Research Finds Negative Effects in Violent Videogames

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I wish they would have included some longterm gamers in their study, 3 days is not much if you want to say anything about longterm effects of playing videogames.

It would have been interesting what results the test yielded, if they didn't do them immediately after the gaming sessions. Right after playing COD I might be a little excited and that could have an effect on my performance in those tests.

Xanadu84:
Few problems here...

Just a few?

1) External validity. What kind of aggression does he think he is measuring? Because, "hitting someone with a baseball bat" and "trash talk at the poker table" seem to both be measured as aggression. Blasting loud sounds is no Milgram study. Ive done worse things to my friends as a form of camaraderie, and I suspect that most people have. Sure, he may be measuring, "Aggression", and that's all well and good, but in this study, aggression may be nothing more then the context given to a friendly, engageing competition. Maybe he never said as such, but the message seems to be assuming that aggression that is being measured is undesirable. In fact, a rational and balanced passion to achieve is aggression. Lack of aggression could be calm, or it could be a predisposition to becoming withdrawn and depressed.

Yeah, all I got out of it was 'violent game players possibly more obnoxious than non-violent game players'... and possibly 'researchers lack dynamic social group'.

2) I really don't see how his story stem tests have anything to do with anything except basic pattern recognition. Basically, this study might as well be a bunch of people watching Friday the 13th movies, and researchers being shocked that after a few sequels, most of the audience figured out that Jason was going to hurt the slutty teenage girl.

*shrugs* Then the paper would be "Horror films turn viewers into sociopathic misogynists"... You can't lose when you pull shit out of your arse and call it 'Science!'

I plan for my first major study to be based on how many people, for how long a time, will let me throw tennis balls at their heads before they get fed up and leave. The first paper from the study will be 'Idiotic Crap You Can Get Away With In The Name of Science'... eventually I hope to gain repuation enough to get grants to torment monkeys in the name of science under the guise of 'primate behaviour analysis', working on the hypothesis that if a research assistant pokes a large monkey with a stick for a sustained period, the monkey will become enraged and attack the assistant.

3) Whats the baseline? increased aggression may seem all scary, but how does that aggression compare to, say, after watching a violent movie. Or after watching a football game (You can define that however you want, still works). or after a beer or 2. or after a spirited debate. Or after sex. Or after a whole world of human experiences. Aggression levels may be elevated, but it could be raised to a random and insignificant blip on the scale of human experiences.

Yeah, this is a big problem... without a baseline and comparisons taken from other activities you can't really say as to the scale of any result.

And as already mentioned up-thread, there's no control group... How are we to know that it's 'violent' games having an 'aggressive' effect and not 'non-violent' games having a pacifying effect?

4) Lets not even go into participant bias. You know just maybe, the participants who were in a lab and given a violent game to play figured out that maybe the researchers were looking for violent reactions. Oh, and who was the sampled population? You know most preliminary research that gets done should have tacked on to the title, "...among college aged Psych 101 students. Who needed extra credit."

They're rarely quite that honest. :P

Basically, the research itself may be useful as a start, but it is highly unlikely that it is actually saying anything that the average reader, or possibly even the researchers, think its saying. This paper may say a decent amount, but it doesn't say much about games having a negative effect on peoples behaviors here in the real world.

It especially doesn't say anything about cumulative long term effects unless you commint unnatural acts on the English language with regards to the defintions of 'cumulative' and 'long term'.

Andy Chalk:
The students were assigned to play either violent games - Call of Duty 4, Condemned 2 and The Club - or non-violent ones - S3K Superbike, Dirt 2 and Pure - once per day, for 20 minutes at a time. At the end of each session, they were given the beginning of a story and asked to list 20 things the lead character would say or do in it. The students who played violent games were more likely to think that the character would behave aggressively or violently, a belief that grew stronger with each passing day; those in the non-violent pool did not show any increased expectations of hostility.

I would be interested to see if the control group (playing racing games) thought the lead character would commit traffic offences (speed off on their dirt bike).

Then we might be able to draw a correleation between people's recent activities and lack of creativity...

Been playing violent video games since I was was 7 at least 3 hours a day. I'm 23 now and haven't been in so much as a fist fight and I hate arguing. So doc explain that one.

It doesn't even properly proof that games cause aggression, just an increase in aggressive association, which imo is obvious. They have JUST played a game with violence. Hmm I wonder what is on the tip of their minds? But hey, one needs a good headline for the press release for another shitty research. Next time the ball will drop on the other side and they'll try to positively claim that gaming makes you awesome. How about they make a hypotheses and try to falsify it for once, like a proper scientist...

