Do Videogames Really Cause Violent Behavior?

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Do Videogames Really Cause Violent Behavior?

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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.

Permalink

I have been playing since I was 8. I haven't gotten in any fights or ever been violent. What about the fact that videogames also increase problem solving abilities?

That test just has too many variables to count.

Honestly, a point and click game like Myst would probably make me angry.

Besides, that test doesn't prove violent games make you anymore violent in any way, shape, or form.

Various activist groups have claimed a correlation between violent videogames and the rise of violence amongst adolescents

Activist groups have been fudging the numbers to support their argument. Go figure people who don't like video games are also bad at math.

I kill hookers, small children sell drugs, shoot people like they are zombies on a regular basis.

I am calling BS on this thing. I mean for some people it may enhance the ideo of violent acts but I mean seriously, maybe violent people are attracted to violent video games. But that is still a crap reason if you ask me. Studies show that shooters (like the Colombine one) are actually more attracted to violent books and shows more often than they are games so why are people so focused on video games?

Ok why when they do these studies do they use games nobody has played in 10 years?

I've been playing violent my whole life and it's never made want to commit violent acts. Listening to anti game activists like Jack Thompson who want to ban them on the other hand...

If something is rigged, and a player knows it, they become angry.

This can be said about anybody that does anything. Anyone played Tekken 6? Arcade mode? Azazel? How he can block while he attacks? And you can't throw him? Or use power moves? Or do anything other than cheap things in return to his cheapness?

Yeah, those sort of things make people angry.

Violent videogames exacerbate existing problems, in the same way any other media could. The people who perform terrible things were not 'converted' by violent videogames, the problem already existed.

I'm still of the opinion that video games are about as responsible for the Columbine murders (and any other sort of murder that's been blamed on games) as Berkowits' Neighbor's dog is responsible for the Son of Sam murders.

In fact, it seems like stuff like that has happened less since video games have become more violent.

No. At least not for me. I find that people around me, heavy metal and my unwillingness to like anything that others like causes my violent behaviour. Of course most of that is my own fault. We are what we make ourselves; that's what I'm really trying to get at, I think. Videogames are certainly not a major factor.

I don't know. I think being locked in a room and being forced to play Myst would make me a lot more aggressive than being locked in a room and being forced to play Wolfenstein.

On a more serious note, I've played violent games like Grand Theft Auto since I was about eight. This has never caused me to commit violent acts. In fact, I'm pretty certain I'd be a lot more aggressive if I didn't get the chance to take out my frustations by shooting pixelated enemies in the face every now and again. Gaming is therapeutic.

I think children should know the difference between game and realty. Otherwise yes I think it can lead to violent behaviour. My neighbour's kid is only 11 but he watches and plays violent or scary films/games. I find it ridiculous because he already has a mild form of ADHD and is often hitting his sister or me when getting carried away whilst playing.

The only reason the people who played Myst blasted the noise for less time was because half of their brain had melted whilst playing, meaning they wouldn't of had the brain capacity left to hold a button down.

I don't believe it. These murders are only caused by you and only you, you still make the choice if you will be in the evening news or not, video games manipulate shit, you shouldn't let them get to you.

Played every GTA and my criminal record remains nil.

Videogames if anything help me to not kill somebody. God of War II helps in this regard especially.

the only way a game would make you violent is if you wre A/ mentally retarded B/ you were violent in the first place or C/ your the type of person who goes everywhere cross-eyed poking the leader of a very dangerous gang and thought you need help for protection and turned to video games to find out how.

As I understand it, violent games are usually more difficult and prone to stumping the player with unimaginably hard spots throughout the game's arc, whereas non-violent games are usually less potentially frustrating.

That's just how this works. And people playing more frustrating games have a higher chance to get angry than the people who don't.

So why are they assuming that the Modern Warfare players' choice to use loud blasts of sound is due to the fraudulent violent video games = violence in players theory as opposed to, I don't know, the 'violent-games-breed-frustration-which-breeds-anger' theory?

