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If Video Games Make People Violent, So Do Pictures of Snakes 161

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-drones dept.
New submitter phenopticon writes with this nugget from an intriguing piece at Gamasutra that adds another voice to the slow-burn debate on the psychological effects of video games: "For nearly thirty years we've been having this discussion, asking the question: do violent movies, music or video games make people violent? Well according to Brad Bushman and Craig Anderson of Iowa State University, yes. Based on the results of their research they concluded in 2001 that video games and violent media can make people aggressive and violent. Based upon their data and their conclusions, however, it's safe to say that photos of snakes, crispy bacon, or a particularly rigorous game of chess can also make people aggressive and violent."
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If Video Games Make People Violent, So Do Pictures of Snakes

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  • by cashman73 (855518) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:23AM (#43125635) Journal
    Obligatory: "Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf**king snakes on this motherf**king plane!"
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I agree with banning snakes.

  • Video Game Developer Defends Video Games, News at Eleven.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:26AM (#43125649)

    I fucking hate it when my bacon's burnt.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    is what makes me violent!

  • No shit (Score:4, Funny)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:28AM (#43125661)
    I'd get mad too if someone wasted good bacon by burning it. Hate crispy bacon.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    While I don't think playing video games makes the individual violent, I'm curious to see the presence of violence in groups; and to an extent, how it affects or shapes the culture's view of violence. Do we become desensitized or do we accept certain forms of violence to be entertainment (ex.: arantino movies). And from there, does the culture make the individual violent?

    Anyways, I have a feeling that violence in media is much more complicated than a cause/ effect test in a lab for a few weeks. We've tried t

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:30AM (#43125673)
    I checked the original article. It doesn't support the claims about bacon. I guess it's still safe to eat breakfast. At least, safe for my family and friends. Maybe not so safe for my heart.
    • Maybe he was referring to crispy snake bacon - you know, like horse beef burgers. It is guaranteed to make anybody violent.
    • by bitt3n (941736)

      I checked the original article. It doesn't support the claims about bacon. I guess it's still safe to eat breakfast. At least, safe for my family and friends. Maybe not so safe for my heart.

      The reverse is also true. I ate my family and friends for breakfast and now my bacon is safe. At least until lunch.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is nothing but a regicide simulator.

  • 30 years? try 60 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:35AM (#43125701)
    Sixty years ago it was comic books. Fifty years ago rock 'n roll music.

    Back in the 1930s I guess it was talkies, so they brought in the Hayes Code.

    Whatever is the "new" media" is assumed to be evil and corrupting.

    It might be, but you do have to prove it.

    • It might be, but you do have to prove it.

      You mean our buying habits and election results aren't proof enough?

    • by Zumbs (1241138)

      Fifty years ago rock 'n roll music.

      And have you seen what have happened? Why since the 1950s, women have entered the job market, contraceptives are freely available, abortion has been legalized, pornography has been legalized, and the blacks have gained civil rights all over the US! I would not be surprised if many of the scare-moralizing people warning of the dangers of rock'n'roll would be appalled.

    • Re:30 years? try 60 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Saturday March 09, 2013 @12:57PM (#43126451) Homepage

      Back in the 1930s I guess it was talkies, so they brought in the Hayes Code.

      Actually, the discussion goes back at least 2400 years. It was one of the points of difference between Plato and Aristotle. Plato thought media (theater, poetry and music back then) caused people to emulate what was being presented, while Aristotle was of the opinion it actually helped people release the tension and thus not go around killing, raping and such.

      Generation after generation afterwards -- at what amounts to at least 120 generations, give or take -- there have been people arguing for either camps, with no consensual conclusion having ever been reached.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Sixty years ago it was comic books

      Sixty years ago comics were distributed indiscriminately through news stands, cigar stores, and other outlets. The soft core bondage porn of True Detective on sale a half step away from Archie and Donald Duck.

      The hard core stuff sold under the counter.

      Crime and horror comics tried to reach out to older teens and adults who had discovered the 25 cent pulp fiction paperback novels of the rough-cut Mickey Spillane --- but it was pretty crude and exploitive stuff, no matter how collectible the cover art looks

    • Were people really saying that about comic books 50 years ago? I sure don't remember that but then I was in the Navy and mostly out of the US. Of course they were saying that reading lots of comics might stifle ones reading ability (include TV here). They were right about TV IMHO.

      The Hays code was expressly designed to ensure movies were not sending a message of immorality - which kinda translates to "don't show or imply anything which might suggest sex" and make sure everything is in "good taste".

      • by 1u3hr (530656)

        Were people really saying that about comic books 50 years ago?

