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.

Filed Under: brains, research, violent video games


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  1. identicon
    Gary, 28 Dec 2007 @ 6:04am

    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.

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