Can they answer that? I don't know, they might be in the 'triumphant Bible-thumping/high-fiving' phase that comes after imagined victory.

How dare you accuse us! I'll f**king kill you!!!!

*Attempts to load gun by repeatedly pressing the little red dot which kinda looks like B*

I think people always just want someone to blame and videogames are just an easy target... besides people with a proper mindset are perfectly immune its really only if you are screwed up enough in the head to actually want to cause a shootout would you mimic a game like that

Oy vey...

I think violent games give one the capacity for more dangerously violent behaviour, but the person has to be violent in the first place. People are always finding something to blame when it comes to violent tragedies. It doesn't matter what concept or inanimate object you pin it to, it's not the cause.

Violent game A might have inspired me to stomp someone's ribs in if I'm in a fight, but violent game A doesn't make me violent, I'm just fucked up. Showing someone rape scene after rape scene isn't going to turn them into a rapist if they're of sound mind and body.

ChromeAlchemist:
Showing someone rape scene after rape scene isn't going to turn them into a rapist if they're of sound mind and body.

Exactly. Just ask 4Chan.

In my opinion it's a load of bollocks.
People have been recorded as killing other people for millennia.

We've been killing each other with guns for centuries (the fact that they exist shows man's intention to kill man)
Video game violence is practically younger than I am, it's not a serious contributing factor to violence.

I myself started playing shooter games about the age of 6 or 7, and continued throughout my life to this day. This prolonged exposure has not affected me in any way, I am yet to go on a murderous rampage, and I live in one of the most violent cities in the UK (Glasgow)

Come on, those studies about "inflicting pain on another person" are all garbage. College kids aren't idiots. They know you would never allow them to harm anyone for the sake of your experiment.

There is always a scapegoat for human nature. Truthfully I'm not even entirely convinced that violence is a bad thing and that it's a tendency we should be curbing as much as we do... for reasons I will not go into here.

Basically, people blamed rock and roll, heavy metal, dancing, motorcycles, cars, comic books, television, movies, and just about anything you can think of for violent, sexual, or "immoral" behavior at some point. One thing is defended, another takes it's place. It's not the media that does this, it's us.

Oh sure, there are societal factors that can make violence, sex, or any other behavior far more probable, but games and such are not one of them. They might be a REFLECTION of society on some levels, as artwork always is, but they are not the central cause.

That said, there will ALWAYS be a scapegoat, and that is why it's important for scapegoats to defend themselves. Once you allow this kneejerk reaction to successfully tear anything down it will NEVER end...

1) Experimenter bias, but I will let that one slide on benefit of the doubt.
2) No, you did not increase violence. You increased loud noise. You cannot correlate a fundamentally harmless prank with physical violence.
3) This shows short term affects. Nothing about programming or turning a person. It's about behavior in certain circumstances.
4) Absolutely no basis, nor control, is established. You fail at experimental conditions. It would be entirely legitimate to interpret this event as being that Myst calms people down, and makes them less violent, while a violent game has no effect whatsoever.
5) I assume random assignment took place, but that skews the data as it is. You're saying that a person who might have no desire to play a violent game who is then FORCED to play a violent video game becomes more violent? That's not the game, that's coercion, and it renders the study illegitimate
6) If your asked to do a "Violent" act after playing Wolfenstein, its pretty damn clear what your doing. Subject Bias effect immediately destroys the study.
7) No, it doesn't examine video games. It examines Wolfenstein 3D. Which is NOT necessarily representative of gaming at large. Correlation is not causation, and there is a million other possible explanations. Possibly Nazi symbols increase aggression? That's reasonable, and we certainly shouldn't censor Nazi symbols from our history books.
8) Increased aggression compared to what? What would be the numbers on loud blasts, assuming that the person, instead of playing a video game, watched a basketball game? Played a Basketball game? Watched a War documentary? Listened to a political speech? Just exercised? Had a bad day? I'm betting the effect would be much greater. In which case, the study would (Yet again) be rendered meaningless.

