New Study On Video Game Violence 15 replies

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4th October 2004

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#1 14 years ago

Source: A new study performed by radiologists from the University of Indiana using rMRI's (Radioactive brain scanning) has revealed that playing violent video games does in fact stimulate the aggressive portions of your brain, while 'shutting down' inhibitive, logical, and passive sectors. The study was performed with 44 boys and girls between 13 and 17 (boys outnumbered girls by a ratio of two to one), one group playing Need for Speed: Underground, and the other playing Medal of Honor: Frontline (doctors chose not to use M rated games). However, the lead doctor on the project, Dr. Vincent P. Mathews, has stated:

Some people even blame school shootings on violent videogames. What do you think? I’ve seen those same reports, too. Those are just anecdotal situations. There have been shootings, and at least in a couple instances, the people were involved in doing these violent games. One of the people had no practice shooting weapons but had practice in these videogames and had incredible accuracy. I’m not really an expert on how that sort of behavior transfers to the real world. That certainly is one of the concerns that some people have.

Personally, I'm not amazed by the fact that sectors of the brain relating to violence are spiked during violent game play, and sectors involving passivism slump. However, this will only be valid for consideration once it has been indexed with how the brain is effected by other 'normal' activities: such as basketball, paintball, ping pong, tennis, and even driving (I've driven for three hours straight and, while I'm a perfectly safe driver and handled it well, I realize that large portions of your brain shut down so that you can completely concentrate on the road. Your brain goes into autopilot, which I bet would turn up an interesting rMRI to compare to a healthy brain and other activities). It's not like violent games are the only things that flag these portions of the brain. Teenagers, especially boys, have brains somewhat wired for aggression and competition. This study is a step in the right direction, but will ONLY be acceptable for a base of assumptions if there are scans of similar groups in other competetive activities. If teens have a 30% decreased use in their inhibitive brain sector on video games, and about a 2% in basketball, I might be alarmed. But if they have a 30% decrease playing violent video games, and a 25% decrease playing tackle football (which, of course, many parents consider a 'normal,' healthy sport) I would be a lot less convinced that any of this data is relevent.


Trekkie At Large.....

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26th April 2004

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#2 14 years ago
Your brain goes into autopilot, which I bet would turn up an interesting rMRI to compare to a healthy brain and other activities).

Heh, I'm drivin' around and then I hear someone honk, then I come back to reality wondering how the heck I got where I am.... They should have tested the kids hours after extreme gameplay for conclusive evidence on whether this is directly connected with school shootings and not the consequence of something else in their lives.... I can get right back into my homework after a good round or two of MP on Halo without a problem....

Emperor Benedictine

You can't fire me, I quit

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16th April 2005

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#3 14 years ago

It would be incredibly naive to take this information and draw the conclusion that video games are a primary cause of violent action. For one thing it seems absurd to suggest that these parts of the brain that violent games are supposed to inhibit are otherwise constantly stable and that it is possible or even remotely desirable to keep their function at a constant level. For another, it seems painfully obvious that someone in the middle of a simulated combat situation is going to become more agressive in response, anyone who ever played a game like Medal of Honor could tell you that for themself, but putting it into alarming scientific terms doesn't change anything at all. The question surely should not be whether these games are stimulating certain parts of the brain, but whether they are having a lasting effect. Without an answer to that question this is a nonissue.

MrFancypants Forum Administrator

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7th December 2003

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#4 14 years ago

Video games have an influence on people, but not as much as the media and some politicians claim and imply. As far as I can tell video-games mostly influence people while they are playing the game and perhaps a short while after that, long-term effects are rather connected to physical health instead of mental stability.

Not long ago there was another school shooting in Germany and video games are of course blamed most of the time, with stories being overblown and in some cases invented. On the other hand I didn't see one article even bothering to ask where this person got the weapons used in the shooting.

Roaming East

Ultima ratio regum

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7th November 2005

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#5 14 years ago

The issue is overblown. Videogames and other electronic medium do nothing more than reinforce pre-existing conditional stages in human behaviour. If a person is already apt to be a violent attack first kind of guy, all videogames will do is reinforce this ability. The military uses it in much the same way. It takes a recruit who is already being drilled to fire at man shaped objects and presents the target in realistic scenarios to sharpen fine motor skills and reflexive memory actions.


