Study Shows Violent Video Game Effects Linger In Brain

5-0 Kenpo

Master of Arts
Jun 9, 2005
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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.

You are right, moral clarity is not a quantifiable variable. I use it to mean as you later state perspective-taking and critical moral thinking. Clarity does not mean absolutism.

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.

I agree that financial pressures or time-management issues are not intrinsic only to the single parent household. However, I wonder if you would agree that these factors are generally mitigated in a two-parent household as it relates for time availablity in raising a child, thereby allowing the child to grow up socially more stable?

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.

I agree, but I believe that this is true if as you say they are the only morally acceptable ones.

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


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.

This is true of direct observation. But what about issues observed through a filter.

In the case of Iraq (as one of your "concerns"), there is no direct observation of the war, only that we are at war. I don't know if you are saying that there is never a "good" reason to go to war, but regardless, children are "observing" the actions and consequenses through a filter (ie., teacher, parents, news media sources). The question then becomes what filter are they observing it through, because that shapes what they see.

What do you think they see?

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.

Where do you get your figures for that?

In fact, if you look at the FBI's Uniform Crime Report for 2005 (the latest year in which the figures were compiled), the crime rate has been on the decline, with only a minor upswing in 2005.

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.

Are you saying that there are no situations in which we should teach our children where violence is a socially acceptable way to handle disputes?

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

In any event, I don't think that we disagree on the fact that there are many factors influencing violent behavioral patterns in children. I think where we disagree is to the degree of influence each of those factors we chose in our arguments has.


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
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Terre Haute, IN
A Kick and a Punch, but Don't Forget Compassion

WAY YIN YUEN has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. He lovingly remembers his Atari 2600, one of the first home video systems. Video games were his only passion until he found his second love, martial arts, at age 14.

Training in Poekoelan, an Indonesian martial art, he rose last year to the level of third-degree black belt after a three-day test during which he neither slept nor rested. And with two others he operates Golden Dragon Martial Arts Institute, a school in Eastham, Mass.

For Mr. Yuen, 27, the martial arts portrayed in the games he plays bear little resemblance to the arts he practices. "When people play video games, they want entertainment," he said. "It's a form of escapism, and when you talk about the martial arts genre, you have these stories about guys who can shoot fireballs. In my experience, never once have I seen a person throw a fireball." Further, "if you are a true martial artist you believe in compassion," he said. "Violence is the last resort."

Still, as Mr. Yuen has grown as a martial artist, the role of martial arts in video games has grown as well, becoming the centerpiece of hundreds of games.