Psychology Study Blames Games for Aggressive Behavior

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KezzieZ:
So... no other media does this? No violent TV shows, films, or books can desensitize or cause any sort of aggression? That makes total sense. /sarcasm

Still, I don't think this sounds like an accurate test. Showing someone a picture of a dude with a gun after they play one game or the other doesn't really prove much, does it? I certainly don't think so.

Watch the video, the man explicitly states that video games would not, and never have been a sole factor in aggressiveness/violence, but one factor.

well, studies also show that apples can be bad for your health, my view on this is that it depends on the person playing. i for one keep games in perspective, just like with movies.
but i know people that will try to karate-kick everything in sight for a few hours after seeing a fight movie :P

games usually work as a stress reliever, unless the game sucks, but then i just press alt-F4 ;)

Jumplion:

2012 Wont Happen:
What these people don't understand is that, for many people, if they could not shoot bullets at imaginary terrorists and aliens, they would be shooting bullets at real co-workers and bosses.

Bullshit, that really paints the gamer stereotype pretty badly, as if the sentiment that they really are social shut ins that will go on a rampage if not satisfied. If people couldn't control themselves simply because they didn't have some imaginary terrorist/alien to shoot at, we'd all be dead by now. People are placing this study, and many others like it, into extremes here. The argument was never that people go crazy after playing violent video games, it's the debate over how intense certain short-/long-term effects may be when playing or viewing any form of violent media.

The logistics of this, and many studies, may be in question, but too often people get extremely defensive over something that should be legitimately researched and debated.

I'm not talking about the majority of gamers. However, for truly violent individuals, games are a much better outlet for that violence than killing real people in real life, which it seems to serve as in some degree.

As for whether games cause some aggression, probably to a certain degree. I've never gotten in a physical confrontation just because I was playing or had just played a game though whereas one time at a Flogging Molly concert I was about to attack (as in assault attack, not just mosh pit attack) four guys for very little reason until somebody else with me noticed what was about to happen and stopped it. Also, after the show, a guy bumped into me when I was at a pizza place and I jerked back and stopped myself just before I grabbed the guy to throw him over.

This might not seem very comparable, but once we start talking about banning things it is. People point at these studies about video games and say "we should ban games because they cause violence". However, I have never heard a case made that we should ban punk concerts even though they are a much more violent affair. So, yes, there is a level of legitimacy to the claim that video games cause aggression. However, to say it is a level of aggression that means it should be banned or restricted even though it causes much less aggression than many other things that nobody wants to ban, then we get to the reason why gamers tend to get defensive.

Lets also make note of the fact that it seems this man went into this study to "prove" a position that he already believed in personally. So it stands to reason that there's a good chance he devised tests that would inherently support his point. And reading through the specific tests he conducted appears to make this true.

As the article properly points out, familiarity and desensitization are two very different things. The CSI example is perfect. Being simply familiar with something will cause you to have a lower neurological reaction to that something, but that doesn't mean you are desensitized.

Yeah, and all the shit they put on TV doesn't do the exact same? Weak willed individuals will be susceptible to anything given enough time.

I have been playing all types of video games for the past 22+ years and have yet to murder or hurt anyone, and I have played ALL of the most violent and psychopathic games I have been able to find, didn't make me aggressive any more than I would have already been. I'm damn near a pacifist as a general rule in the real world but of course I understand the line between reality and fantasy.

MasterOfWorlds:
Yeah, as a former psych major,

and out goes your credibility. If you took anything beyond general psych, I'd be surprised. You certainly have no grasp of experimental design (or, more importantly, Human Subjects constraints). Long, long, gone are the days of being able to directly observe aggression (see Standford Prison Experiment).

Seriously? You can't even spell correlation right.

Greg Tito:
Knee-jerk, defensive posturing.

As for Tito, and all of you other knee-jerkers: Just because you don't like the study's findings, doesn't mean the findings are invalid. Besides, at no point did they call videogames bad, or say that videogames cause you to be violent. Only that video games can lead to increased aggression which itself is not something that is inherently devalued in our culture (see most professional sports). Stop knee-jerking, you, your hobby, and your life aren't under attack here. The experiment appears valid and with empirically supported (and historically supported) findings.

Only poor internal or external validity can put the certainty of findings in jeopardy. That all being said, the summary provided by Tito is not exactly unbiased. By which I mean, its entirely skewed in a very childish way.

