Study Shows Violent Video Game Effects Linger In Brain

mrhnau

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And I would find it hard to believe that the development and use of these things hasn't had a collective effect on our psyche. One has to wonder if these games would be so popular if push-button death weren't so chic.

I'm not quite so sure... stick your average 14 year old in a foxhole. Give him a gun and real bullets flying over his head and a friend that is in the adjacent foxhole dying. I don't think he is likely going to think its fun. More likely going to be peeing his pants.
 

Makalakumu

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I'm not quite so sure... stick your average 14 year old in a foxhole. Give him a gun and real bullets flying over his head and a friend that is in the adjacent foxhole dying. I don't think he is likely going to think its fun. More likely going to be peeing his pants.

Most definitely. However, more warfare then ever before takes place at long distances...at the push of buttons.
 

CoryKS

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And I would find it hard to believe that the development and use of these things hasn't had a collective effect on our psyche. One has to wonder if these games would be so popular if push-button death weren't so chic.

The controversy with FPS games is that people suspect that violent video games tend to make people more prone to violence. What you seem to be saying here is that violent video games are popular as a result of historical violence, which is a reversal of the complaint. I think your statement is more likely true than the claim that violent games make violent people, but I think this thread has become confusing. It seems to have taken this circuit:

- Video games are more violent. People are more violent. Therefore, violent video games have made people violent.

- In supporting the claim that people are more violent, references are made to military campaigns dating back to the first half of the century.

- When it's pointed out that video games hadn't been invented yet, it's suggested that historical events have made violence more palatable, paving the way for violent video games.

It's like this weird Moebius strip of cause and effect that I can't get my mind around.
 

Grenadier

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Video games really don't have a significant effect on violence. Kids who play video games, and then go out to commit crimes, would have done so anyways, without having played such games. Some people are simply bad people, and it doesn't matter if all you gave them to play was a "Barbie's Doll House" CD-ROM. Something else would have triggered their behavior one way or the other.

Violent content or not, you really can't blame the video games. People make conscious thoughts, and choose their own actions, and thus must be held responsible for their own actions, instead of passing the buck onto someone else.

On a side note:

In 1993, I remember the US Senate panel blasting away at the execs from Sega and Nintendo, criticizing them for pushing games such as "Street Fighter II" and "Mortal Kombat." I never knew who Joe Lieberman really was, until I heard his shuddering voice lambasting the execs. I also never knew about Herb Kohl until his rampage against the video games manufacturers.

I also remember Howard Lincoln, the CEO of Nintendo, bragging to the panel, of how Nintendo (at the time) forbade the display of blood in their video games, and how he was accusingly pointing fingers at the Sega folks for allowing blood. He then started boasting about how Nintendo promotes "wholesome, family-oriented" values in their games.

The Sega rep then started saying "let's look at the differences between the Nintendo and Sega versions of Street Fighter II, and you won't really see any." Of course, when the Sega version was being displayed, it had Ken and Ryu duking it out. When the Sega folks showed the Nintendo version being played, it wasn't surprising to me that they selected the evil-looking Blanka biting down on the slender woman, Chun Li.

None of this impressed Joe Lieberman, who accused both of them of promoting more violence, regardless of company policies. I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or be angry at him...
 

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I'm sorry, but I just found this statement mind-numbingly hilarious.


I'm very sorry that you feel that way:
  • Since 1995 murder rates in all but 4 states have gone up, the average is increase is 2 additional murders per 100,00 people.
  • Ask the folks in Littleton, Co; Springfield, OR; West Paducha, KY; Jonesboro, AK; Columbine, CO and over the families affected by 35 other deadly school attacks since 1975.
  • At least 53% of student polled in "Class of 2000" study felt that a school shooting would occur in their school. 22% of those same students knew someone who brought a gun to school regularly.
  • Schools in metropolitan areas have had to resort to using metal detectors to prevent an influx of knives, razors and guns into public schools.
  • Mass murders ala genocide occuring in Dakar, the Sudan, Iraq with hundreds and hundreds of thousand of innocent people murdered.
  • Terror attacks in Palistine, Isreal, France, Pakistan, Indonesia, Spain just to name a few.
  • Attacks with the intent of mass murder in schools have not only occurred in the US but in Germany, Canada, Japan, Australia, Russia, the UK, France, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Rwanda and many more countries.
 

