President Obama Asks for Research Into Game Violence

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It disappoints me that anyone on this site would be opposed to a fair and in-depth study of our hobby and passion. Why? The only reason you have to be against this is if you believe, deep down, that the naysayers have a point. I don't. I know that the games I play don't make me violent, because I'm not a violent person at all, I abhor violence and the only times I've ever employed it was in self-defense.

I welcome with open arms a study into violent games, as I would welcome further studies on pretty much any subject. Knowing more about anything is never a bad thing. Ignorance on the other hand, especially willful ignorance, is inexcusable.

Cade Aponte:
Science has repeatedly shown that video games do not contribute in any non-trivial way to real violence. This shouldn't worry any gamer.

Science has a habit of being twisted or ignored when politics are involved. Piltdown comes to mind.

Yellowbeard:

EGtodd09:
Assault rifles ban should be completely unquestioned, assault rifles were designed as an ultimate all purpose killing machine and citizens (or police really) shouldn't have access to them. The video game violence research will definitely be unbiased because they don't have an agenda, they don't want either outcome (proving or disproving a link) they only want look into it. Don't know about those universal background checks though...

On the contrary, an "assault" rifle ban is the most questionable part. If it were focused on things like magazine capacity and rate of fire it would make sense, but the definition of what is or isn't an "assault rifle/weapon" always ends up being a box-ticking exercise of irrelevant details like bayonet lugs (is there a bayonetting problem that needs to be addressed?), flash hiders (are mass-murderers going to be deterred or stopped by impairing their night vision) and pistol grips (??).

The result is to waste everyone's time and money fucking with people who own rifles that look scary or have military pedigree, but ignore countless other weapons with almost identical capabilities.

Oh you're actually quite right. Did a quick google and found that there is a difference between "assault rifles" and "assault weapons" - assault rifles being the all purpose killing machines and assault weapons being a political term based those arbitrary things you mentioned like bayonet lugs. Jesus, America - y u so silly?

Fun Fact: Any federal scientific research that contradicts the administration's viewpoints is able to be censored by the government. Examples?

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Scientists-claim-censorship-by-federal-agency-185955052.html
http://environment.about.com/od/environmentallawpolicy/a/censorship_clim.htm

If someone on either side of the political spectrum pushes for research into violent gaming for their (lobby's) own benefit, you can bet there will be a bias.

So Obama thinks that research in game violence, which so far to any aty least a bit consistent research proven to have no corelation will remove gun violence how?

JonB:
"I will direct the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce [gun violence].

wait, so your treating gun violence as a disease? because otherwise CDC has nothing to do here.

"We don't benefit from ignorance. We don't benefit from not knowing the science on this epidemic of violence."

oh, so he is treating it as a disease. touche, mr. president, touche.

And yet, somehow, Obama still manages to make me a fan. Is this like the euphoria Hitler induced to the crowd or what? \
Then again, i may just be comparing it to the alternative, which is far far worse.

[1 Year Later and after 500 million dollars of invested research] We have finally figured out that the most efficient way to reduce gun violence is.....no more late night TV dinners.

Ticonderoga117:
Why are we even researching this? I've been playing violent video games and watching violent movies since I was 5. 17 years later after being exposed to the same, I haven't committed one violent crime. Period. I am also not desensitized to violence, or at least dead people. One time my summer job involved going to the Medical Examiner's and they had a dead guy out for an autopsy. I felt sick and I most defiantly did not want to be anywhere near that.

Now, to expand from the personal story. How many people buy violent video games? A lot. How many tragic shootings are there? Not nearly as many.

If you're actually interested in a serious answer, then I'll gladly try to field it for you.

First off, you appear to be offering anecdotal evidence against a claim that "playing violent video games causes people to become violent". No reasonable person is making that claim, though, or believes that playing video games will suddenly transform you into a murderer, and everyone can safely ignore such unscientific, ungrounded claims.

