggression levels become permanently higher, but only by a small degree. I have also seen evidence that shows a steady decline in various forms of crime and violence over the years, and the University of Texas actually did a study a couple years ago linking a drop in crime with the rise in (violent) gaming.

I mean, dear god, how many of these studies are we going to waste money on? It seems every month or so there's another "study" going around trying to prove that video games are evil, while it's barely once a year or longer before we actually get an "intelligent" study, or more aptly a study that actually lists out benefits of video games.

For the love of-correlation does not imply causation. I'd think an associate professor of psychology should know that much, since they teach that in high school.

Jumplion:

Exactly. Personal bias is something that should be kept out of journalism, and just because we happen to like a thing doesn't mean there aren't potential problems with it.

Though, is the thread screwed up for anyone else? Keeps flickering on and off.

It would be interesting to find out who funded this study and paid to get these BS results..

Greg Tito:
there always seem to be pop-pyschologists who want to play the aggression card and pass that off as encouraging violence...............Bartholow's study will be published in the "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology."

You do realise these are peer-reviewed scientific journals and therefore unlikely to contain any crap from 'pop-psychologists', right?

There is no point trying to argue against the notion that games cause aggressive behaviour. The studies are overwhelmingly in favour of the argument that they do; but it seems to be mostly short-term effects. It's the same with any other media, and that's the point we should be pressing; yes, violent videogames cause aggressive behaviour, but so do violent films, and there is no controversy with them, so why treat games differently?

thaluikhain:

Jumplion:

Exactly. Personal bias is something that should be kept out of journalism, and just because we happen to like a thing doesn't mean there aren't potential problems with it.

Though, is the thread screwed up for anyone else? Keeps flickering on and off.

It's Wednesday. Zero Punctuation Day. The site always experience problems on Zero Punctuation Day.

Increased aggression in society? Is this guy a fuckin' idiot? There's less violence now in the world than ever before you dumb shit. And someone is supposed to take these studies seriously. Geez what a moron.

thaluikhain:

Though, is the thread screwed up for anyone else?

Same 'ere. Because my previous comment just wouldn't upload, I kept reloading the page. Later I found I made six posts. Ghastly.

Said it before and I'll say it again.

1) Video Games do make me more aggressive sometimes.
2) A badly cooked steak makes me more aggressive more often.
3) Playing football makes me more aggressive nearly every time I play it.
4) University/Course Exam makes me more aggressive ALWAYS.

I suggest we ban such Exams as they are clearly detrimental to the health of young people everywhere.

FightThePower:

Greg Tito:
there always seem to be pop-pyschologists who want to play the aggression card and pass that off as encouraging violence...............Bartholow's study will be published in the "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology."

You do realise these are peer-reviewed scientific journals and therefore unlikely to contain any crap from 'pop-psychologists', right?

There is no point trying to argue against the notion that games cause aggressive behaviour. The studies are overwhelmingly in favour of the argument that they do; but it seems to be mostly short-term effects. It's the same with any other media, and that's the point we should be pressing; yes, violent videogames cause violent behaviour, but so do violent films, and there is no controversy with them, so why treat games differently?

There are no studies of which I am aware that establish a causal link between video games and violent behavior. This study doesn't purport to do so, either. Aggressive behavior is not the same thing as violent behavior.

That's funny, I play violent games all the time and still feel like I'm going to chuck when I see real violence; I guess context is important, ecological-validity and all of that shit... heh.

Stop proving games makes people violent, Mom.

It seems the claims don't suit the data from this experiment. All they have shown is that playing violent games (providing a series of violent images) desensitizes someone to violent images. Doesn't mean much in terms of actual behaviour.

Besides, just to parrot what I remember learning, correlation doesn't mean causation. As far as I can tell, he's taking a correlation, ignoring the possibilities of third factors, and calling it a win.

But I'm no psych buff.

I don't doubt the validity of the experiment, I doubt his conclusions.