FearlessFreep

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I admit that one way that video games have affected me is the sometimes I have to remind myself that life doesn't give 'do-overs'. I can't just save the game and try again if I make the wrong decision
 

heretic888

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I'm very sorry that you feel that way:
  • Since 1995 murder rates in all but 4 states have gone up, the average is increase is 2 additional murders per 100,00 people.
  • Ask the folks in Littleton, Co; Springfield, OR; West Paducha, KY; Jonesboro, AK; Columbine, CO and over the families affected by 35 other deadly school attacks since 1975.
  • At least 53% of student polled in "Class of 2000" study felt that a school shooting would occur in their school. 22% of those same students knew someone who brought a gun to school regularly.
  • Schools in metropolitan areas have had to resort to using metal detectors to prevent an influx of knives, razors and guns into public schools.
  • Mass murders ala genocide occuring in Dakar, the Sudan, Iraq with hundreds and hundreds of thousand of innocent people murdered.
  • Terror attacks in Palistine, Isreal, France, Pakistan, Indonesia, Spain just to name a few.
  • Attacks with the intent of mass murder in schools have not only occurred in the US but in Germany, Canada, Japan, Australia, Russia, the UK, France, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Rwanda and many more countries.

Yeah, I don't dispute any of that.

But, guess what?? It's still better off than the Dark Ages, where the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Black Plague were everyday realities. It's also better off than prehistory, where intermittent tribal wars, human slavery, and human sacrifice were also daily occurences.

A little historical perspective, if you will.
 

Makalakumu

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But, guess what?? It's still better off than the Dark Ages, where the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Black Plague were everyday realities. It's also better off than prehistory, where intermittent tribal wars, human slavery, and human sacrifice were also daily occurences.

Need I remind you that almost a million people died at the Somme. We have weapons that could kill a hundred million people at the push of a button.

Sure, we are better off in many ways but I think we also need to put some of the ways in which we are not into perspective.

And, subsequently, now that I think about it, it makes sense that FPS games would become so popular in a culture that was rooted in the level of violence that we have endured in the twentieth century...
 

heretic888

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Need I remind you that almost a million people died at the Somme. We have weapons that could kill a hundred million people at the push of a button.

Sure, we are better off in many ways but I think we also need to put some of the ways in which we are not into perspective.

And, subsequently, now that I think about it, it makes sense that FPS games would become so popular in a culture that was rooted in the level of violence that we have endured in the twentieth century...

Certainly, but all of that is more or less a product of us having developed more powerful and more destructive technologies. It is not, as was implied before, a product of our culture itself being more violent than in previous generations or or of there being more violence in our everyday lives.

I should also point out that my critique more or less applies to industrialized nations in the West and certain industrialized nations in the East. It most certainly doesn't apply to, say, subsaharan Africa or the Middle East.

Laterz.
 

Makalakumu

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Certainly, but all of that is more or less a product of us having developed more powerful and more destructive technologies.

That, my friend, is a major contradiction. How can we not be more violent, but yet be inventing more and more violent technologies? Especially when these technologies are being put to use and millions are dying in response?

It is not, as was implied before, a product of our culture itself being more violent than in previous generations or or of there being more violence in our everyday lives.

Statistically, by age 18, our children will witness over 100,000 acts of murder. They will see over 1,000,000 acts of violence. Previous generations were not exposed to this level. While it is true that this violence is occuring in various forms of media, these acts still have a demonstrable effect.

Desensitization.

I should also point out that my critique more or less applies to industrialized nations in the West and certain industrialized nations in the East. It most certainly doesn't apply to, say, subsaharan Africa or the Middle East.

Industrialized nations export violence to those nations. We install the dicators. We sell/give them their weapons. And all the while our culture shrugs its shoulders and hyperfocus into our FPS games.

Suddenly, something weird slips through the corporate controlled news...visions from these far off places that are being ****ed with by the people we vote for...and it looks strangely familiar...and we shrug our shoulders.

Desensitization.
 

Marginal

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Suddenly, something weird slips through the corporate controlled news...visions from these far off places that are being ****ed with by the people we vote for...and it looks strangely familiar...and we shrug our shoulders.

Desensitization.
Kafka manged to conceive of that without blaming Doom for the world's ills.
 

heretic888

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That, my friend, is a major contradiction. How can we not be more violent, but yet be inventing more and more violent technologies?

There is nothing intrinsically "violent" about the combustion engine, nuclear technology, or satellite mapping. They can be employed in violent ways, but this makes them no more intrinsically violent technologies than, say, the wheel.

To answer your question, there is a difference between means and intent. Tribal societies, as a whole, do not do as much wholesale destruction as industrialized societies. But, this is not because of some benign intention on their part, it is solely because of a lack of technological means. One need not look further than south Africa to see what happens when you give tribalistic cultures modern technology (i.e., shotguns).

As Ken Wilber put it, there's only so much damage you can do to the world with a bow and arrow.

Statistically, by age 18, our children will witness over 100,000 acts of murder. They will see over 1,000,000 acts of violence. Previous generations were not exposed to this level. While it is true that this violence is occuring in various forms of media, these acts still have a demonstrable effect.

There is a world of difference between watching something on television and seeing something firsthand. Your use of the term "witness" is rather liberterian, in my opinion.

