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Help me answer the question whether videogames cause violence

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videogames dont cause violence but a lot of violent people play videogames



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Psychotic said:

Hi,

I'm currently in the process of writing a bachelor's thesis on "The effect of violence in the media on human psyché" with focus on videogames.

I'd be gerateful for some relevant sourced info about this.

As things stand, I'm basically ready to conclude that videogames and other media do indeed cause real-life violence to some unspecified extent.

Thanks in advance.

Really? I agree that violent video games do cause small temporary increases in agression of a person's mental state but have there been studies that were able to analyse people who started playing violent video games then went on to be more likely to commit violent acts in the real world?

It would be hard to analyse as people who already play violent video games  may play violent video games because of their violent personality as opposed to violent video games making them violent.

I would be interested in a study where people who commited violent acts were gathered and some played violent video games while the others did not and we could see the effect it would have. My guess is that violent video games may help keep generally violent people busy and less likely to commit violent acts.

 



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Psychotic said:
Augen said:
The issue tends to be showing a correlation. Some people may become desensitized to violence in gaming and be susceptible to acts. The problem is that these kind of minds in the absence of games could easily be affected by other stimuli in the same fashion.

In large numbers gaming has not shown to make cultures more violent. If anything we are less violent than our ancestors. However, there are other factors at play so I wouldn't jump to games causing us to be less violent.

We have been violent for thousands of years due to our brain development, it is humans burden to overcome their own violent nature. Good news is we're getting better, bad news is we have a ways to go.


But the truth is most of the research does conclude there is a causal relationship between media violence and real-life one. True, the critics of those stuides do point out major methodological errors in those studies, but still... I didn't read them (as I would have to buy them for a lot of money), so I can't ell if that's true and it's hard to sound unbiased when you disregard so many peer-reviewed studies.

I think there are dozens if not hundreds of factors that make a person or society more or less violent.    

If you removed games would we become less violent?  Were we less violent before games?  Are cultures without games less violent?

My guess is cultural stability and education weigh about a thousand times more than media does in how we act.



Video Games haven't changed me, interacting with people online through these games has changed me though. I'm worried i'm becoming a bigger asshole by the second.



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Psychotic said:

Hi,

I'm currently in the process of writing a bachelor's thesis on "The effect of violence in the media on human psyché" with focus on videogames.

I'd be gerateful for some relevant sourced info about this.

As things stand, I'm basically ready to conclude that videogames and other media do indeed cause real-life violence to some unspecified extent.

Thanks in advance.


In October 1958, Physicist William Higinbotham created what is thought to be the first video game. There was lots of violence in the world before that time period.



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Psychotic said:
binary solo said:

Anyway there are 2 possible ways for video games to be the cause of violence: 1 violent content which leads to violent behaviour; 2 intense activity causing increased adrenaline and potentially also frustration and anger because of game difficulty (the stereotypical throwing the controller at the TV in frustration).

Scenario 1 cannot be causally linked to violent behaviour unless a predilection to violence already exists and the person is somewhat already psyched up to commit violence. Thus the violent game is used as further motivation to do what was always intended. The fact that they chose video games as a psych up tool is not really relevant because people can use all sorts of mechanisms to provide that boost of courage to get them to carry through on their intentions.

Scenario 2 is more likely to lead to violence as a direct result of playing because there is no intent on violence when starting to play but events lead to an emotional state where anbexplosion of violence occurs. In this connection the presence of violence in the game is irrelevant. Any game that is hard enough can create the emotional conditions that lead to an explosion of rag,  or an explosion of tears. And it need not necessarily be the difficulty of the game. With online MP games it could be lag that causes you to mistime your action and thus lose ground at a pivotal moment.P, if this happens repeatedly over a short time then the frustration levels build up and any little thing can cause a burst of rage. I've seen it happen with my own kids, who are the essence of non-violence. They would never dare try to hurt anyone, but objects have taken the occasional beating, and only my intervention has prevented mouses and keyboards from taking irreparable damage. But is that any different to John mcenroe's outbursts when tennis line calls didn't go his way? No it isn't. So video games are not unique in causing those emotional states to build up.

There's way more than 2 possibilities how can videogames cause violence. I can think of at least 5.

