Psychology Study Blames Games for Aggressive Behavior

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zarguhl:

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

See the modern American medical model?

Also, your claim isn't entirely true. There are some things that are really well documented (some phobias, for example) and source-understood. But, yeah, there are plenty of things that have indeterminable roots. That doesn't, however, mean you can't "fix" them (again, see many phobias. Except hoarding, hoarders be craz-ay).

Ace IV:
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.

*like*

Causality may be questionable, but there certainly is a correlation.

kypsilon:

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?

See modern military boot camp. You think the rough obstacle courses with live fire are just for shits and giggles? =P

Also, oops. Looks like I got stuck in a triple-post.

I remember when I was playing Borderlands. I was playing a hunter and shooting bandits in the head. My thoughts were "This is a fun game. I would like to play more like it."

Then my roommate bought one of those plastic nerf guns that shoot darts. After a few minutes shooting it, I wanted a real one. No, seriously. I looked up the kind I wanted, went to a gun shop, talked to some people, and researched the nearest shooting range in which I could take classes.

Of all the violent games I played through the years, a little plastic toy gun affected me more than anything else.

Next study: toys make kids violent!

zarguhl:
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.

Alrighty! You have finally arrived at a scientifically verifiable hypothesis. Took a couple prods for someone who's trying to argue that psychology isn't a science, but you got there eventually.

Now prove it.

And if you ever do (which you won't, but in either case), congratulations. You are now a psychologist. You studied and experimented on the mind.

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

Again, this is an incredibly broad generalization. I don't have time to teach you all about the different perspectives on psychology, so I'm just going to leave you with this:

You are saying that of every scientist that has ever studied the human mind, not a single one has ever tried to explain what goes on in it, and why things happen.

If you honestly believe this, I can't help you.

'Night.

Trolldor:
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?

If they have any desensitizing effect it's probably less than movies since you have obvious digital animation vs. live action (although that's just speculation).

Phyroxis:

kypsilon:

Phyroxis:

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?

See modern military boot camp. You think the rough obstacle courses with live fire are just for shits and giggles? =P

Also, oops. Looks like I got stuck in a triple-post.

The bulk of the population of Israel is pressed into compulsory military service, maybe we should see if they exhibit an increased rate in gamer rage? ;}

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?

I wholeheartedly agree with both statements.

Jumplion:

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.

It's a scripting function; and just a joke, really. I'm fine with =/= since it gets the point across far better than !=

OT?: I was being unfairly aggressive because I played 25 minutes of Dead Rising 2.

Seriously, though, did they play the "tone" for each subject? Because if I was volunteering for this experiment and someone blasted me with a really loud tone and then I was asked to pick a tone for someone else, my decision would be more morally based than aggressively, regardless of the amount of gaming I had done. Again, how I think versus how other people think and that's just hard to factor.

Jumplion:

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.

I've noticed. I just tend to have knee-jerk reactions to this sort of stuff since it could still end up as debate fodder regardless of the "not a sole factor" point.

This is fantastic news. Now I just need someone to show a link between desensitisation/volume and violence and I'll be able to go on my long-planned killing spree, safe in the knowledge that I can say to the judge "the videogames made me do it".

Elegy of Fools:

Jumplion:

Elegy of Fools:
Also!

=/= != !=

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.

It's a scripting function; and just a joke, really. I'm fine with =/= since it gets the point across far better than !=

OT?: I was being unfairly aggressive because I played 25 minutes of Dead Rising 2.

Seriously, though, did they play the "tone" for each subject? Because if I was volunteering for this experiment and someone blasted me with a really loud tone and then I was asked to pick a tone for someone else, my decision would be more morally based than aggressively, regardless of the amount of gaming I had done. Again, how I think versus how other people think and that's just hard to factor.

Ah, now see, that's where the questions lie. It's easy to go "Oh, I would totally be all moral and not give them such a loud sound for very long" but more often than not we never do what we think we would do. Cracked presents this in an informative, yet equally hilarious way.

KezzieZ:

Jumplion:

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.

I've noticed. I just tend to have knee-jerk reactions to this sort of stuff since it could still end up as debate fodder regardless of the "not a sole factor" point.

See, while I can understand a little knee-jerking, the amount going on here, and in most topics that have these kinds of studies, is astronomical. I primarily blame the way the article was written as it is heavily biased against the study and, in my eyes, incredibly unprofessional.

There are studies either way. This topic is old and boring even if this thread is new and interesting.

Psychology is an interesting, valid and precise science. However, it can be manipulated by whoever the fuck wants to manipulate it.

I wont even bother reading the study. Its not going to blow my mind.

AnOriginalConcept:

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?

I wholeheartedly agree with both statements.

Wait, I aint going to read the article in question. But does it really say "Potentially cause?"