You talk about the modern "desensitization" to violence, but this is in large part disingenous. Western societies during the Dark Ages saw far more daily violence than we do today, comparable to current living conditions in southern Africa or the Middle East. Watching a fuzzy clip of someone being killed off-camera on CNN is a completely different thing than seeing your friends and family massacred before your eyes by Inquisitorial soldiers, after all. There is no censorship or sliding subtitles there.

A little historical context, if you will.

Industrialized nations export violence to those nations. We install the dicators. We sell/give them their weapons. And all the while our culture shrugs its shoulders and hyperfocus into our FPS games.

Suddenly, something weird slips through the corporate controlled news...visions from these far off places that are being ****ed with by the people we vote for...and it looks strangely familiar...and we shrug our shoulders.

Dude, you're preaching to the choir.

Laterz.
 

Makalakumu

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There is nothing intrinsically "violent" about the combustion engine, nuclear technology, or satellite mapping. They can be employed in violent ways, but this makes them no more intrinsically violent technologies than, say, the wheel.

To answer your question, there is a difference between means and intent. Tribal societies, as a whole, do not do as much wholesale destruction as industrialized societies. But, this is not because of some benign intention on their part, it is solely because of a lack of technological means. One need not look further than south Africa to see what happens when you give tribalistic cultures modern technology (i.e., shotguns).

As Ken Wilber put it, there's only so much damage you can do to the world with a bow and arrow.

There are specific weapon systems that exist and their only purpose is to kill millions of people. In those cases, the means and intent are one in the same. I agree with the point in your second paragraph, however. Perhaps our society is more violent because we have the technology to be more violent.

Your bow and arrow example is apt.

There is a world of difference between watching something on television and seeing something firsthand. Your use of the term "witness" is rather liberterian, in my opinion.

Witness

You talk about the modern "desensitization" to violence, but this is in large part disingenous. Western societies during the Dark Ages saw far more daily violence than we do today, comparable to current living conditions in southern Africa or the Middle East.

I disagree. First of all, I have yet to see a study that definitively shows how much violence someone in the Dark Ages actually saw. Secondly, the amount of violence that a person could witness was limited by population. In today's interconnected world, where we can access vast samples of people at the speed of light, I would say that we have far more potential to witness violent acts.

Watching a fuzzy clip of someone being killed off-camera on CNN is a completely different thing than seeing your friends and family massacred before your eyes by Inquisitorial soldiers, after all. There is no censorship or sliding subtitles there.

This is true, but, due to the limitations of population and technology, I would say that this sort of thing is far more common in the modern age.

Dude, you're preaching to the choir.

My thesis in this discussion is this...FPS games, violent media, etc have an effect. They desensitize us to violence. And this is related (notice, I did not say cause) to a number of phenomenon. Our acceptance of the military industrial complex. Our blase attitude toward real violence. Our decisions to elect leaders who propagate this system.

You would not believe how many children I've spoken to who claim that the solution to the Iraqi "problem" lies in bombing them with nukes.

I wish, I really wish that I could show them actual pics of that without losing my job...

And that is also a result of the desensitization...
 

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For those that don't believe that video games have an effect on children and violence, I would suggest that they read "On Combat" by Col. Dave Grossman. Or read related article on www.killology.com
 

heretic888

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Okay, back on topic....

My thesis in this discussion is this...FPS games, violent media, etc have an effect. They desensitize us to violence.

In case anyone has a misunderstanding here, I do not dispute this.

What I do dispute, however, is the strength of this effect. There are a number of variables that influence the prevalence of violence in society, video games probably being the least significant of them. I am much more concerned with the easy access of violent weapons in society, the dangerous imbalance between socioeconomic class, our endorsement of capital punishment, and our willingness to go to war with other countries than I am with video games. In fact, I would argue that every one of those other variables produce more violent tendencies than playing video games will (barring a few exceptions).

I should also point out that the desensitization effect video games have on children is significantly lessened with age. In other words, it is not going to affect a 15 year old in the same way it will a 5 year old. This is most likely related to the child's ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, a cognitive operation that is virtually non-existent before the age of 10 or so.

As I said on another thread related to this, I believe that people are targetting television, movies, and video games because they are easy. The real social issues --- the real things that contribute to societal violence --- are by and large left unnoticed. Things like why have worker wages remained stagnant for nearly four decades while corporate profits are at an alltime high? Things like why do we spend more on military expenses than every other country in the world combined? Things like what exactly are we doing over in the Middle East, anyway?

Compared to real issues like that, Grand Theft Auto is just a distraction. Which, of course, is exactly the point.

Laterz.
 

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For those that don't believe that video games have an effect on children and violence, I would suggest that they read "On Combat" by Col. Dave Grossman. Or read related article on www.killology.com

It's hard to take such findings seriously when coupled with alarmist nonsense like "murder simulator" being tossed about.
 