As long as nobody pays attention to the madman that only tested videogames and not books, comics, TV series, movies, NEWSPAPERS or anything of the sort. BECAUSE VIDYAGAYMES ARE TEH EVILZ.

There is a hilarious amount of goal post moving going on in this thread!

Andy Chalk:

The research looked at 70 French university students who were told they were participating in a study on the effects of videogame brightness. The students were assigned to play either violent games - Call of Duty 4, Condemned 2 and The Club - or non-violent ones - S3K Superbike, Dirt 2 and Pure - once per day, for 20 minutes at a time.

I'm noticing that most of these games have a thing in common with each other is that almost all of them (if not all of them) have multiplayer-modes or just have a competitive aspect of some sort.
This isn't convincing me that violent games inherently make people more aggressive, if anything it only further strengthens the fact that competition can piss people off.

Because really, it isn't a matter of replacing all the blood in CoD with confetti or turning the explosions into bursts of bubbles (now I'm thinking of TF2's Pyrovision-mode, which might be an example that further strengthens my standpoint now that I think about it), there's an equally big potential for people to become just as pissed off by playing Mario Kart all by themselves as there is from playing the multiplayer in any other "violent" game that have competitive aspects to them.

I'd also like to point out that from the six games (a very little amount) that they played, all of the "non-violent" games are racing games, and all of the "violent" ones could more or less be classified as shooters (Condemned 2 less so, but I know that there's guns in that game) so their research is already lacking in variety.

The students who played violent games were more likely to think that the character would behave aggressively or violently, a belief that grew stronger with each passing day;

What the hell does this have to do with the players themselves getting more aggressive? Do they somehow think that people are going to start behaving like them? Because I'd sure like to see someone take ten bullets to the face and just walk away like nothing happened.

I'd also like to point out that:

"However, there is no theoretical reason to think that aggression would decrease over time, as long as players are still playing the violent games."

...I'm getting the feeling that they're using this "research" to generalize all violent games, which is a surefire-way of getting someone to call "Bullshit" on you.

It's a bit aggravating, really. For a moment this seemed like this research could have had some ground to stand on, but instead gets knocked down again by the lack of genres they use in the research (because shooters aren't the only violent games, y'know), the failure to acknowledge the competitive aspects, the somewhat irrelevant stuff and my suspicion of them being biased with the low amount of games used in the research and the following generalization.

sethisjimmy:
Not only does this study not prove that violent video games make people commit more violence, but it also does not prove that violent video games even make people more aggressive. Unless you consider writing violent stories correlates into you being an aggressive person, which I think is silly.

Actually, the study does show that people playing violent videogames will have more negative and violent thoughts. I need someone to find me the critical miss comic that essentially covers everyone's reaction to this kind of study.

"games can be bad" - "I CALL BULLSHIT"
"games give you wings and make you grow fistbeards" - "It must be true"

People also keep missing the point that you don't have to be violent to play games, games don't necessarily make you violent, and you don't have to play games to be violent. Everyone seems to think that the test is trying to prove that games are evil and anyone who does play games should be purged in hell. The test is merely trying to prove that playing violent games can make people breed more violent thoughts. It did prove that.

On the other hand, I think it's more of a case of stress. The violent games are generally competitive and usually have more rage inducing elements involved (mostly cases of surprise deaths). The less violent games are generally more relaxing to play. I think it's common knowledge that someone who's stressed is going to have more negative thoughts than someone who has been relaxed for the last hour.

Wow. Seventy people for three days? Seriously? That's what constitutes academic research into the potential long-term effects of violence in gaming? The negative outcome of the research being 'unpleasant' noises and an increase in the belief that violence in any given situation is a societal norm.

It would be interesting to see what recommendations the research team would put forward as a result of their research. Would they ban all 80's cheesy action films? Age-gate all sports where sounds made by athletes were 'unpleasant'?

Alternatively do people who read Harry Potter for twenty minutes a day for three days expect there to be more magic in the world? Are those people who are exposed to a Firefly episode every day for three days begin wearing ugly brown coats and offensively mis-pronounce common expletives?

I'll tell you what makes me angry and borderline violent:

Professors who should know better than to do short-term, small-scale studies and talk about their findings with import.

Not only is the cross-section statistically insignificant if this were a pre-cursor to a much larger inclusive study the resulting report would have this study tagged as a 'preliminary trial'. Probably with no data because it would academically embarrassing to throw any significant resources at any subject based upon such a small number of people over such a small amount of time. There isn't even any talk of a baseline comparison. Where are the results for the three days where no-one played games? That would at least determine how pre-disposed to violence the subjects were before the study started.