1) Being a catalyst for pre-existing aggresive thoughts. - Covered by 1 or 2 from my post
2) Serving as a trigger for aggressive thoughts that might not ever surface otherwise - covered by 1 and maybe 2 from my post
3) Reinforcing the notion that violence is a good way of resolving conflict in children - covered by 1 from my post
4) Desentisizing to violence - covered by 1 from my post
5) Inspiring violent acts by glorifying and glamorizing violence and otherwise portraying it as "cool" or desirable - covered by 1 from my post

Note that your "possibility #2" isn't even included in this list, as I don't believe there is scientific support of a connection between short-term emotional states and long-term violent tendencies. You are right that this is asinine.

If any of these factors increase violence in a population by a statistically significant degree, it can be concluded that videogames cause violence.

@ underline regular exposure to short term emotional stressors can have long term effects. This is actually a pretty well established psychological thing I believe. Sure, single occasional events causing frustration may not lead to long term violent tendancies. But then you also have cases of these short term emotional states leading to pretty cvatestrophic violence, like the occasional case we see of someone killing or severely injuring a child or other family member becasue of being disturbed during an intense game. That's not to say similar violent outbursts don't happen at other periods of short term emotional tension, like watching a vitally important and close sports match, if you're a big enough fan and there is some underlying tendancy to snap then this can be as dangerous as the same emotional state created through playing video games. One significant difference with video games is that because of 24/7 availability of the games the opportunity to be come very emotionally tense can come around more frequently than other potential external causes of heightened emotional states, like watching your favourite sports team play very important and extremely close games.

A 3rd option is long term disturbed sleep patterns, which can lead to violence through emotional instability brought on by fatigue, but also other emotional and psychological problems such as depression (which needs an underlying cause most likely to become manifest in any serios way). But there are many things that call on us to stay up late at night other than video games. The ability to stream TV and movies on demand 24/7 is just as big a reason to not get enough sleep.

The question is, whether there is anything unique about video games that can make violent behaviour become manifest compared to other things that can bring about the same emotional or psychological states. The interactivity, and thus immersion, that is the big differentiator between video games and other forms of entertainment is the unique element. And the combination of 24/7 access as well as the level of intensity that can be created through playing a games is an unique combination of factors. Not many forms of passive entertainment can do both.

IMO video games, like almost everything, need to be consumed in reasonable moderation. Too much of a "good" thing can have negative consequences. 

The violent content of any given game is of no real consequence in and of itself.

Intermittent heightened emotional states are not a problem in psychologically well balanced individuals.

I haven't seen any well done research on the effect on children of long term exposure to "media" violence (i.e. any violence that is viewed through a screen). There is plenty of research showing negative long term consequences of exposure to violence in the home, even violence not directed towards the child is harmful. I think until there is robust scientific research on the effects on children it is better to be precautionary and for parents to keep the violent games away from kids under 15. Having said that, I didn't do a very good job of that myself because I let my boys play and watch me play God of War when they were in their early teens. But I would counterbalance that exposure with the fact that I'm pretty much a pacifist irl, there is no violence in the home and I am certain that how we actually behave towards each other as individuals has a far bigger effect on young minds than exposure to fantasy violence.



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Once upon a time, people believed that table-top games caused real life violence. Before that, it was literature to blame. Video games are just one of the more recent scapegoats, and like other forms of media and entertainment before them, no causal connection has ever been established.



DeadNotSleeping said:
Once upon a time, people believed that table-top games caused real life violence. Before that, it was literature to blame. Video games are just one of the more recent scapegoats, and like other forms of media and entertainment before them, no causal connection has ever been established.

100% truth.  The PMRC hearings in the 80's were the same kinds of fears, transferred to music.  Literally every form of media has had a moment where the exact same fears were screamed from the roof tops.



Here's a good paper regarding video games and violence. You'll be asked to pay unless you're in a university. One common mistake I see is that people tend to confuse competitiveness as violence.

Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S135917891000073X



They don't cause violence.  According to Anita Sarkeesian they cause misogyny because they brainwash you with things called "tropes".

edit: youth violence is dropping precipitiously despite the rise in popularity in violent videogames like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto.  Playing games can make you more aggressive but they don't cause people to go commit a violent act.  There's plenty of information on the web, googling isn't hard.