The actual questions are more like "can/do violent video games (or other violent media) contribute to actual violence (and, if so, how/why/when)?" That's a big question and appropriately complex for the issue. If graphic, fictional violence does actual harm, it's not going to be because a psychologically healthy man or woman played a modern shooter and decided to start murdering people. That's not even a potential issue. There is a very real possibility that exposure to or interaction with violent games PLUS several (many?) other factors (e.g., age, sex, hormones, overall mental health/specific psychiatric issues, developmental stage, family and social environment, etc.) may be harmful or, in some way, contribute to the development of someone who may end up being violent.

There's already a fair bit of research and case studies that suggest that one's experiences during various developmental stages can have a pretty profound impact on that person's life/behavior as an adult. We're not simple creatures and we are still a long way from understanding how our own brains work and why some people end up doing horrible things. This is something worth trying to understand.

there are much bigger worries than restricting what people can buy to use and defend themselves with and researching a non-issue.

A few final things:

1) There are always bigger worries. That's not a valid excuse for ignoring current issues, concerns, or worries. Just because we will all die and the human race may never survive beyond the Earth (and even if it does, you and I will be long dead by then) does not mean that you don't wake up in the morning or read news on the internet or talk to anyone or eat ever again. (...sorry if that's kind of grim.)

2) "what people can buy and use and defend themselves with" has always been restricted and should always be restricted (at least in a society governed by law/reason, rather than psychopaths bent on self-destruction). For American civilian self-defense, no one needs access to nuclear weapons, chemical/biological weapons, explosives/weapons that propel explosives, sniper rifles, machine guns, or assault rifles. You're welcome to think otherwise--I can't stop you from being wrong.

3) "researching a non-issue" -- I realize that this bit may simply be related to the premise you seemed to be coming in with, but it's worth repeating that (especially for the real question--see above) we don't know if something's a non-issue without actual research. That's how science works. It's slow and can seem tedious, but it's the best tool we've got for understanding the world and reality.

ooh, boy, here we go.

it's already been researched to death and from the studies that were actually trustworthy and not from some group who likes to demonize games, results show that there is no way that violent video games contribute to violence.

I think Obama's a bit behind on the subject, no offense.

Well the obvious evidence is that games are vastly more widespread than 10 years ago, and crime rates are much lower now. Note that i don't know about the US, maybe they're a bunch of crazies, but in the UK there's definitely not been anything but a decrease in crime.

Falsename:
That Call of Duty game where you gun down civilians.... Rate it R18. The only reason they didn't was because the younger generation was the target audience.

snip

And would harsher rating on video games really be a bad thing? I know that when I finally have kids (some fifteen years from now :P..... that makes me 20!) I don't want my children playing a game where they stick their thumb into a victim's bullet hole (Far Cry 3) or watch a man's eye be pulled out with a corkscrew (Call of Duty) or place glass in a man's mouth and punch him (Call of Duty Again).

Actually, the reason publishers are so afraid of their games being rated AO (the US equivalent of R18) is because all major retailers here (and Steam IIRC) refuse to carry AO games. If the next CoD game, for instance, was rated AO, the only way they could sell it in the US would be over the internet, which would drastically reduce sales and increase the publisher's workload on the sales they DID get.

AldUK:
It disappoints me that anyone on this site would be opposed to a fair and in-depth study of our hobby and passion. Why? The only reason you have to be against this is if you believe, deep down, that the naysayers have a point. I don't. I know that the games I play don't make me violent, because I'm not a violent person at all, I abhor violence and the only times I've ever employed it was in self-defense.

I welcome with open arms a study into violent games, as I would welcome further studies on pretty much any subject. Knowing more about anything is never a bad thing. Ignorance on the other hand, especially willful ignorance, is inexcusable.

Well said. I hope people listen to you.

Isn't it funny that in another thread so many people proudly proclaimed that what made science great (for many people, the implication was "what makes science better than a religion") was that science doesn't take things on faith. It encourages the repetition of experiments to confirm findings. In science you're allowed to investigate anything- nothing is beyond curiosity, especially not matters of dogma.

Now, once again, so many Escapists are lashing out about science being used to investigate something they like. "Wait, no, we already had some experiments that told us what we want to believe is true. Now you're never allowed to look at it again!"