It literally isn't rocket science. Establish a long-term predictable baseline. Begin study by controlling external stimuli. Note differences in action and reaction from baseline. Interpret data. If trying to broadly and sweepingly boil down research to the words 'good' or 'bad' make sure subject selection is across age, culture and gender gamut.

Rant over....until the next time....

Jesus, people get really angsty when someone suggests that maybe vidja games might be negative.
I don't believe the study either, but really, guys, chill.

The real irony here is that the comments about the article support and confirm the conclusions in the article, specifically about long-term "exposure". I find that rather fascinating. I can just imagine this Ohio State professor looking at the various gaming culture websites' public reactions as a secondary phase of this study.

The question becomes: is it exposure to the games, or the internet itself that causes such reactions? I shall continue my independent research. Thank you all for participating.

70 students in two groups? That means 35 per group. That's an extremely limited sample size; 30 is the absolute bare minimum to even use any form of significance calculations. And it's carefully selected and extremely biased on age, education level, and only from a single country?

That study is useless. You can't use a biased sample of such a tiny size to measure something like that.

Then again, Bushman has been involved in bullshit research before. Like a study with a sample size of only 53 in total, meaning an inadequate number of 26 each group which concluded that.... praying works. Bushman claimed praying helpled people copy with feelings like depression. Yeah right Bushman, except what you're measuring is the effect of taking a calm moment, focussing your mind and thinking of something else, and not the effect of prayer. Any activity which makes you do the same psychological proces would yield that result.

How a supposed professor could possibly screw up by labeling the wrong factor as the source of a causal link is beyond me, it's first year's stuff.

image

With that said, I'm not gonna deny this study just because it is uncomfortable to hear.

Is it really because the specific games in the study were violent games, or because they were just games that use The Computer is a Cheating Bastard mechanics?

Those games are pretty much guaranteed to create an increase in my homicidal tendencies, regardless of the actual genre of game.

I'd be interested in the aggression of the violent game players after another three days of not playing. The article doesn't say they tested that.

I hate to be that guy, but...

Could they do a study with the same number of people regarding fundamentalist religions? I'd like to see the benchmark comparisons, that's all.

I am a firm believer that if violent people ARE playing these games then at least they are being violent to digital people and not their neighbor or someone they happen to pass on the street.

Olrod:
Is it really because the specific games in the study were violent games, or because they were just games that use The Computer is a Cheating Bastard mechanics?

Those games are pretty much guaranteed to create an increase in my homicidal tendencies, regardless of the actual genre of game.

you asshole You linked to tv tropes have you no soul Its like rick rolling but your trapped all day
-just teasing-

The study looks dodgy the sample size seems to small

jollybarracuda:
Seems like pretty valid research. I guess the big issue though has never been "do games make people aggressive" but "do video games make people violent", two very different things, the latter of which is a lot harder to test because of human ethic laws and such silliness (kidding, of course).

But a lot of this research does seem to be pointing to the possibility that someone with pre-existing violent behaviors could, theoretically, become more prone to releasing that violence on people, with an increase in aggression caused by violent video games. Should be interesting to see where this research leads in a few years, and if we'll ever actually see a noticeable decline in violent games in the future.

Yeah in a nutshell. Yeah games can make us aggressive, but they don't make us KILL people.

There are more holes in this so-called research than there were in the first ME3 ending.

Yeah sorry this isn't a serious piece of research, I read 20 minutes and just stopped bothering. 20 minutes is not going to effect shit, and having them write a little story after playing a blood pumping game is pretty much dumb logic anyway, they're going to be more pent up because, y'know, stimuli. Come on science, you used to be cool.

CommanderL:

Olrod:
Is it really because the specific games in the study were violent games, or because they were just games that use The Computer is a Cheating Bastard mechanics?

Those games are pretty much guaranteed to create an increase in my homicidal tendencies, regardless of the actual genre of game.

you asshole You linked to tv tropes have you no soul Its like rick rolling but your trapped all day
-just teasing-

The study looks dodgy the sample size seems to small

I know, I fell into my own trap. I just spent two hours on there after making that comment...

Not this again...

Seriously? We are still discussing this?

BTW, I get a lot more angry, stressed and frustrated when playing DiRT 2, compared to MW4. The game is HARD and I hate it every time I crash (or when the stupid AI crashes into me...), whereas MW4 is linear, straight forward and much more predictable (hence less stressful).

Now forgive me, but I need to stop typing and go clean my butcher knife from all the human blood it has. You see, I've played violent video games for over two decades now (Wolfenstein 3D, the original one, included), so I tend to be violent with other people...

