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Do Videogames Really Cause Violent Behavior?

| 3 Nov 2009 19:58
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Videogames are often the scapegoat for any adolescent violence that makes it onto the evening news. However, are these "murder simulators" truly the reason behind teenage violence?

Videogames have often been linked to teenage violence - especially in cases of Columbine or other senseless, adolescent shootings. Various activist groups have claimed a correlation between violent videogames and the rise of violence amongst adolescents, but does correlation imply causation? In Issue 153 of The Escapist, Michael A. Mohammed examines recent studies of videogames and violence and draws his own conclusions.

To establish causation, researchers must rule out these "other factors" by performing a lab experiment. For example, Anderson ran an experiment in 2000 that had college students play a violent game (Wolfenstein 3D) or a nonviolent game (Myst). Then each subject played a game in which they could punish a student in another room with a blast of noise - though the game was rigged and the other student did not exist. The subjects who had played Wolfenstein chose longer blasts of noise than those who played Myst.

Was this study a positive finding of videogames causing a quick and sudden rise in violence? Read more in "Monkey Play, Monkey Do" to find out, and share your own opinions on the matter with us.

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