Studying Violent Video Games Causes Unnecessary Extrapolations! News At Eleven!

from the sigh dept

It’s hard to go more than a few weeks without seeing yet another article claiming some kind of “dangerous” impact from people playing violent video games. Of course, almost every study that suggests this is true has been debunked. What the studies actually tend to show is that while playing violent video games your brain acts emotional and may get desensitized to the violence being witnessed — but that makes total sense. You should actually be surprised if playing a game didn’t get you emotionally invested in the game and seeing the same thing over and over again didn’t shock you as much as the first time. What none of the studies actually shows, however, is that playing these games later leads to violent activity. In fact, the ongoing decrease in violence just as these games have become increasingly popular certainly hints that they’re not a major cause of violent activity (this is further supported by a study showing that violent movies seem to decrease incidents of violence). However, that doesn’t stop researchers and the press from extrapolating their findings out to conclude that violent video games must lead to violence, despite the lack of proof.

The latest is some new research out of Taiwan, found via the Raw Feed, suggesting that playing violent video games decreases the flow of blood to your brain. There could be any number of biological reasons for this, but it doesn’t stop the researchers from claiming that those playing these violent video games may “risk damaging brain function and affect their learning and emotional control.” Again, that sounds like quite an extrapolation from just looking at the rate of blood flow to the brain — and luckily people are already questioning the results of the study.

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Comments on “Studying Violent Video Games Causes Unnecessary Extrapolations! News At Eleven!”

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Chronno S. Trigger says:

Sleeping decreases blood flow to the brain

Driving to Philly causes strokes.

Let me explain the logic.
Driving long distances without stretching can cause decreased blood flow to the legs and possible clotting. The clots can then travel to the heart causing a hart attack or to the brain causing a stroke. Philly is far away from many places so if you drive from where you are to Philly without stretching you can have a stroke.

Had to say it.

Gary Storm (user link) says:

I'm going POSTAL

sorry, but those studies are just laughable, as you pointed out so well.

Personally, I think it is down to the individual personalities (which may be caused by genetics or experience) of people. Out of 100 people, all playing the same amount of violent video games or watching violent movies, maybe 1 will be ‘inspired’ to go on some violent rampage of their own. They are abnormal, and if it wasn’t a video game or movie, it would be something else that would set them off. I`m sure we all know a relative or friend who is just naturally aggressive alot of the time…
blame the the way they were brought up (abuse etc) or blame their genetic make-up (the way their brains are coded), but don’t blame movies and games. Otherwise they’d better ban Rugby, American Football, Ice-Hockey etc etc, as some people are just going to get all freaky by watching it.

Michael says:

no time for violence...

Seems to me that kids that play alot of violent video games would actually have less time on their hands to get into trouble, and how come no one is railing against the ACTUAL violence that the US is involved in and that they are told all day on FOX that they should be supporting? There is REAL violence going on everyday that is sanctioned by the government, yet everyone wants to blame CG violence for warping children? I think the governments are a much larger source of violent role models than video games will ever be.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Rule #1 about Mike's posts

Ah, Paul, another comment from you trashing me… and once again, getting it wrong. I pointed out where you did that twice yesterday, and I note that you haven’t responded or apologized for the errors in your statement.

This time you show up just to criticize, but again your criticism is off the mark. The first paragraph in this case provides background and analysis that helps provide more details and context for the second paragraph. Most people tell us they like that very much.

You clearly do not, but there’s a fairly simple solution: don’t read Techdirt, as you clearly dislike me personally. It’s not hard to find other sources you might like. In the meantime, many, many people seem to like what we do here, and they are able to read and understand what we write and how we write it. If you are unable to, perhaps the problem is not with me…

Gary says:

video vs real world

Every couple of years somebody snaps and kills a bunch of people and then usually themselves. Despite the fact that this has been going on much longer than there have been violent video games, now someone always points out that the killer played video games. If the investigators had looked closer, they would have found that the killers also ate fast food, masturbated, went to school, breathed, etc. These are things that happen millions of times per day. To look at something that happens once in a billion instances and say that any one of these things caused it is utterly ridiculous. In any given week I think it is fair to say that 5 million teenagers play a violent video game. Typically none of them then take guns to public places and shoot people. But close to 90,000 will buy their mom a birthday card. Does this mean that playing video games leads to purchasing cards? No, any group of 5 million people will do the same. Its math.

Ari Kristinn Gunnarsson says:

Something people fail to understand

Drawing a straight line between a violent act comitted by a person that played a video game, to the violence present in the video game is in almost every case fundamentally flawed.

Every persons brain works almost the same way when it comes to originality, when presented with a new and challanging condition the brain seeks a memory of something similar already present.

Let’s take for example a person, comitting a crime will almost always subconciously look for a similar act he’s comitted before and if there’s none the person will still committ the act the best way he or she knows, and if the only experience present is one from a video game that will be the one chosen in most cases.

Just because a person copies video game violence when committing a violent act doesn’t change the fact that the person went out there to do something violent in the first place.

Same way a person told to draw a painting will almost always draw something he knows, wether it’s a compilation or mix between different things he knows is irrelevant, nothing in the painting will be a completely new thing.

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