Its strange that Tito chose to do it with this experiment, it for one is actually rather well designed when compared to some of the other "vg cause violence" studies. Also, Tito, did you even watch the video you attached? That alone should put your panties back in place, the experimenter took great pains to not indict videogames.

For Psychological experiments, it actually reads as experimentally sound. Sound "attacks" have been used as proxies for aggression before and, when compared to some of the other aggression proxies, they're actually pretty good (cf. "hindering" someone's progress in a task by pressing a button, when you can't even see that person).

We may not like the findings of this study, but that doesn't make them entirely wrong.

2012 Wont Happen:
I'm not talking about the majority of gamers. However, for truly violent individuals, games are a much better outlet for that violence than killing real people in real life, which it seems to serve as in some degree.

Those people would have gone on killing regardless of what they let their aggression out.

And in your quote you state "for many people...they would be shooting bullets at real co-workers and bosses." This assumes that "many people" are truly violent individuals, mentally disturbed and cannot function without being able to shoot some aliens in a game. You probably didn't mean to state that, but that statement alone probably speaks to how much faith in humanity you have (it's not much, is it? I don't blame you...)

As for whether games cause some aggression, probably to a certain degree. I've never gotten in a physical confrontation just because I was playing or had just played a game though whereas one time at a Flogging Molly concert I was about to attack (as in assault attack, not just mosh pit attack) four guys for very little reason until somebody else with me noticed what was about to happen and stopped it. Also, after the show, a guy bumped into me when I was at a pizza place and I jerked back and stopped myself just before I grabbed the guy to throw him over.

Personal anecdote =/= scientific validity

These effects are prevailant throughout all violent media, not just video games. It's just that because some studies specify video games, we all of a sudden get defensive and think they're attacking our precious hobby.

And besides, these studies (at least this particular one) are not about someone becoming a more violent person for playing a game. It's about observing the short-term, and potential long-term effects of playing a video game, whether that be increased aggression or comprehension skills. Whether they be positive or negative effects is entirely up to the results of the tests, and these tests may very well be faulty to an extent.

It is great that people are being skeptical of these kinds of studies, they are often agenda driven. However, I don't think people are scrutinizing these studies for the right reasons, instead defending this medium by completely ignoring any sort of point that the opposing side is made. If we were to put the same amount of effort into dissecting a "pro-game" study, it would be much less hypocritical of us when we scrutinize these particular studies.

This might not seem very comparable, but once we start talking about banning things it is.

Nobody is calling for a ban. The only people that do are ignorant politicians and agenda-driven research, which this study is, at least from what I have read, neither.

People point at these studies about video games and say "we should ban games because they cause violence". However, I have never heard a case made that we should ban punk concerts even though they are a much more violent affair. So, yes, there is a level of legitimacy to the claim that video games cause aggression. However, to say it is a level of aggression that means it should be banned or restricted even though it causes much less aggression than many other things that nobody wants to ban, then we get to the reason why gamers tend to get defensive.

Again, these are ignorant politicians. This study mentioned nothing about banning anything, nor did it single out video games in particular (watch the video, it's practically the opposite of what the article tries to paint him). Politicians don't even know what they talk about half the time. People read about these studies and automatically assume that they are trying to push an agenda, and to an extent that is forgivable because sometimes they are. But don't criticize something because you don't like its position on your hobby. Call out the short-comings of "pro-game" studies as they can be equally agenda-driven.

People need to stop being so defensive about any shortcoming that video games, or indeed any form of media, may have to the public. They have an effect, either positive or negative, and understanding those effects contribute to our understanding of a lot of things.

TiefBlau:
[quote="zarguhl" post="7.286870.11322977"]
And while you're at it, why don't you take a look at what you're trying to argue here. Violent video games desensitizes people to violence? You're trying to say that this isn't the case? Are you kidding me? There's defending video games, and then there's lobotomizing yourself so you never have to notice anything wrong with it.

Psychologists just have no concept of cause and effect. Sure videos games can effect reactions in people predisposed to their influence.

They assign the cause to the wrong place and so claim you need to prevent people from observing something to keep them sane.

A truly sane person can confront/observe anything without being harmed by it. Psychology doesn't believe in self determinism (much like Stephen Hawking) and their crazy theories lie around that principle, that life is all about effect and no cause. That one is the effect of their body/brain/chemicals, when the exact opposite is the truth.

jpoon:
Yeah, and all the shit they put on TV doesn't do the exact same? Weak willed individuals will be susceptible to anything given enough time.