I could probably go on, but there are the fatal flaws I can pick out on a cursory reading. Come on, even the researchers HAVE to know there dealing in junk science. It's bloody Psych 101 here.

No, violent behavior causes videogames.

I'm exactly not sure why Escapist content is in the Escapist News...

If you're fucked up enough to kill somebody because you saw it in a video game then you're beyond help. You would have bin fucked up weather or not you played Ninja Gaiden

I remember the Columbine argument. I knew it was load of bull when I heard it.

In High School, I did a lot of research on it, and a few English projects. I found that, like all media, it never created violence. It just release violence that was alread there.

It really is a case of circumstance. People imitate what they see when they are in an emotional state. If they were watching Rambo, they might imitate while emotionally frustrated.

Video games have proved to be an outlet for violent behavior, not the cause.

Furburt:
Violent videogames exacerbate existing problems, in the same way any other media could. The people who perform terrible things were not 'converted' by violent videogames, the problem already existed.

Yes, I agree.

Lauren Admire:
Do Videogames Really Cause Violent Behavior?

image

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.

Permalink

No no no no... There were school shootings throughout history, long before videogames even existed. The only common denominator between young violence across history is the fact that these kids are troubled.

I´d sign the above two statements totally,

and yes: being forced to play MYST would make ME totally violent.

Lauren Admire:
Do Videogames Really Cause Violent Behavior?

image

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.

Permalink

Two straight years and 30 thousand dollars of college fees all came to a single conclusion on this topic.

No. No they don't. No positive connection at all. At most there is a negative correlation with real world teen violence dropping as games become more violent.

The 'aggro' that people demonstrate after video games, television, sports, or at least two dozen other stimuli that all existed for tens, hundreds, or in many cases thousands of years, exists extremely short term.

The worlds worst school shooting, the US's worst school shooting, the worlds worst genocide, and every other worst violent or most prolific violent event ALL happened before Video games were even a twinkle in the eye of a sperm in the testicle of a man with a twinkle in his eye looking at the busts of a nude woman.

I want to kill you because of this article title! Time for more UT3.....

What about the people like me who play violent games but don't shoot up schools?

Nothing causes violent behavior except the violent thoughts of the people committing the behavior. Violence has been around ever since Cain killed his own brother Abel. They didn't have video games, movies, magazines, comic books or any of that. Humans have been capable of having evil thoughts and committing evil acts almost from the very beginning.

Even if you shielded a kid from every description or depiction of violence, he or she would still have violent thoughts. The only things keeping most of us from acting out the violent thoughts we have are self-control, a sense of morality and concern for the well-being of other people (and animals for that matter). It's not that the stuff that kids are exposed to is getting more violent (try reading some of the old myths and fairytales in their original forms before they were candy-coated by the likes of Disney and you'll read some really violent stuff), it's that kids these days are being taught how to exercise self-control, to have an understanding of what's right and wrong and to care about someone or something other than themselves, less and less.

We shelter kids from experiencing meaningful consequences for bad behavior all during their childhood (let's face it, there are some kids who are not fazed a bit by 'time out', lectures, trips to the psycologist etc.), then we wonder why their bad behavior just keeps getting worse and more serious as they get older. They test the boundaries and find they can get away with it, so they try something even worse next time. Next thing you know, the kid is shoplifting, beating other kids to a pulp, and, yes, stealing (getting out Dad's gun without permission is also stealing) and going out and shooting people.

It's not the fault of games, movies, TV, books etc. It's the fault of the children themselves (no one forces these kids to do these things), parents, teachers and other adults in these kids' lives that the kids are committing violent crimes.

Games are just a convenient scapegoat for people to use so they don't have to face up to their own responsibility.

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