by Carlo Longino

Hard-Hitting Study Shows People Get Desensitized To Things

from the really dept

Another researcher has set out to link violent video games with violent behavior, and like previous efforts, the "link" found seems tenuous at best. A psychologist says that a study of 39 people that play violent games showed smaller and delayed responses to images of real-life violence, and those people with the biggest drop in response meted out the most virtual punishment on in-game opponents. This research seems fairly problematic. The biggest problem is that of course people become desensitized to things the more they're exposed to them -- but that doesn't mean they act on them. Paramedics probably become desensitized to graphic, violent images of injured people, but that doesn't mean they go out and slice people open so they can take a gander at their guts when they're off duty. The fact that someone may be used to seeing graphic images can't predict their behavior. And what if the people included in the survey were already aggressive or predisposed to violence, or maybe even just watched a lot of graphic horror movies? These studies seem to be confusing correlation and causation, and all go against statistics that show youth violence dropping as video games become more popular.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Dec 2005 @ 10:34am

    This is crap.

    The author of the linked article is very foolhardy. "Suggests a causal link"? I could similarly suggest a causal link by taking people who watch professional football or wrestling, and those who don't, and measure their response to similar pictures of aggression. Does that mean football and wrestling cause us to be violent?

    No! It means violent people tend to like football and wrestling! That doesn't mean ALL people who like football and wrestling are violent.

    All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dean Jennings, 14 Dec 2005 @ 1:40pm

    RE: Hard-Hitting Study Shows People Get Desensitiz

    These sutdies always ignore the "cum hoc, ergo propter hoc" aspects of such associations ... so is it that violent video games develop violent tendencies in gamers ... or do violent people derive pleasure from the virtual violence of video games?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nostranonymous, 14 Dec 2005 @ 4:01pm

    What about the positive?

    Yes, people are desensitized to graphic images and situations when they are exposed to it more. That's common sense. But why does this need to be thought of as negative?

    Who would you rather have near you when something tragic happens (like a terrorist attack for example)?

    1. Someone desensitized to horrible things and can maintain their cool and logical thinking.

    2. Someone who freaks the fuck out and runs around in circles like a chicken with their head cut off until they are killed themselves or until a person who could be saved just dies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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