It does seem obvious that somebody who has been playing violent games, or exposing themselves to any sort of violent media, is more likely to think about violent things. Equally if you read fifty shades of grey maybe you'd pick some kinky things to happen in the story. The blast of noise stuff sounds pretty interesting though. I wonder if frustration with games mechanics might be more to do with it. I mean comparing COD4 to a racing game like Dirt, 3 shots and your dead is pretty frustrating whereas in a racing game you always have a chance to catch up.

I'm definitely thinking about this with a defensive mindset but there must be some better way to measure this sort of thing.

Well, that certainly explains all the dead hookers I keep finding in my house.

CommanderL:

Olrod:
Is it really because the specific games in the study were violent games, or because they were just games that use The Computer is a Cheating Bastard mechanics?

Those games are pretty much guaranteed to create an increase in my homicidal tendencies, regardless of the actual genre of game.

you asshole You linked to tv tropes have you no soul Its like rick rolling but your trapped all day
-just teasing-

The study looks dodgy the sample size seems to small

As somebody doing a study this year involving participants, YOU try finding a bigger sample size. It is bloody hard to recruit people. It's not like other subjects where you can just do more. You have to get your study past the university ethics board, you need to find recruits, you need to make sure it's clear that it is totally fine for them to drop out of the study at any time if they want... It's a major hassle.

Hmm i have a couple of hundred hours on Skyrim and New Vegas, guess that means im gonna go on a shooting rampage now because i cant hold down the aggressive psychopathic monster that has built its self into existance because i play violent video games...

Seems like common sense. If you watch a dark and depressing movie your state of mind is going to be dark and depressive afterwards. If you watch a warm and fuzzy movie you will feel warm and fuzzy. If violent video games is all you have to stimulate your mind and affect your thoughts than obviously that's not healthy.

Thing is most normal people know they've had enough when they've had enough. You can feel it when your craving for certain emotions has been satisfied.

Oh look another study that wanted to prove a point so they did research to prove that only. Did they compare the results of playing games against reading a violent book for the same time every day, or watching a violent movie, or having a angry conversation, or going through traffic with idiots all around you? NOPE! Why those results might show the same thing... That people who have ANY interaction that creates adrenaline and is not all warm and fuzzy will make you interact with your world different. ANYTHING that has any effect on you, elevated blood pressure or heart rate, will at least for a period of time change how you interact with the world around you.

Want to stop people from being violent? Put everyone in sensory deprivation tanks and lock all of us in. Or go waste time on something else and leave the damn gamers alone.

All this study wants to do is say that "oh well you are a bad person? Video games did that to you it is not your fault... You are not to blame..." Guess what dude you do something dumb? It is your fault. Get over it.

Tanis:
All I'm saying is...

Hilter, Stalin, Mao, Khan...

None of THEM ever played a video game.

That's a pretty stupid argument. Things other than video games can make people aggressive, thus games are harmless? ...?

I've been playing violent games since I was 4, starting with Unreal Tournament. Now it's things like... *looks at steam game list* TF2, L4D(2), Saints row the third, UT3, Dawn of War, Vindictus, Skyrim... Am I aggressive? No, quite the opposite, actually. If someone acts aggressively towards me, I'm not gonna "get all up in his face." I'm gonna talk to him, like an intelligent person. Granted, I have a care-bear of a mother, so maybe that could've offset things, but regardless. The brain tends to hold on to things it just experienced for a bit. So if you ask someone who just played something "violent" to come up with a scenario to a story, then it wouldn't surprise me at all if what they come up with is also violent.

I'll be honest, I don't have much of an imagination! When I think up imaginary scenarios, it's mostly just constructed from bits of games I've played in the past. Maybe not the scenarios themselves, but things like locations and characters will look VERY similar to certain games, ijs. You want me to come up with something from scratch? Give me a blank page and a metric fuckton of time.

I've played violent video games for 20 years.

Haven't killed anyone yet.

Well, let's take a look at that supposedly peer-reviewed scientific journal that they published their results in: the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology....

http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-experimental-social-psychology/

Wow. Look at that Impact Factor: 2.3 for this year.

Terrible, half-assed research gets published in a terrible, half-assed journal. That's how things are and how they should be in science.... but sadly, I just know it's going to be added to be personal arsenal of any prejudiced trial lawyer looking to become infamous a videogame-related case.

I did a paper on this and I keep going back to a quote that I frequently use, "IF VIDEO GAMES MADE PEOPLE VIOLENT, THEN JAPAN WOULD BE IN CHAOS." Besides this isn't even long term. Get me the research team that spend years on this and have them give their results.

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