I didn't make it!

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#6 14 years ago

I have to think this is another cop-out for society as a whole. We're already accepting of people blaming everyone else for their actions, no one ever points the finger at themselves... it's always someone else's fault. I think this mentality is crap. I agree that a person has to be pre-disposed to this type of behaviour in order for him to act in such a way in the real world. I've played fps games for years now and I'm no more likely to go on a shooting rampage than I am to drive my car off a cliff. Sure our brains may be stimulated, but I too wonder the long term affect of said stimulation. I too wonder about football players or boxers and what their MRIs would show. Video games are an easy out for people who lack the integrity to 'man up' to something they did. But at the end of the day if someone goes out and shoots 10 people he's the only one who should be held accountable. HE made the conscious choice to get the weapon and load it. HE made the choice to put his finger on the trigger and pull it. I think if perhaps the punishment were more severe and people coulnd't get off on these technicalities that allow others to be to blame, maybe just maybe we wouldn't have as many who were quick to point the finger at video games. I wonder if anyone would ever do a study of people who play 'violent' games who don't go out and kill people. You'll never see one I'd bet because it would refute all these other studies that so want games to be at fault. :uhoh:

Pethegreat Advanced Member

Lord of the Peach

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19th April 2004

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#7 14 years ago

I find is sad how society beats around the bush to get a scapegoat for the school shootings. It is the not weapon makers fault, it is the not the video games' fault, and it is not the police's fault. It is the parents' fault for not watching what their kids are doing. If parents would watch their kids they would have stopped every school shooting and act of violence from blamed on video games.

Another problem with society is acceptance of aggressiveness. 50 years ago ,when boys grew into men and not fruity pansies, kids played cops and robbers and cowboys and indians. You never herd of a person blaming those games for a kid killing another one. It was accpeted that boys were agressive. Nowdays, it accepted that boys need to be perfect angles.


When in doubt...KILL IT!!

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24th June 2005

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#8 14 years ago

^~~ Peth has it right...society wants to keep finding excuses for what people do, instead of blaming the person for his/her actions.


I chose an eternity of this

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6th January 2005

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#9 14 years ago

In the end, it really depends mostly on the person. Yes, it is true, i have definetly seen people that think violence is "cool" because they saw it in video games or films (notice how no one complains about violent films?). But these people were unintelligent and prone to violence to begin with. It may feed a violent person's urge, but it will certainly not bring a violent side out in a completely non-violent person (like my 56 year old father, masterful Quake3 player :p).

Admiral Donutz Advanced Member

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9th December 2003

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#10 14 years ago

Intresting but one can't draw many conclusions from this.

One has to find out first: - Will a person's behaviour change after playing games for a few hours and if so, do the effects wear off eventually? - Will a person's behaviour change after playing games continuesly (X hours a day, daily) and if so, do the effects wear off eventually? - What happens to the brains when you do < insert all common sports and activities here such as football, driving, seeing a movie, gym, ...)? - Will a person's behaviour change after doing the above mentioned activity for a few hours and if so, do the effects wear off eventually? - Will a person's behaviour change after doing the above mentioned activity continuesly (X hours a day, daily) and if so, do the effects wear off eventually?

If playing a violent game doesn't alter your mind activity in the long run (it only goes on "auto pilot" while playing a game) there isn't anything to worry about. If playing violent games does have an affect on your brains in the long run, does it affect your actual behaviour? If so, to which extend does this apply to underaged children being exposed to violence in games and to which extend for adults?

If it only affects kids there is "no" problem with violence ingames but stricter enforcing of the age rules should be applied. If it affect everybody who plays violent games then one also has to compare it to other activities. If sports, driving, ... also alters your brain over time then one can't really justify stricter rules unless all activities that "grow" violence are strictly regulated.

I doubt playing games has an effect on you, it may get you in a temporary excited mood (just like when you have been bust sporting or whatever) but any responsible person won't be actually effected by it (long term effects on the brains). If this was the case a lot of people should have went on a rampage by now from all the violence in movies, series and games. The only people who seem to "turn" violent from movies/games are those who were weak (erm, were born with a violent mind) to begin with.

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