        The Comics Code, formed 1954. Their stamp was on the cover of just about every comic until about 2001.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics_Code_Authority [wikipedia.org]

        The Comics Code Authority was formed by the Comics Magazine Association of America, to allow the comic publishers to self-regulate the content of comic books in the United States. It was formed as an alternative to government regulation. ...Fredric Wertham's 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent had rallied opposition to this type of material in comics, arg

        • How about that! Some time around 1945-1948 my mother objected to me reading comics and I replied that there was a stamp/icon on then that said that some educational group approved the comics. She must have rolled her eyes. I had quit reading them before 1954. There was a great rise of "juvenile delinquency", especially in cities, at that time and "experts" came up with all sorts of reasons, completely untested reasons mostly. We now know that much if it was due to lead from leaded gasoline and from lea

  • by Sique (173459) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:36AM (#43125705) Homepage
    90% of all violent perpetrators ate carbohydrates the day before their killing spree. And 95% of all violent perpetrators consume caffeine at least once per week. 99% have been moving on public roads recently.
  • That explains why I would scatter the pieces around the room when I lost at chess

    ...

    back when I was still in single digits.

  • Oblig. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Psicopatico (1005433) <(moc.nzz.otturle ... a) (ocitapocisp)> on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:43AM (#43125733)
    "If Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."
    (Kristian Wilson - Creator of Pac-Man - 1989)

    [I know this quote is a comedina joke and not an original one, but whatever it expresses exactly my tougths on the subject.]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jd2112 (1535857)

      "If Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." (Kristian Wilson - Creator of Pac-Man - 1989)

      Sounds a lot like a rave party.

    • So ancient tribes playing their drumbs repetitively to induce a Trance state played pack-man?

  • G.I.G.O. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:46AM (#43125763)
    For impressionable minds, GIGO applies, Garbage In, Garbage Out. To have a a young mind exposed to images of violence and expect that they aren't influenced by it would be a ridiculous arguement, imo.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      I think people always used to be exposed to that sort of stuff, it's just in the relative recent past we've had the option of avoiding that sort of exposure. Between war and just the process of getting that burnt bacon on the table, you'd have to be very familiar with death.

    • So why do we consume the crap we produce? With our social freedoms in the US (relative to the rest of the world), are we letting our primal nature short our long term vision of an everlasting and functional civilization? So far, all indications would point towards 'yes'.

      Oh look, Shiny!!!

    • Re:G.I.G.O. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Solandri (704621) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @03:59PM (#43127441)
      The key point isn't whether or not they are influenced by graphic imagery. It's how much they're influenced by it. Even if you assume/accept that young impressionable minds are influenced by violent imagery, if the magnitude of the effect is on the same scale as viewing pictures of bacon, then it's not really a concern.

      If the magnitude of the effect of using a cell phone while driving were similar to that of changing the station on the radio, then that's really not worth worrying about. But it turns out the magnitude of the effect is similar to or greater than driving while drunk, which warrants laws prohibiting the behavior.
    • by rizole (666389)
      I took the word violence out of your sentance and came upnwith this: To have a a young mind exposed to images and expect that they aren't influenced would be a ridiculous arguement, imo.
    • But to say that it makes them into killers or has any significant effect on them is just as ridiculous, in my opinion. As far as I know, crime statistics don't demonstrate either.

  • The fact that we're still arguing about this is kinda depressing. I admit that there are some violent, awful games, but I personally could state a list of incredibly good games, games which carry a more powerful message than a lot of books or film, and simply could not achieve that without being at least a little violent and visceral.

    This article does bring up the interesting point, that violent media has equal potential to make people violent, no matter what form of media it is (the 2-minutes hate from
    • Video games, or pictures of snakes is not what the debate is about. Its about gun control. Since there are so many people all gung-ho to trample on the rights of others, people like the NRA are doing to you what you do to them. They are blaming what you like to distract from you taking away what they like, the only difference is they have a constitutional amendment protecting them. Since so many are DEMANDING something gets done, ask yourself what is easier for Congress to accomplish: Banning constituti

      • by hedwards (940851)

        The difference is that video games don't kill people and guns do. Regardless of what the 2nd amendment folks say, the reality is that guns are more likely to be used to kill the owner than anybody else and that banning them would result in a decreased death rate from them.

        I'm not saying that we necessarily want to go that route, but it's more a penis size issue than legitimate defense issue as there's no way in hell you'd be able to overthrow the government with the weapons that are generally accepted to be

        • by CncRobot (2849261)

          Nor are you likely to ever need one for self defense if you're not doing stupid things.

          Facts [justfacts.com]. Guns are used for self defense about 989,000 times a year around the year 2000 in the US. Guns are used for murder about 10,000 times a year. Don't make up statements that the facts clearly show are wrong.

          This is EXACTLY my point, hedwards is litterally making stuff up to deamonize law abiding citizens and claiming they should have no right to protect themsleves. This is the reason the NRA is attacking video games and the movie industry, but people are demanding something gets done and the NRA i

          • by Entropius (188861)

            The thing about the use of guns for self-defense, additionally, is that there is the possibility of a snowball effect. If the possibility of victims being armed deters crime (the thesis of the gun-rights crowd), then even unarmed people benefit from their peaceful neighbors being armed. I used to live in a shitty neighborhood in Baltimore (and, before that, a shitty neighborhood in Washington); I don't own a gun and don't have the experience necessary to carry one safely, but I would have been happier if so

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:47AM (#43125767)

    The article is a far more interesting read than the misleading headline and summary. A lot of it focuses on the idea that the "... discussion should not focus upon violent video games or violent visual media, it should focus on risk factors that might cause media to affect different people in different ways."

    Unfortunately the social sciences are incredibly complex. There are a multitude of variables that are incredibly difficult to control, and any effort to control those variables would be shot down by ethics or create a significant bias in the experimental sample.

    While things such as the physiological response of game players is interesting, I would be far more interested in learning about the long term impact on attitudes and behaviours. Alas, the studies that I have seen in the media have not really addressed those issues. As such they tend to be divisive among the general public, who tend to interpret the results on way or another based upon their personal beliefs.

    I would also be interested in seeing meaningful longitudinal studies. Yet those have major issues because of the dynamics of technology and society. Even the most graphic violence of video games in the 1980s would border on the implicit violence of modern video games. Part of that relates to the inherent graphical and storage space limitations of the past (restricted storage space limited the ability to tell a story). Part of that relates to the more mature subjects of modern games as the demographic has expanded from children to adults.

  • Picture this: having to pay your taxes! It makes me SO DMN AGGRESSIVE..
    So: it's safe to conclude taxes are bad.

  • ...not any more than anything else. And you know, people have been violent since LONG before current pop culture has and for some reason, I think the violence was actually WORSE than it is today... or perhaps simply more sanitary and remote.

    • http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/images/murderrate.png [deathpenaltyinfo.org]

      In the early '90s the U.S. murder rate dropped significantly. One would think if video games made people violent that the opposite effect would have occurred.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        That doesn't do much to account for WHO is murdering. That drop is significant, I imagine, but knowing which demographic groups are contributing less to the statistical count would be worthy of note. After all, video games are not played by all. Does the reduction coincide with [potential] gamers?

  • And threaten the People with violence if they have those things.

    To reduce violence.

  • Before we laud modern entertainment for how violent it is, lets remember what was considered normal entertainment in the past:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_baiting [wikipedia.org]

  • Some tragedy happens, perhaps a mass murder like newtown, and people who want power come out and seek to use it to control people who are scared.

    Perhaps the first thing they try is to invoke a visceral response to some aspect of the tragedy, the tools used, for instance. "Let's ban guns," they say, then the tragedy wouldn't happen because the perpetrator wouldn't have the tools (conveniently ignoring the possibility that a different tool would be used...)

    Some recognize this for what it is - a manipulative

    • Not really... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @11:59AM (#43126089)
      I don't see much grand standing going on. Nobody runs on gun control. It's a losing issue. Google Bill Clinton and gun control and you'll find him talking about how he lost congress over it. Pro-Gun people are single issue voters. Ironically you could take away every real freedom they have and so long as you left their guns alone they're OK (that's what it means to be a single issue voter, btw).

      The anti-gun lobby is not gunning (pun) for power. They genuinely believe gun control will help. Socialized medicine and treatment for the mentally ill would help more, but they lost that battle when the health insurance lobby spent over a billion dollars to convince you the that health care was a limited resource because, hell, it's not like we couldn't train a 100,000 doctors a year for the price of America's private jets (you do the math, that's what I came up with using very, very conservative numbers).

      So the people that want the shooting to stop gave up on treating the mentally ill and they're trying to just control things. I think they'll lose, but on the plus side it's put the corporate bastards on the defensive. I'll take what I can get.
      • Pro-Gun people are single issue voters. Ironically you could take away every real freedom they have and so long as you left their guns alone they're OK

        Any evidence of that, or just your say-so? I imagine most libertarians would be pro-gun, and they're definitely not single-issue voters. Besides, if nobody runs on gun-control, surely the pro-gun voters must have some other criteria, or they'd never vote in the first place.

        hell, it's not like we couldn't train a 100,000 doctors a year for the price of America's private jets

        Well, you couldn't, because the supply is controlled by the AMA, and adequate supply would remove their ability to dictate price. And there's certainly no need to go "nationalising" private property in order to fund any training you might

      • If you have guns, most other freedoms are easily come by.