I can only conclude that either: A) Many Escapists don't actually like science as much as they say, they just like bashing religions, or B) for many Escapists, video games are their religion.

Kudos to AldUK and the other Escapists who understand what science is, and are unafraid of learning more about the world we've created for ourselves. Maybe if enough of us start talking, we can convince the board that science is about more than winning Internet arguments for your tribe. It's about learning.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." - Isaac Asimov

True ignorance doesn't benefit anyone (great comment btw) the amount of people who play violent video games these days is so big that next they might want to look at if drinking soft drinks or eating certain types of foods effects your mental state, the sheer volume of people who play these games and don't have anything wrong with them speaks for itself.

If they do conduct studies I just hope they are professional and unbiased in their approach.

Agow95:
You know what? I'm kinda glad this is happening, because we all know that games do not cause violence, and this can be an official report to tell the ignorant why they are wrong.

I agree. There have been plenty of studies that show no link between playing violent video games and the player then going out and being violent due to playing the game, but I'm getting the sense that the direction the study is going to take is more of a "does taking part in the simulated act of shooting and killing sort of real-ish people from a first person perspective over long periods of time decrease your sensitivity to thinking about it happening in the real world", and I would genuinely like to know if this is the case or not.

I don't think this is going to be one of those studies focused on video games being the cause of the massacre (and to Biden's credit, this has never even been suggested), so we might get some useful data out of this (for once). Any rational person knows that the sole cause for these shootings is not video games, but perhaps in certain types of brains it could be a contributing factor, however small - if this is the case, then it's important that we know about it.

Oh, and just for the record, I am massively biased towards video games, what with making them for a living and all, so I'm trying to be as down the middle as I can on this issue! :-)

Cade Aponte:
Science has repeatedly shown that video games do not contribute in any non-trivial way to real violence. This shouldn't worry any gamer.

Except for the fact that the government is now officially supporting research into it, which means it goes from being legitimate research into "how can we best take the results and skewer them into getting us the most money".

I do not trust the government.

Wow this is funny, this dumb american tries to use video games as an excuse on their countries gun violence. It's your pathetic gun control regulations, americans.

I say go for it (though admittedly I'm not an American taxpayer so it's not my money that's being spent on this). The absolute worst way to react to this would be to stand in front of the video games like an overprotective parent and yell, "Stop looking at them! Stop it! Look over there, look at gun control instead! That's the real problem!"

Because that's exactly what the NRA did, except in reverse.

I agree that the existing studies that have been done are all a bit crap. A lot of them only measure short-term aggression (i.e. how aggressive people are immediately after playing video games), which is completely useless because there are a million and one everyday things that can increase aggression in the short term, from dropping a plate to getting stuck in rush hour traffic. The measures of "aggression" have also been very wobbly, and measuring things like "desensitisation to violence" is useless because it assumes that people who become desensitised to violence will become violent as a result of that.

So yes. Put $10 million into a highly-scrutinised study by an impartial team of scientists. Let them prove, as best as possible, that there's no causal link between video games and violent crime. Of course, Jack Thompson and the rest of the extremist anti-game parade won't listen, but if it shuts just a few people up then it's worth doing.

I really don't mind, as long as they keep it fair and objective. They'll turn up perhaps not empty-handed, but at least knowing that it's not a big deal, no more than movies or anything similar.
.......IF they keep it objective. I somehow picture massive plebs like Alex Jones spearheading something like this.

EDIT:

boots:
I say go for it (though admittedly I'm not an American taxpayer so it's not my money that's being spent on this).

I second this though. My opinion is probably less valid because of this.

JonB:

President Obama said "I will direct the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce [gun violence]."

Lol whut?

I may be missing context as to what the CDC does (being a dirty Brit and all), but are they actually treating mental illness as a disease?

I think that a better way to discover if videogames cause violence is to hand out free guns to anyone who has over 10,000 logged hours playing games and see if they use it for good or evil.

my guess is that they'll just sell the guns to actual crazy people for mann co keys.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Assault weapons ban? Fucking finally....

