Studies

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
brains, research, violent video games



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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  1. identicon
    Ari Kristinn Gunnarsson, 4 Jan 2008 @ 8:13am

    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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