I have been playing all types of video games for the past 22+ years and have yet to murder or hurt anyone, and I have played ALL of the most violent and psychopathic games I have been able to find, didn't make me aggressive any more than I would have already been. I'm damn near a pacifist as a general rule in the real world but of course I understand the line between reality and fantasy.

The study does not single out video games. Watch the video, the researcher tries his best to not pin this on games.

And again;

Personal anecdote =/= Scientific validity

You could be the most Amish of all players, but that does not invalidate any findings brought on by these types of studies. Sure, we may not like these findings, but that does not automatically make them wrong. This study in particular is not about people becoming more violent, it is about tracking the short-/long-term effects of playing violent video games and it can apply to all forms of media.

There still seems to be a strong bias here in the fact that they decided to single out games as something that would desensitze you to violence. I'm fairly certain that if they had them watch A Clockwork Orange or Dawn of the Dead then the results would be similar.

". The aggressive behavior that Bartholow measures is the volume of sound used in friendly competition between test subjects. "

That sounds a hell of a lot like the noise blast method which has all ready been debunked as providing false positives (I think there's away to do it where it will work but I'm not sure).

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Video games can potentially cause desensitization to violence and a temporary increase in aggression? Gasp! This is me trying to sound surprised.
EDIT: Also, I found this article terribly nonprofessional. Could you sound any more defensive?

It's funny because it seems intuitive but it is wrong.

There have been a TON of studies on this topic.

It's kind of like Global Climate Change.

The vast majority of credible scientists that study the topic know the reality of the situation.

A couple sods every year put out a shit study to the alternative.

BAM controversy.

Violent games do not result in violent people. They don't result in desensitization either. They don't result in anything more extensive than any visual intake. The added physical aspect does not actually result in any long term retention.

It SEEMS like it would, but it also SEEMS like the sun is tiny from this far away.

Simple fact - Violent Video games increase aggression.
What they don't have is any identifiable long-term effect. In other words, we're talking a short-term effect only.
And not in all subjects.
And if we're talking about desensitisation to violence, then what about films or mainstream media? Books? Artworks?

zarguhl:

TiefBlau:
[quote="zarguhl" post="7.286870.11322977"]
And while you're at it, why don't you take a look at what you're trying to argue here. Violent video games desensitizes people to violence? You're trying to say that this isn't the case? Are you kidding me? There's defending video games, and then there's lobotomizing yourself so you never have to notice anything wrong with it.

Psychologists just have no concept of cause and effect. Sure videos games can effect reactions in people predisposed to their influence.

They assign the cause to the wrong place and so claim you need to prevent people from observing something to keep them sane.

A truly sane person can confront/observe anything without being harmed by it. Psychology doesn't believe in self determinism (much like Stephen Hawking) and their crazy theories lie around that principle, that life is all about effect and no cause. That one is the effect of their body/brain/chemicals, when the exact opposite is the truth.

Pretty wide stroke you're painting with, there. By which I mean, your stereotyping of an entire field of disparate theories and ideas does no one any good. That's right, disparate. There are many theories of psychology, because they have yet to establish cause and effect. There is no definite cause for human behavior, you literally can not pin down the one cause for every one behavior: Humans are too complex. There are some REALLY well studied and predictable phenomena (see Classical conditioning) and some which are still totally unaccounted for.

To say "all psychologists believe _______" is just ludicrous. Its just as bad as saying "all gamers are _____" or "all gamers play ______ genre".

There are many schools of thought each with varying degrees of empirical (read: scientific) support. Freudians are by far the most well known and have their own (crazy to some) theories that are relatively unsupported. There are the neuro/biological psychologists who are probably what you're jabbing at with the whole "we = checmical reactions" thing, while there is a lot of empirical research here, it doesn't account for most behavior. There are the Cognitivists, the Behaviorists, the Cognitive Behaviorists (most effective in treatment); the Socials, the Personalties, the Social/Personality Psychologists; and the pure Experimentalists. Theres also the developmental Psychologists and the Humanists, there are also Gestalt Psychologsts and probably some others I've forgotten.

More often than not, the theories within each "camp" are exclusive or partially exclusive to the others, so to paint them all as of the same mindset is really, really ignorant. Of course, to speculate, you probably had a bad experience with one or two Psychologists with certain mindsets and as a result, you now paint all of them as the same. Nice causal error, yourself.