In short, less than 95% certainty (Which you need to have experimental validity within psychology) and, judging from the use of the word "Potentially" (A step beneath "It can be inferred from the results")...

The study was inconclusive.

The reason I come to that conclusion is very simple. I used to study psychology and had to wade through bullshit experiments proving whatever the hell the psychologist wanted to prove. There are tell-tale signs of bullshit and waffle. Like the word "Potentially".

You'd need to show real violence, would you not? For science!

How about the test they used to prove venting on pillows actually reinforced future aggression over contemplation?
They made them write an essay, telling them they'd be marked by the other testers

The testers marked half of them as shit and terrible, and made a control with good remarks on the essay

They showed them it, and made half of them punch a pillow for five minutes if they wanted to, and the other half had to sit and think for five minutes

They presented people with a sheet with blank letters,

such as R__E

and S__B

The venters were more likely to answer with violent words such as RAPE and STAB and the non venters picked ROPE and SLOB more often.

They gave them a drink, and said the marker of their essay must drink the whole thing, and gave them hot-sauce

The venters put more in on average.

If/when I beat someone or a friend at a game they get blasted with a loud sound. Usually my yelling. :D If they're (scientists) making me blast someone with a sound, then I'm gonna blast them as loud as possible, probably because I'm a dick and it's funny. I'd do it if I beat them at Mortal Kombat or if I beat them at Peggle. What if I just want to torture my opponent?

cerebus23:
My lawnmower makes me violent its a piece of crap. THey should study my brainwaves while trying to mow the lawn, they would be frghtened to death.

OH MY GOD. YARD WORK INDUCES VIOLENCE. OH MY GAWWWWWWWWWWWDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously though, I'm surprised I haven't seen a Fox News story on this amazingly accurate, scientific study.

Reaction to violent picture =/= reaction to actual violence.

I'm pretty sure if I saw a person hold a gun up to their head then shooting would terrify me intensely, and not make me say, "BLOOD, GORE, VIOLENCE, PEW PEW!"

Source: Missouri University:
During the study, 70 young adult participants were randomly assigned to play either...

This is where I stopped reading.

Even if this pseudo-science did hold weight, which it doesn't, it's hard to take seriously a study that has a test pool with a grand total of... 70 people... Not 70 thousand, not even 7 thousand.... 70! That's the equivalent of me buying two pieces of fruit, and then amusing 50% of all fruit isn't ripe, should one of them not be. And, people are supposed to take this seriously?

image

Phyroxis:

Causality may be questionable, but there certainly is a correlation.

Check my link again, and read Myth #5.

wasn't the opposite shown true a few month,s ago?
PS maybe he should show another control group some violent movies (you know like Saw) and then do the picture test.

This article and comments section makes psychologists cry. please research how experiments are performed before attempting to critique one.

Bartholow published an almost identical/similar study back in 2006 if anyone wants a snap-shot of what the new one might read like

http://web.missouri.edu/bartholowb/pdfs/BartBushSestJESP2006.pdf

- A Psychologist

True enough. News has an awful trend of being sensationalist on either side.

I have to admit that isn't very fair, particularly since games are making new ground regardless (since the NEA backs some games as art-worthy and Australia might have that new added rating some day).

And I blame psychology studies for aggresive behavior!

Ace IV:

Phyroxis:

Causality may be questionable, but there certainly is a correlation.

Check my link again, and read Myth #5.

That does not disprove my assertion. All it said is that correlational studies provide opportunity for things to be disproven. This is true. But never will correlational design establish clear causality. You can make your case stronger and stronger but correlation can never say A => B only A is very, very likely to contribute to the occurrence of B.

Not to mention that "Myth" (which, contrary to the format of that post, is not actually proven a myth. Nor is the subsequent "fact" an actual fact rather than an opinion) is a trick some scientists use to make themselves feel better about the fact they can't draw causality (for whatever reason; human factors, design limitations) and that their field, as a result, is only considered "soft" science in the eyes of many.

And, as a note, I've already read many of Anderson's (and to a lesser extent, Bushman and Gentile) studies and they range from being well-designed to dangerously over-assertive in their claims. 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."

Causal is: kid plays video game, kid goes and aggressess. Not one study has yet been able to show that direct effect, why? Because you can't do it ethically. Sure, you can use a proxy (press a button, and it'll "hurt" someone you don't see) but then you lose quite a bit of external validity and, subsequently, the right to generalize in the way that Anderson does.

Considering that the average highschool student has to sit through drivers ed, where they show you extremely graphic videos and pictures of dead people in car accidents as a scare tactic to discourage you from texting while driving and to always wear your seat belt, I think the picture of a guy with a gun in his mouth is A LOT less frightening when compared to the picture I saw of a guy that was RIPPED in half with his crotch almost completely sheared off from road rash. I think that desensitized me enough that when I got into a car crash and saw the inside of my elbow and was bleeding everywhere, I was able to make jokes on the long and horrendous car ride to the hospital.

