Study: Games Don't Spark Violence but Dysfunctional Families Do

March 25, 2008 -
A pair of new studies tend to dispel the notion that violent video games spark violent behavior.

GameCritics reports that the March issue of Criminal Justice and Behavior cites research from Texas A&M and the University of Wisconsin:

One study found that students who played shooter Medal of Honor: Allied Assault were no more aggressive afterward than another group which played the non-violent Myst III. From the research:
Although males appeared to prefer to play violent video games relative to females, there was no evidence from this study to suggest that people who prefer violent video games are more innately aggressive than those who do not...

The second project surveyed hundreds of students on issues such as domestic violence, past criminal behavior, aggression and gaming. The conclusion, from the study abstract: 
Results indicated that trait aggression, family violence, and male gender were predictive of violent crime, but exposure to violent games was not. Structural equation modeling suggested that family violence and innate aggression as predictors of violent crime were a better fit to the data than was exposure to video game violence. These results question the common belief that violent-video-game exposure causes violent acts.

Comments

@ StealthKnight

Holy crap! That's horrible. You should of complained to the dean or someone.

Gotta hate teachers that have some asinine rule about grading. I heard of one that refused to give students As. Another that only gave one A two B's, and everyone else got Cs or lower. I've always felt that if none or few of the students can earn an A in your class, you just fail as a teacher.

I think you'll find that most of the anti-game crowd is like that. You can give them a plenty of information and they ignore it. I've experienced it a few times.

Goatse doesn't spark violence

http://goatse.cx

This is great to see, and accolades for the people who actually utilize scientific method, thus making our case easier--since none of our foes have even attempted real science in support of their views.

Unfortunately, that very fact is a huge part of the problem. The anti-gamers have no evidence, nothing more than a desire to create something to blame for incomprehensible evils and something to throw money at so constituents feel their children are being kept safe even though the kids don't have good schools, any health care, or protection from real-world violence. So they ignore our arguments because they don't CARE what reality says, this is what they believe and so it must be true.

Why are human minds designed to accept only evidence cementing our preconceptions and ignore all else, even if our beliefs are thoroughly and blatantly wrong?

Sort of on-topic, just wondering if anybody's read this guy's experience yet?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_142/3052-The-...

Uhh, yeah, that first question was just griping.

I KNOW why, more or less. Cognitive dissonance has to be overcome in order to keep us functional; and it's easier to keep doing what we already are doing, and believe that which let us do so, than to change our actions and beliefs to suit reality.

What I really want to know is why people haven't bothered learning from history when its results are all displayed so prominently and the lessons not that much harder to unearth. Hopefully this type of report, one founded in scientific method, will continue to be joined by others until the evidence on our behalf becomes so overwhelming it can't be ignored.

Not that this would prevent people from TRYING to ignore the science. But then it wouldn't matter as much that so many politicians would rather waste money tilting at windmills than spend the vast quantities of money and effort it would take to actually fix the real issues as displayed so prominently in this report (and millions of others on social issues). Because then their fallacies would be obvious (and precedent againt them strong enough) to curtail a lot of the money wasted by anti-videogamers.

People have always been resistant to science, there's a long history of it which can be proven, rather ironically, by the science of statistics. Many people fear what they don't understand and of those, few make the effort to try and understand.

Especially in the cases where there was no prior history of direct violence, people usually look for a single causal factor which occured just before the incident and since little johnny never shot up his school with an AK74 before he got a wii, it must be the fault of the wii...

@Gameboy
Gotta hate teachers that have some asinine rule about grading. I heard of one that refused to give students As. Another that only gave one A two B’s, and everyone else got Cs or lower.

I had something similar last year in an assignment for project management, we had to make a gantt chart and the question specifically said "Do not include durations or dependencies" and then I got marked down for not including them. I asked for a review, the marker agreed that it was an error and then returned the assignment with an identical mark. I was going to complain but frankly I didn't give a fuck by then.

You'd think this would just be common sense...

Finally, the media and politicians will leave forever more cease to use video games as a scapegoat! Also, if some diety is granting miracles, I'd love another chance at having two arms...

@Stealthknight

Can you e-mail me (janarius_tango@hotmail.com) your paper on video games. Although, I'm not a psych prof, but I like to evaluate and constructively criticize research for and against video games. And anyone who wants to send their essay, please do.

Now on to the study:
The first study is certifiable good because it is a replication of previous studies, especially MoH vs. Myst III in which the previous study used Doom vs. Myst (Anderson & Dill, 2000).

The second study, I'm more skeptical about how it measured violent crime and family violence. Mainly they're self-report, so participants can potentially lie about their criminal behaviour or family violence. Although, it's a given in any research, but my main concern is whether beliefs of violent video games may impact participants' report of criminal behaviour or family violence.

Karsten -

I agree that economic standing will effect behavior. Its simple survival sometimes. Don't have enough money for food and shelter? Maybe breaking a couple of laws will be profitable enough to provide you with that. Of course you can say that it is a problem with the people committing the crimes, and in terms of violent crimes I'll gladly agree. But non-violent criminals that break laws for survival might very reflect a problem in society rather than the individual. I strongly believe there are other parties to blame than non-violent criminals because if you think about it crime is whatever the government decides is illegal. What if what they say is illegal really isn't that bad or the government is being dishonest about facts that surround any particular illegal instance. I think it all can chalked up to bad design or good design that has been bastardized.

He could never explain any of his generalized biases like, “bipolar people use there condition as a crutch is life..” He was a real bastard and said that my sources that supported us were “radical sources” despite the fact I got it from the APA directory it’s self and failed me with a 31. The highest was a 55 but he was a jerk about everyones paper. I recently dropped out of that class because I couldn’t stand his bullying of me and the BS he kept sprouting.

College is such a farce anymore. It used to be for higher education - now it's all about their personal agendas and axes they want to grind.

Common Sense prevails for once, thank God.

Studies of this nature - either for or against the argument that games cause violence - are worthless.

Hundreds of people think vampires are actually real and control the world, so does that sample size reflect any kind of truth?

Of course not!

These surveys and experiments need to test millions of people, not hundreds or even thousands.

@ Elalonna

Why would they only proves them wrong.

Personally I'm getting to the point where people blow millions of bucks on useless studies that if you went to a public high school for 30 minutes you'd go "Hot damn idiot was right" instead of blowing a couple 100,000.
Anyways I want to set up some sort of "Research Group" thats given grants by the US Congress to research things like "Why are [insert question that has a common sense answer]?" Completely blow the grant on just bs stuff, then come back and give them the common sense answer.

I think it would work, Congress has blown several million on stupid grants (such as and this is my favorite one: 'Why do kids listed to rock and/or roll") Who's with me?

@ jarrod

Video games aren't a factor at all.

well... now........................... i can't believe it! all this time! i thought i was gonna be a murderer because of game playing. HAHAH! about time! good work, Texas. seems the crazy southerners finally found a bit of sense. and wisconsin isn't cheesy at all!
 
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