I don't get why they say 'makes them more aggresive' then right after state 'makes them less responsive to violence'. Isn't that contradictory?

MasterOfWorlds:

This test is BS, the results are BS, and this is exactly why I want to do sociology and social psychology, so that I'll be able to come up with better and more comprehensive tests than these. Ever think about looking into someone's background before allowing them to participate in the tests? For instance, someone that came from an abusive household might internalize it more than someone that comes from a "normal" family? There are so many outside variable here that it sickens me that this was allowed to be published.

If the test is on the general population*, picking people out because of their background is terrible, terrible science. Random sampling and assignment are less likely to bias the outcome.

*If a different population is the focus of the study, then sure, screening is necessary.

zarguhl:

A truly sane person can confront/observe anything without being harmed by it. Psychology doesn't believe in self determinism (much like Stephen Hawking) and their crazy theories lie around that principle, that life is all about effect and no cause. That one is the effect of their body/brain/chemicals, when the exact opposite is the truth.

I'm calling strawman. I'm sure some psychologists deny self-determinism, but that is not the generally accepted viewpoint (that behavior is a combination of physiology, environment, personal choice etc.)

Lullabye:
I don't get why they say 'makes them more aggresive' then right after state 'makes them less responsive to violence'. Isn't that contradictory?

No. Responsive in a brain-activity sense, as in desensitized to seeing violence.

Think of responsiveness as thoughts/neural activity, and aggression as action. At least in this instance.

I find it strange that despite all the articles and studies saying it increases aggression, I was violent before I started gaming. After I started, I calmed down, mellowed out, and developed more self-control.

edit: Maybe I'm an exception?

So after they studied these brainwaves and whatnot did they bother to see what the long-term outcome of these brain scans indicated? If such readings indicated a fundamental change in the test subjects such that after an hour or two post-game they were still exhibiting the increased aggression, then he might have a case. Otherwise his argument can be applied to anything...like shoveling the driveway in winter increases my aggression. (I absolutely HATE shoveling the driveway.)

In the end his entire experiment is a complete waste of money, proving a fact about a human reaction that exists in a number of ways in one's everyday life.

theultimateend:
There have been a TON of studies on this topic.

Many of them conflicting and not all regarding aggressive behaviors.

It's kind of like Global Climate Change.

The vast majority of credible scientists that study the topic know the reality of the situation.

A couple sods every year put out a shit study to the alternative.

Except we really don't know the reality of the situation. Video games, as well as movies, music, books, radio, television, etc... all have some sort of an effect on people. Some people experience those effects differently than others, others are not affected by it at all. Positive or negative, we still haven't gotten a clear cut distinction of what short-term/long-term affects it has on people.

Violent games do not result in violent people. They don't result in desensitization either. They don't result in anything more extensive than any visual intake. The added physical aspect does not actually result in any long term retention.

It SEEMS like it would, but it also SEEMS like the sun is tiny from this far away.

Oh yes, please, I would love to see your definitive, infallible, empirical evidence that absolutely, 100% states that violent games do not result in any sort of effect whatsoever. It is incredibly presumptuous to just state "They have no effect, case closed!"

Just because we don't like these findings do not make them wrong. It is great that people scrutinize these studies, but they are not being skeptical for the right reasons. If this study is wrong, it would be because a more comprehensive study with better execution, methodology, and data found a better result with more tangible data. Not because we think that they're out to get our hobby.

pwnzerstick:
There still seems to be a strong bias here in the fact that they decided to single out games as something that would desensitze you to violence. I'm fairly certain that if they had them watch A Clockwork Orange or Dawn of the Dead then the results would be similar.

Studying a specific subject =/= bias, its a reflection of 1. (lack of) funding and 2. scope/depth. Scientists don't get buckets of money to study things. This team specifically looked at aggression and video games, there are others that look at aggression and movies. They both have similar findings.

The goal of an experiment is to get a specific as possible, to look at one specific instance. Broadening the scope brings the possibility of more and more confounds, jeopardizing validity. Its actually the mark of a good study if its specific. The goal of science is to run multiple studies, each with a small change. That way you can find where there is, or is not, an effect.

Just because one team doesn't look at EVERY type of media, doesn't mean that the media they study is the ONLY media that has the effect they find. That is to say, yeah, they found that videogames influence aggression but that doesn't mean that music, movies, or TV do not influence aggression. On the contrary, other scientists have studied violent music, movies, or TV and have shown that they can certainly influence aggression.

Think of science as a large number of people using small picks to mine, as opposed to one or two people using a mechanized drill. Zerg over protoss =P

I'm the most balanced person my friends know :S ...

Studies. Pft... they all do stuff like this.

zarguhl:
Psychologists just have no concept of cause and effect.

Skinner would disagree. In fact, the entire branch of behavioral psychology is based on the concept of cause and effect.

zarguhl:
Sure videos games can effect reactions in people predisposed to their influence.

They assign the cause to the wrong place and so claim you need to prevent people from observing something to keep them sane.

Who said all psychologists think precisely that way? That's certainly not the definition of psychology, nor is it a law that all psychologists abide by.

Could it be that your own incredibly skewed sentiments regarding a very small, limited exposure to the concept of psychology might not be representative of psychology as a whole?

zarguhl:
A truly sane person can confront/observe anything without being harmed by it.

Rape and child molestation notwithstanding.

If I murdered your parents in front of you, would it harm you, or do you need a biological predisposition to that kind of stuff? Does that make you less than sane? I'd say quite the opposite. The fact that it does psychological harm is proof that you are, in fact, sane. Anyone that can watch their loved ones die before their very eyes and not be affected by it needs to be locked up, in my opinion.

zarguhl:
Psychology doesn't believe in self determinism (much like Stephen Hawking) and their crazy theories lie around that principle, that life is all about effect and no cause.

Okay, now I know you're just making this up on the spot.

First off, has it ever occurred to you that you might be making a broad, sweeping generalization when you assume all psychologists believe video games are bad for you?

Next, "life is all about effect and no cause" is the dumbest thing I've ever heard anyone trying to sound scientific say. Don't even try. This is the equivalent of those Hollywood-style "computer experts" that try to hack into the government system by making a GUI in visual basic or something.

Finally, humanistic psychology is all about self-determinism. But I'll expand on that in the next line.

zarguhl:
That one is the effect of their body/brain/chemicals, when the exact opposite is the truth.

...But you just suggested that predisposition had a huge part in how violent video games affect us...

Never mind. What I'm getting at is that psychology covers a huge number of ideas and ways to go about studying and creating theories. The single definite criterion for being able to call it psychology is just pertaining to the mind. In other words, you're trying to say that all sciences pertaining to the mind, from behavior, to biology, to cognitive function, is all bullshit. Why? Because there was an experiment conducted by psychologists that notes a correlation between video games and aggressive behavior to a small extent. And we wonder sometimes why other people consider us gamers petty.

This isn't about nature vs. nurture. This is about blatantly obvious truth shaking its flacid dick in your face, and your stubborn refusal to accept its existence because it might somehow hurt the game industry's feelings.

kypsilon:
So after they studied these brainwaves and whatnot did they bother to see what the long-term outcome of these brain scans indicated? If such readings indicated a fundamental change in the test subjects such that after an hour or two post-game they were still exhibiting the increased aggression, then he might have a case. Otherwise his argument can be applied to anything...like shoveling the driveway in winter increases my aggression. (I absolutely HATE shoveling the driveway.)

In the end his entire experiment is a complete waste of money, proving a fact about a human reaction that exists in a number of ways in one's everyday life.

You raise a completely valid point with studies like this. Most of them are short term studies that look only at the immediate effect. This, honestly, could be a reflection of the Jackie Chan effect (kid walks out of a movie theater after watching a Jackie Chan movie, whats he doing?)

However, this study actually looked at gamers and non-gamers and found that gamers had increased desensitization to violent pictures when compared to non-gamers, suggesting that there is something different between gamers and non gamers to cause the gamers to have that reduced reaction. IF the only differences between gamers and non-gamers is eliminated through randomization, then it stands to reason that games cause gamers to be more desensitized to violent pictures than non-gamers.

Now, while that finding may be clinically significant, it may not mean much in the real world. That is, a non gamer and I may not mentally have the same neural reaction to violent simuli, but we may physically react to it in the exact same way. For example, maybe a non gamer and I see a dead body in an alley way. I may be less grossed out than the non gamer, but still grossed out enough to want to GTFO, same as them.

Jumplion:

jpoon:
Yeah, and all the shit they put on TV doesn't do the exact same? Weak willed individuals will be susceptible to anything given enough time.

I have been playing all types of video games for the past 22+ years and have yet to murder or hurt anyone, and I have played ALL of the most violent and psychopathic games I have been able to find, didn't make me aggressive any more than I would have already been. I'm damn near a pacifist as a general rule in the real world but of course I understand the line between reality and fantasy.

The study does not single out video games. Watch the video, the researcher tries his best to not pin this on games.

And again;

Personal anecdote =/= Scientific validity

You could be the most Amish of all players, but that does not invalidate any findings brought on by these types of studies. Sure, we may not like these findings, but that does not automatically make them wrong. This study in particular is not about people becoming more violent, it is about tracking the short-/long-term effects of playing violent video games and it can apply to all forms of media.

Why don't these people understand this?

It's enough that my rights as a gamer have to be defended, but it's definitely not helping our case when everyone starts acting like children and cupping their hands over their ears and calling names to any scientist who doesn't say what they want to hear.

Phyroxis:

Lullabye:
I don't get why they say 'makes them more aggresive' then right after state 'makes them less responsive to violence'. Isn't that contradictory?

No. Responsive in a brain-activity sense, as in desensitized to seeing violence.

Think of responsiveness as thoughts/neural activity, and aggression as action. At least in this instance.

Uhh.....but an action is(im pretty sure) caused by a reaction in the brain.
Like if i'm 'less responsive to violence but more aggresive' then someone punches me in the face, will i beat the crap outta them whilst feeling apathetic? is that what they are trying to say? cus it makes no sense....

Eri:
Bitch please. De-sensitized to virtual violence is not the same thing as being de-sensitized to real life violence. Just ask Penn and Teller.

Bullshit!

Such a great show.

OT: Every time t his issue comes up, commonsense dies a little inside. Honestly... These are pixels, people... Pixels.

I think it's backwards. Humanity has always proven a natural gravitation towards violence; video gaming just so happens to be a form that doesn't directly kill anyone. I think in order to play violent video games, one would already have a predisposition to desensitizing or being entertained by violence.

Am I entertained by violence? Certain kinds, sure; the ones that are intended to be entertaining. Will any old violence sate my "bloodlust?" No; I'm actually rather bothered by real acts of violence and aggression; but I don't overreact, which is part of my nature. I imagine that my brainwaves would show a "desensitization." Now if you showed a shot of, say, my mother being hit by something, or some guy punting a puppy, I'd be bothered; and I imagine a great deal of people would be. It really depends on the particular act of violence.

Of course I can only base this "study" on myself because I don't have any way of proving how someone else thinks. This is Psychology trying to consider itself a real science when it's based on conjecture and interpretation.

For the record, I like psychology because of its implied interpretive nature; studies like this just try to create fact out of loosely understood data.

Also!

Jumplion:

Personal anecdote =/= Scientific validity

=/= != !=

Here are my questions...

What was Hitler's excuse? Played Tetris for a couple of hours and didn't once see the straight line block?

Or Billy the Kid's? Too much stickball?

Gah, I don't wanna post on this anymore. Professor, please take it away.

TiefBlau:

zarguhl:

Rape and child molestation notwithstanding.

If I murdered your parents in front of you, would it harm you, or do you need a biological predisposition to that kind of stuff? Does that make you less than sane? I'd say quite the opposite. The fact that it does psychological harm is proof that you are, in fact, sane. Anyone that can watch their loved ones die before their very eyes and not be affected by it needs to be locked up, in my opinion.

...But you just suggested that predisposition had a huge part in how violent video games affect us...

On the first part of your quote, I'd say that a person who is properly stable and sane would at the time of the event feel terrible about it (or do something about it) and then after that it would cease effecting them. It wouldn't then cave them in for life. It may spur them to act so that such things don't happen again (as opposed to just being upset about it for life).

On the second part - by predisposition I meant that the person mentally has something else that is triggered by the game, the game itself (like the murdering of parents) doesn't affect the person mentally, it simply affects a preexsting issue and triggers a reaction.

And psychology knows nothing of how to get at the actual source of mental problems, so they instead merely tackle the symptoms.

Donkey Kong Country Returns made me angry enough to punch a baby in the throat!

Lullabye:

Phyroxis:

Lullabye:
I don't get why they say 'makes them more aggresive' then right after state 'makes them less responsive to violence'. Isn't that contradictory?

