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

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

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @11:35AM (#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.

  • G.I.G.O. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @11:46AM (#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.
  • Re:Oblig. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @12:54PM (#43126065)

    "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.

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

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @12:59PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 09, 2013 @02:00PM (#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.

  • Re:G.I.G.O. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @04:59PM (#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.
  • Re:Crispy bacon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fishingmachine ( 1363025 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @06:01PM (#43127783)
    im a normal human being, and all of this vegetarian condemnation stuff is really annoying. not as annoying as their self righteousness but still annoying. and humans are omnivores, not debatable.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan