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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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  • by MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @11:47AM (#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.

  • As a socialist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @12:48PM (#43126045)
    I take offense. Genuine offense too, not silly slashdotter offense. I do not believe "the government knows better than you". I believe you by yourself are simply too weak and ineffective to stand up to corporate oligarchy. I believe power naturally accumulates into the hands of a lucky few as it's passed down generation to generation. I believe that the dark ages are a think to be feared, and that Keynesian economics, which have been proven time and again, are a better answer than the writings of a fellow from the 1800s who couldn't imagine a telephone much less global communications.

    It's not that the government knows better, it's more complicated than that. That's the trouble with socialism. It's the complex answer to a complex problem. Libertarianism is the simple answer, the easy one. Simple answers always sound better, but I'll steal a fellow /.er's sig here to end: "For every complex problem there is a simple answer that is also wrong".
  • Re:As a socialist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @01:44PM (#43126359)

    That's the trouble with socialism. It's the complex answer to a complex problem.
    No it is not. Socialism means public ownership of the means of production and distribution, i.e. state ownership of the industry and central planning of the economy. That's simply what the word means (look it up in a dictionary) and what that ideology was always understood to represent. Just because "socialists" are embarrassed by the utter failure of their system wherever it was tried, doesn't mean you can simply pretend that a word with a clearly defined meaning now means something completely different. It may be that a complex mix of free market and government regulation is the best way (though I personally disagree) but that is commonly called "mixed economy", not "socialism". Btw. Keynes would be insulted if you called him a socialist to his face, and being and disgusting power-hungry evil bully as he was, it probably wouldn't be a good idea.

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

    by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <> on Saturday March 09, 2013 @01:57PM (#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.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.