Another Overhyped Weak Link Between Video Games And Violence
from the sounds-familiar dept
But, the researchers don't stop there. They want everyone to know that this is a big problem, claiming that violent media is "a powerful desensitization intervention on a global level." The researchers then go in for the (figurative!) kill: "It (marketing of video game media) initially is packaged in ways that are not too threatening, with cute cartoon-like characters, a total absence of blood and gore, and other features that make the overall experience a pleasant one. That arouses positive emotional reactions that are incongruent with normal negative reactions to violence. Older children consume increasingly threatening and realistic violence, but the increases are gradual and always in a way that is fun. In short, the modern entertainment media landscape could accurately be described as an effective systematic violence desensitization tool."
Unfortunately, their study shows none of that (and seems to paint video game marketing with an unfairly broad brush that doesn't seem particularly accurate). All it shows is that if you've been playing violent video games, immediately afterwards if you watch some violence on TV, it doesn't get your heart pumping nearly as much. They don't bother to look at how long this lasts. They don't bother to look at how it actually impacts how the person feels about violence... and they certainly don't look at how this makes the individual act. They don't bother to see how people would react to real violence happening in front of them (only TV violence from movies and TV shows). All they note is that the violence isn't as shocking. That's like saying if I was listening to loud music for a while and then put on more loud music, it wouldn't be as shocking as if I simply turned on loud music after listening to quiet music. There's nothing surprising, or even worrying there, but that doesn't stop the researchers from blowing it out of proportion in a way that will surely be misused by those with a political agenda.