Fappy:
I really wish our elected officials didn't throw our money around like this -_-

Into funding actual research into the psychological effects of violent videogames, without resorting to hysterical bullshit and preconceived biases? This to me sounds like Obama and Biden are keeping as open a mind as it is possible to in the current situation, and for that at least, they should be applauded. If this were the Republicans in charge, they wouldn't even have bothered with research, they'd have just gone straight into the blame game.

Yeah Democrats never just jump in to the fray and start blaming games.
*cough* Hillary *cough*

AldUK:
It disappoints me that anyone on this site would be opposed to a fair and in-depth study of our hobby and passion. Why? The only reason you have to be against this is if you believe, deep down, that the naysayers have a point. I don't. I know that the games I play don't make me violent, because I'm not a violent person at all, I abhor violence and the only times I've ever employed it was in self-defense.

I welcome with open arms a study into violent games, as I would welcome further studies on pretty much any subject. Knowing more about anything is never a bad thing. Ignorance on the other hand, especially willful ignorance, is inexcusable.

I think its more a concern as to how people will react to it. "Congress is studying the effects of violent videogames. Therefore, our government believes video games are a cause of violence."

Or, if a faulty study comes out by the government that states video games cause violence. Regardless of whether or not it is true, such a study would be damaging to the industry.

Johnson McGee:
Funny how you can't criticize gun companies, auto makers, oil companies, etc. in American politics because ermagerd jerbs, but video game studios are fair game (unintentional pun).

OT: One needs only look at crime statistics to see an upsurge in violent video game sales hasn't materialized into a massive crimewave in America or any other country. Studies are fine but to review the same thing over and over until you get the result you expect is bad science and a waste of money.

To be fair, you can say the same thing about guns, as gun ownership has gone up just like video games over the past few decades despite decreasing crime, as well.

I'm with you, though, it's a waste of money and very clearly done for political reasons to win over parents/the uneducated.

Katatori-kun:

AldUK:
It disappoints me that anyone on this site would be opposed to a fair and in-depth study of our hobby and passion. Why? The only reason you have to be against this is if you believe, deep down, that the naysayers have a point. I don't. I know that the games I play don't make me violent, because I'm not a violent person at all, I abhor violence and the only times I've ever employed it was in self-defense.

I welcome with open arms a study into violent games, as I would welcome further studies on pretty much any subject. Knowing more about anything is never a bad thing. Ignorance on the other hand, especially willful ignorance, is inexcusable.

Well said. I hope people listen to you.

Isn't it funny that in another thread so many people proudly proclaimed that what made science great (for many people, the implication was "what makes science better than a religion") was that science doesn't take things on faith. It encourages the repetition of experiments to confirm findings. In science you're allowed to investigate anything- nothing is beyond curiosity, especially not matters of dogma.

Now, once again, so many Escapists are lashing out about science being used to investigate something they like. "Wait, no, we already had some experiments that told us what we want to believe is true. Now you're never allowed to look at it again!"

I can only conclude that either: A) Many Escapists don't actually like science as much as they say, they just like bashing religions, or B) for many Escapists, video games are their religion.

Kudos to AldUK and the other Escapists who understand what science is, and are unafraid of learning more about the world we've created for ourselves. Maybe if enough of us start talking, we can convince the board that science is about more than winning Internet arguments for your tribe. It's about learning.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." - Isaac Asimov

Nice strawman there. The reason people are opposed to this is because it is very clearly political in nature, unlike, well, actual science. Like the "studies" from the first half of the 1900s that were used to change public opinion against marijuana in order to make it illegal, based on obviously bullshit psuedo-science, there's a very real chance of a similar thing happening here. A very real chance of, regardless of what psychologists actually discover or not discover, Congress and/or the President warping (or outright lying about) those statistics to skew public opinion, or to otherwise mislead the public, in order to push an agenda. As they have numerous times before. Edit: Don't forget evolution, global warming, etc, as well.

You...don't actually know very much about the United States federal government, and how corrupt/self-serving/power hungry they are, do you?

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