The minute I saw this I thought "Fuck off." to whoever conducted the study.

Touche, whoever conducted the study.

However, obviously people have been overreacting for going on decades about the negative side-effects of video games. Bad people and stupid people were born that way, and will always be that way, whether they grew up playing video games, or were born before they were ever conceived.

That so called "study" was so unprofessional that it's not even worth commenting more than one sentence.

Surely all of this aggressive behaviour must be manifesting itself in out of control record crime rates, right? No wait, the FBI just released its preliminary report which states that violent crime is at a 40 year low and dropped more than 5% last year. Well what about Japan, they play a lot of video games, no their crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. I suggest that we blame aggressive behaviour on comic books or heavy metal music again, I did not get enough of that the first time around.

Moromillas:

Source: Missouri University:
During the study, 70 young adult participants were randomly assigned to play either...

This is where I stopped reading.

Even if this pseudo-science did hold weight, which it doesn't, it's hard to take seriously a study that has a test pool with a grand total of... 70 people... Not 70 thousand, not even 7 thousand.... 70! That's the equivalent of me buying two pieces of fruit, and then amusing 50% of all fruit isn't ripe, should one of them not be. And, people are supposed to take this seriously?

Absolutely you can take this seriously. Should you instantly believe it? No, but that doesn't mean its pseudo-science or that it carries no weight. Science is all about testing and evaluating claims in an empirical way. To be able to publish in a scientific journal, these authors had to have a well founded study with plausible design and reasonable conclusions. None of that could have taken place with an inadequate subject pool, or sample size. At the very base of it, they can't say "statistically significant" (that is, they can't say there was an effect) without a certain minimum sample. Well, they could say it, but they wouldn't get published and, of course, wouldn't be here for us to discuss.

Statistical significance can, in many cases, be achieved with a sample size of 45. In fact, most behavioral studies you hear about have a sample size less than 100 and they are strong enough to generalize out. More reading here on sampling: (PDF link)

Good that your BS detector was on, it just beeped in the wrong place. You should be less concerned about the sample size (and for a study like this, 70 is well above the minimum) and more concerned about the design and conclusions.

This article illustrates one of the primary problems with the Escapist.

Every time Extra Credits show how games can affect a person positively, it is immediately taken as the truth and a brilliant one at that.

Every time a psychology study comes out that links violent gaming with heightened agression (which, by the way, is not the same as violence.), unprofessional articles are written and everyone gets defensive.

It's a two-way street. Either we accept that gaming can have no possible effect on our psyche or we accept that, as games can elevate us, they can also lower us.

The main issue I have with this video is the narrator's opening line that states "scientists have known for years that playing violent video games causes players to be more aggresive" - which I believe is not a complete fallacy. Instead I believe that a lot of these studies are just going about their investigation from the wrong perspective. It seems as if they all just want to find an excuse to brand "violent" video games as trash.

I believe that when experimenters study "violent" video games the games they deem "violent" tend to be very competetive in nature. Whether it's Call of Duty or Mortal Kombat and it's this competition that elicits an aggresive response. When you're playing a competitive game you are playing to win, not to lose. That is the nature of competition and that's why a person playing a game has perceived increases in aggression levels. Not because it's violent but because it's competitive.

This is just speculation on my part though =P

The thing is, violent games aren't the only games that are competitive. I'm not sure how many studies, if any, look at the issue from this angle but I would like to see them. If anyone knows of a study like this please, post a link. I'd appreciate it.

I may be desensitized to virtual violence but that doesn't mean if someone bursts into my room and saws my brother in half I'd feel entertained.

I don't know if I find this funny, stupid, sad or frustrating.

I guess if you set a goal, if you know the result you want to have beforehand, you can conduct some form of research to "prove" it. That stands for pro-gaming studies too.

It's just that in this case, it seems like the study is done in a very stupid way. Like having someone that doesn't know how to read to conduct a study in the hidden meanings and writing techniques of Homer's epics in ancient Greek text...

By the way, I think I played some Zelda last week. Does that mean I will most probably go on a killing rampage later this afternoon?

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.

^This. Besides, after playing violent videogames since I was 9 (22 now), I'm still not desensitized even to some virtual violence. It depends on context the violence is in as well. Running over a pedestrian in GTA won't bother me much, but breaking someone's arm as a choice in a game like Mass Effect could make me think twice.

I still very much cringe at pretty much any real world violence, probably even more so than most people and that might even be a result of playing videogames cause I've gotten to know the actions>consequences quite well.

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