5-0 Kenpo

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In case anyone has a misunderstanding here, I do not dispute this.

What I do dispute, however, is the strength of this effect. There are a number of variables that influence the prevalence of violence in society, video games probably being the least significant of them. I am much more concerned with the easy access of violent weapons in society, the dangerous imbalance between socioeconomic class, our endorsement of capital punishment, and our willingness to go to war with other countries than I am with video games. In fact, I would argue that every one of those other variables produce more violent tendencies than playing video games will (barring a few exceptions).

As I said on another thread related to this, I believe that people are targetting television, movies, and video games because they are easy. The real social issues --- the real things that contribute to societal violence --- are by and large left unnoticed. Things like why have worker wages remained stagnant for nearly four decades while corporate profits are at an alltime high? Things like why do we spend more on military expenses than every other country in the world combined? Things like what exactly are we doing over in the Middle East, anyway?
I would agree that there are many factors that are more influential on this subject, although I would definatly disagree with you about what those factors are.

The problem is we have a breakdown of social structures (lack of two-parent households, lack of moral clarity, etc.) that influence whether ther will be violent behavior. However, seeing as that is becoming more of the case then not, video games, movies, and music act as sort of a surrogate parents. This is where children are learning their morality. If someone disrespects you, shoot them or fight them. Women are "hoes" and "bitches". Music videos, movies, and television show scantily clad women shown as objects, to be used and abuses as any other material possession.

Honestly, I don't think that the issues you brought up affect children's though processes. Granted, they affect their lives, but only in distant ways. I think that if you ask most children about Iraq (and an increasingly larger number of adults), they would have no clue what you are talking about.



I should also point out that the desensitization effect video games have on children is significantly lessened with age. In other words, it is not going to affect a 15 year old in the same way it will a 5 year old. This is most likely related to the child's ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, a cognitive operation that is virtually non-existent before the age of 10 or so.

This is true. But the increasing problem is that children are getting access to more violent movies, tv, video games, etc., at a younger and younger age. Below the age of ten even. this is due to lack of good parenting, not the war in Iraq.
 

heretic888

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I would agree that there are many factors that are more influential on this subject, although I would definatly disagree with you about what those factors are.

You are free to disagree with the variables I brought up, but they are the product of research from within the social sciences. By contrast, some of the variables you suggested (such as "moral clarity") cannot be quantified and sound like little more than ideological abstractions.

The problem is we have a breakdown of social structures (lack of two-parent households, lack of moral clarity, etc.) that influence whether ther will be violent behavior.

Well, to address the examples you gave....

The correlation between single-parent households and delinquency is an artifact of socioeconomic factors also related to single-parent households. This includes both financial pressure on the part of the single parent, as well as time-management issues in regards to providing attention to the child. To put it succinctly, this is nothing intrinsic to single-parent households. Rather, it is a product of the pressures that society demands of single parents. Which, once again, is the point.

As for "lack of moral clarity", from a developmental perspective this is generally a sign of moral maturity. The more self-assured one is that one's moral choices are the only acceptable ones, the less sophisticated the moral reasoning one is relying upon. Rather than "moral clarity", the emphasis should be on perspective-taking and critical moral thinking that encourages the child to rise above egoic self-interests.

However, seeing as that is becoming more of the case then not, video games, movies, and music act as sort of a surrogate parents. This is where children are learning their morality.

The fact that people expect the entertainment industry to "educate" children speaks volumes, in my opinion.

Honestly, I don't think that the issues you brought up affect children's though processes. Granted, they affect their lives, but only in distant ways. I think that if you ask most children about Iraq (and an increasingly larger number of adults), they would have no clue what you are talking about.

A child's conscious awareness of the contents of their psyche is irrelevant, as such factors generally occur on an autonomic or subliminal level.

I am speaking, of course, from the vantage of social learning theory here (which is itself something of an extension to Skinnerian behaviorism). Individuals observe the actions and repercussions of others, thereby assimilating the behavioral patterns that they associate with "positive" results and rejecting the behavioral patterns they associate with "negative" results. None of this occurs on the conscious level.

Regardless of what one thinks of social learning theory or behaviorism, there are direct correlations between socially-sanctioned violence and societal violence at large. That is why rates of violent crime upshoot whenever a country is at war or whenever a policy of capital punishment is in effect.

The Iraq War contributes to violent behavioral patterns among our children because it is society's way of telling them that violent behavior is an acceptable way of handling disputes.

This is true. But the increasing problem is that children are getting access to more violent movies, tv, video games, etc., at a younger and younger age. Below the age of ten even. this is due to lack of good parenting, not the war in Iraq.

It isn't either/or, they are both factors here.

Laterz.
 
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