  • I guess this explains the antics of some of the big-name chess masters.

  • Video games are a form of art. We must be allowed to express anything in the boundaries of art. If someone however mixes up real world with fantasy, and for example gets violent against real people, it's his own fault and he oughta be punished. If someone can not make the clear distinction between the two, something is wrong with the person, not in games.

    Not to forget that there's many successful pacific games too, such as the Portal series.

  • at lot and it relieves LOTS of stress/anger which is caused by me spending anywherre from 1-3 hours of driving to work in the morning. (I usually have to pick up supplies at my wholesalers)

    if someone goes out and does violence after playing a violent video game they're already fucked in the head. If kids are spending all of their waking non school hours infront of a game with out sociolizing obviouslt they're gonna grow up to be social retards but thats the parents fault.

    • I think video games today and those of the past are DIFFERENT. I remember enjoying violent bloody games, partially because they were so un-P.C. They had no story, were visually they were abstract, and were not as engrossing... that is, they didn't try to become a movie version of "choose your own adventure" putting you into the role of a main character to role play.

      Therapists are trained to use various kinds of role playing to work thru emotional problems; including hypnosis - where you re-live experience

  • Try sports if you want violence. Can you say Soccer Hooligans or Hockey Fans? People have been killed over a little league game. Can you say the same about video games? The point they try to make is there's something special about video games that make people violent where as there's zero evidence of that. What about banning violent sports? Just try to claim boxing doesn't make people more aggressive? People want an easy answer. Take away guns and people become fluffy kittens. Ban violent video games and sc
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 09, 2013 @01:00PM (#43126465)

    I'm from the generation that first got called to task for violent video games... Mortal Combat, Splatterhouse, Doom, etc...
    I continued on and love to play intense games even today.
    Once you have kids, you view of these things change,however.

    Some people will change less, some more, but it affects you. You can see it happening inside them. Distancing themselves from consequences. Making aggression be the first response to a situation. In most kids, their response is subtle, and they can "handle it", but the question is should you glorify it?
    Video games are an escape... this is true. It is fine for you to escape from consequences, and enjoy fantasy, but it's what you take back to the real world that defines whether you can handle it or not.
    Many games are about being a hero and doing the right thing and there happens to be gore and violence along with it. But you are not behaving violent to celebrate it. Your character is being violent because he must to accomplish the task, save the girl, save the planet etc.
    Games that turn this on its head are entertaining to those who understand the escape it provides ( who didn't love GTA when it came out? )
    However if you are too young and don't have the life experience or morality to offset it, these games server to numb children to violence and do not give them the right skills to manage real world scenarios. It only confuses them.

    You may think I am overreacting here, but please read this with a tone of reason. I am not saying violent video games should be banned, or anything outrageous. I do say, however that people should use good judgement and never assume that children are little adults. They do not function or learn the same way as adults. They do not have the maturity to understand and it will affect them.

    More studies should be done about this, and I think that the video game industry should continue their classification system and encourage parents to take ti seriously.

    I rambled a bit there, but hopefully someone takes something good away from this.

    • Once you have kids, you view of these things change,however.

      And I suppose you speak for all parents, don't you?

      • Give it a rest. Yes, he could have said "Once I had kids, my views...." instead of "Once you have kids, you view ". But what he's saying, in my experience, is mostly true, if not always true for everyone.

        Once people have kids, their views on many things do tend to change. You tend to become more protective, and see issues more in terms of how they affect the child, rather than how they directly affect you. It happened to everyone I know. It happened to me.

        I guess you're different. Or you don't have c

        • Yes, he could have said "Once I had kids, my views...." instead of "Once you have kids, you view ".

          Indeed he could have. But it doesn't mean much for the correctness of someone's previous beliefs when his/her views change to begin with.

          But what he's saying, in my experience, is mostly true, if not always true for everyone.

          Well, my point was that I've seen a few parents who aren't paranoid and irrational.

  • DRM makes people violent.

  • If Video Games Make People Violent, So Do Pictures of Snakes

    What's the "if" about? According to this study, video games can make people violent. Pictures of snakes can also make people violent. But one does not follow from/is not dependent on the other. Also:

    Based on the results of their research they concluded in 2001

    I know Slashdot can be a little slow on the uptake at times, but this is ridiculous!

  • Looking at snakes does not cause violence. It just makes you start chanting something about badgers and mushrooms.

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