No. Responsive in a brain-activity sense, as in desensitized to seeing violence.

Think of responsiveness as thoughts/neural activity, and aggression as action. At least in this instance.

Uhh.....but an action is(im pretty sure) caused by a reaction in the brain.

Not always the case. Besides, we're talking about two different things, one is looking at violent pictures and the other is actually causing harm (possibly) to another person.

The study is saying that someone who has just played a violent video games has less of a mental aversion, or is less upset by violent pictures than someone who has not just played a videogame.

It also is saying that that same person is more likely to harm (again, a lot of "ifs" here) someone more than someone who had not just played a violent videogame.

Like if i'm 'less responsive to violence but more aggresive' then someone punches me in the face, will i beat the crap outta them whilst feeling apathetic? is that what they are trying to say? cus it makes no sense....

Your scenario is actually somewhat accurate and makes more sense than you might think. Except you'd need to take out the "someone punches me in the face" part, because that is going to be WAY more of a justification to be violent than a videogame could ever compare to.

Say you and I just watched two different movies, I watched Bambi and you watched The Terminator. I'm feeling super happy and lovey and shit, and you're all pumped from watching shit die and shit explode. You've already been watching violence and destruction, I have not.

We both are walking together (come up with your own reason) and we see a fight taking place. I am much more likely to be bothered by it than you are, that is I am more sensitized and you are more desensitized. As I said earlier, you've been watching violence already; I have not.

Now, how will either of us behave in reaction to this fight is less certain. If the study is to be held true, you're more likely to want to see someone get hurt more than I am. As for driving behavior, there really isn't science to back up what either of us would do (as affected by media) because we're not being presented with the explicit opportunity to harm someone (in experiments like this one, they give the participant the opportunity to, say, press a button to harm someone).

I hope that clears it up a bit. The bottom line is, the farther your hypothetical (or real life) situation gets from that which actually occurred in the experiment, the more likely the experiment won't apply and you'll need other experiments to fill in the blanks.

Phyroxis:

kypsilon:
So after they studied these brainwaves and whatnot did they bother to see what the long-term outcome of these brain scans indicated? If such readings indicated a fundamental change in the test subjects such that after an hour or two post-game they were still exhibiting the increased aggression, then he might have a case. Otherwise his argument can be applied to anything...like shoveling the driveway in winter increases my aggression. (I absolutely HATE shoveling the driveway.)

In the end his entire experiment is a complete waste of money, proving a fact about a human reaction that exists in a number of ways in one's everyday life.

You raise a completely valid point with studies like this. Most of them are short term studies that look only at the immediate effect. This, honestly, could be a reflection of the Jackie Chan effect (kid walks out of a movie theater after watching a Jackie Chan movie, whats he doing?)

However, this study actually looked at gamers and non-gamers and found that gamers had increased desensitization to violent pictures when compared to non-gamers, suggesting that there is something different between gamers and non gamers to cause the gamers to have that reduced reaction. IF the only differences between gamers and non-gamers is eliminated through randomization, then it stands to reason that games cause gamers to be more desensitized to violent pictures than non-gamers.

Now, while that finding may be clinically significant, it may not mean much in the real world. That is, a non gamer and I may not mentally have the same neural reaction to violent simuli, but we may physically react to it in the exact same way. For example, maybe a non gamer and I see a dead body in an alley way. I may be less grossed out than the non gamer, but still grossed out enough to want to GTFO, same as them.

Interestingly enough, hypothetically one could say that desensitizing someone's reaction to violence could be a good thing, not in a "I can hit you with a bat without blinking an eye" sort of way, but being able to keep your head in a potentially dangerous scenario may give you the option of thinking clearer and reacting to the situation at hand better. Does that make sense?

But violent media does foster aggressive behavior. It's not just games, TV, music, books, all of what you consume has an effect on you. That's just scientific fact. Ask me and I'll provide a link.

Look, Greg, just because you're part of a games website doesn't mean you have to act like a creationist and ignore science that you don't agree with.

http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2003/10/anderson.aspx

I have many more links like this. The evidence is overwhelming.

Elegy of Fools:
Also!

Jumplion:

Personal anecdote =/= Scientific validity

=/= != !=

I never did really get what "!=" meant. I assume it's just "does not equal", in which case I rather prefer =/= since it's more of a "not equal" sign to me. Whatever.

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