Desensitized is just a familiarity, and really has no bearing on seriousness of an act, like its been said, you can watch CSI and be desensitized with viewing a dead body. So does seeing anything. So there's no real revalation there.

But the aggressions? Testing someones aggression right after an act is crap for showing anything. If I just come off the soccer field I'm going to be more aggressive, such is the nature of a competition.

I feel like this is comparable to giving a bunch of people bad fish to eat, then if someone gets sick claiming fish makes people sick, it's kinda true, but so can any other food in that situation.

And in two months another study will show it does none of these things.

How bout your snotty kid is aggressive and violent maybe it's because the parent allows them to act that way and blames video games instead of punishing the child...

I would posit that sport makes people much more aggressive than games do, even if games can be conclusively shown to increase aggresiveness. Moreover, I'd posit that sport not only causes aggression, but also increases the instances in which aggression turns into physical violence given that sportsmen are psychologically rewarded for physically and psychologically dominating another person, particularly in contact sports like rugby or American football.

To this end, I'd like to see a study of high school bullying which demonstrates how many of those bullies who engage in physical or psychological violence against others are routinely exposed to violent sports. If a correlation is found, this would be cause for further study. If such studies demonstrated causation, then perhaps we would have grounds for banning sport in schools.

Then people who concoct misleading studies like this could be hoist from their own petard. :)

I'd believe its true in so far as watching violent images desensitizes people to seeing violent images (as appear on a screen), but I'd doubt the results of a study that hinges on the "choose the volume of the sound after winning" factor.

I'd speculate you'd get just as much or more volume in people sounding off after winning a competative, physical sport.

I've been playing videogames my whole life and yeah, sure, I'm desensitized to virtual violence, but I still find virtual depictions of REAL life violence bother me and further the EXPERIENCE of real life violence bothers me a lot, even by proxy.

E.G: Been in bars or at concerts where some fairly nasty fights have broken out and my response has been a defensive oriented "Whoa whoa! NOT cool!" snapshot mix of surpise, fear, anger and concern for my personal well being and for that of my friends who were there, as opposed to the laid back 'yeah, alright!' attitude this study suggests I SHOULD be feeling (after years of deep immersion in virtual violence and aggression)...

TL;DR - Misleading study, untruthful correlation to real life perception of violence.

This study feels more like a proof of competitive video games causing overly-competitive behavior... if I just finished playing Call of Duty and was then told to play a game involving blasting sound at people, I'd probably blast some pretty loud sounds too... and I'd expect loud sounds blasted at me as well... The presentation of this study doesn't feel like it was well planned...

JDKJ:

FightThePower:

Greg Tito:
there always seem to be pop-pyschologists who want to play the aggression card and pass that off as encouraging violence...............Bartholow's study will be published in the "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology."

You do realise these are peer-reviewed scientific journals and therefore unlikely to contain any crap from 'pop-psychologists', right?

There is no point trying to argue against the notion that games cause aggressive behaviour. The studies are overwhelmingly in favour of the argument that they do; but it seems to be mostly short-term effects. It's the same with any other media, and that's the point we should be pressing; yes, violent videogames cause violent behaviour, but so do violent films, and there is no controversy with them, so why treat games differently?

There are no studies of which I am aware that establish a causal link between video games and violent behavior. This study doesn't purport to do so, either. Aggressive behavior is not the same thing as violent behavior.

As usual, I read and type too quickly. Yes, you're right, that should be aggressive behaviour, not violent behaviour.

Interestingly, I did a quick dig and whilst violent games leading to aggressive behaviour is fairly well established, according to a recent study: "Neither video game violence exposure, nor television violence exposure, were prospective predictors of serious acts of youth aggression or violence."

So yeah, definitely not violent then.

EDIT: Just found this as well, taken from a book attacking violent videogame hysteria:

One such study is a "noise blast" test, which is supposedly designed to measure aggression through the volume and duration of a noise blast one test subject administers to another. Yet, as the authors point out, it is hard to draw any conclusions about real-life activities from a test without any context or real world implications.

Maybe this study isn't so good after all.

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