Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

April 5, 2011 -

A new study from Simmons College researchers comes to the conclusion that children exposed to more violent games for longer periods of time are less able to sympathize with others. The new study published in the Journal of Children and Media surveyed 166 Boston, MA and southern New Hampshire schoolchildren. The study was overseen by Simmons College professors Edward T. Vieira and Marina Krcmar. They examined the relationship between violent games and kids' attitudes toward violence.

The duo surveyed children age 7-15 about their favorite games, how many hours a week they played, and questions to gauge their ability to sympathize with others, to see things from another person's perspective, and whether they saw violence as an appropriate response in situations where it would be deemed justified or unjustified. The favorite "violent games" included Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Counter Strike, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and World of Warcraft.

"To make a judgment about violence, at least two skills are necessary," the paper read. "First, a child must be able to imagine the point-of-view of both parties in the aggressive conflict. Second, he/she should be able to feel some sympathy or imagine some sympathy towards each party. Only at this point can a moral judgment be appropriately made."

The researchers found that children with more exposure to violent games were less able to sympathize with others and that violent game players tended to have different perceptions on whether justified violent acts were permissible. The same group that had trouble being sympathetic also were more likely to accept unjustified violence, researchers said.

"Those who play more violent video games perceive violence in the name of retaliation and self-protection as more justified, much like the view of violence presented in video games," the paper continued.

Obviously there are limitations to this study including small sample size, and the fact that it is simply a survey. We're also not sure how the questions were phrased, and if participants were given a list of games to choose from or made their own choices. Below is what one of the study's researchers told GameSpot:

"Exposure to violent video games is directly associated with justified violence," Edward T. Vieira told GameSpot. "Therefore, there are cases where violence is justified such as self-defense or defending loved ones. One might have a 'normal' ability to empathize, for example, and see some types of violence as acceptable. We could apply this to societal issues such as capital punishment and wars."

"On the other hand, the study suggests that children who are heavy violent gamers are associated with less perspective-taking (empathy ability) and less perspective-taking predicts gratuitous violence (unjustified) as acceptable. This appears to make sense, because it suggests that there is no 'reason' for the violence; it is done for its own sake or some emotional motive. It intimates that the unjustified condition requires other factors such as perspective-taking. Therefore, the unjustified condition does involve gaming exposure, but gaming exposure mediated by the cognitive ability to perspective-take."

Source: GameSpot

Comments

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

People consider my very caring and i've been palying violet games since Mortal Kombat 2.

Irks me that they tak data from such a small group and apply it to all.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

That is an interesting study but waaay too limited in scope to draw any conclusions from. Personaly, and I know anectodal evidence means nothing scientifically, I grew up with videogames from a young age, many of them violent. I would consider myself to be very sympathetic and caring in regards to other people, even those that are often demonized by our culture, like Muslims today and illegal immigrants.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

New observational study shows researchers who do studies on violent video games tend to be biased, unprofessional, incompetent in their assumptions, unable to do thorough research, are incapable of analyzing their participants as complex individuals, and tend to lie, deceive, even distort the truth for their own agendas.

And comparing the repetitive "studies" done by researchers as the above, observational research is far more accurate than the methods THEY use.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

isn't that a common factor in almost any study, especially the ones sponsored by one group or another?

the thing is, most people tend to be simple minded enough to just take whatever their told, as long as the aforementioned group gets the "results" they wanted, they can further convince people that their cause is correct, and many won't question this logically.

thus we find the major issue in releasing these half baked studies in the first place, and not contending them, or at least running some sort of damage cleanup.

Fox news is the prime example of BS gone awry, and people still swear by them.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

I stopped caring about other people once I turned libertarian

what now, punk?

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

I'd flip this one around. If they want to imply causality - how about - the children are less sympathetic to others therefore they play "violent " games...

As an aside, I agree even the statement that there is correlation is weak at best.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

No examples of what they consider "unjustified" violence, I mean what scenarios did they question these kids about?  Also, to what extent was the form of acceptable violence?  Were the kids talking about punching someone, or shooting them in the face?  If we're talking about someone i school sytematically harassing you, there's a big difference from sucker punching him, and bringing a gun to class.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

World of Warcraft. Violent game. Right.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

Might just be that kids who don't like that kinda violence don't play the games. Where's the evidence that the games caused it?

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

 Exactly. The people behind this study are not taking into account the pre-existing personalities of the kids in these studies and thus bascially claiming that violent video games are the CAUSE of their feelings. Fact of the matter is though, gamers like to play games that MATCH their pre-existing interests. If they like Sports they will likely play sports games, If they like cars they will likely play racing games, if they have little problem with violence or like violence then they will play violence, and if they were raised to hate violence then they probably won't be playing those games.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

Exactly my thoughts. There's no causality here, only correlation (if even that).

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

I'd want to know if they controlled for other important variables. Bivariate correlations don't mean much and are often inflated.  Unfortunately I don't have access to this particular article...

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

Nonsense. If correlation wouldn't equal causation we surely would have heard of it by now.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

That's a pretty broad range of "violent games" (as I've said many times before): FPSes, Sandbox, Fighter, and even a MMORPG, ranging from Teen to Mature. And all these make kids less sympathetic to others than...who? Kids who were exposed to less violent games? Non-violent games? Or no games at all? There doesn't seem to be a lot of research into counter-study (and rarely ever is).

 
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Should ‘sexism’ factor into a video game’s rating?:

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MechaTama31What was wrong with Remember Me? I liked that one... >.>11/20/2014 - 8:50pm
AvalongodI tend to see the violence and sexism issues as different. Historically we know that the violence issue is overblown. But sexism is real. Better representations of women in games WILL happen.11/20/2014 - 7:35pm
Andrew EisenAnd unless I completely missed it, there's nothing in there about "how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta look deep for it."11/20/2014 - 5:10pm
Andrew EisenSeriously, you're upset, irked and fearful over an opinion piece that suggests the Pokemon demo would be better with more options and a better-written female character? SERIOUSLY?!11/20/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://gamasutra.com/blogs/PugetAlain/20141118/230420/Nearly_Ripped_off_to_death_by_a_publisher__Get_better_by_yourself_and_wait_for_justice_Maybe.php Topware screws over an indie studio because they can.11/20/2014 - 5:01pm
Andrew EisenAre you SURE you provided the right link?11/20/2014 - 4:59pm
prh99And yeah that sucks, especially when bonuses are tied to it, but that is more a problem with crappy publisher policies and scoring in general than any discussion on what may or may no be sexism in games.11/20/2014 - 4:59pm
prh99But no one is on their legislative high horse or on the litigation war path, for that matter. The biggest effect is that a reviewer might give it a lower score and drag down their meta critic ranking.11/20/2014 - 4:56pm
Wonderkarpyup11/20/2014 - 4:51pm
Andrew EisenOh for crying out loud. Wonderkarp, I apologize for how rude this question is but seriously, did you actually read that article?11/20/2014 - 4:47pm
Wonderkarpits a stigma. people in power hear this crap and start getting on their legislative high horse. but I feel like we've already paid too much attention too a demo.11/20/2014 - 4:46pm
Andrew EisenHarm gaming how?11/20/2014 - 4:35pm
Wonderkarpcause it gets parroted around and is used by people to harm gaming like Jack Thompsons did with Violence. http://www.themarysue.com/pokemon-oras-sexism/ here's the article.11/20/2014 - 4:28pm
Andrew EisenNo idea why such an opinion would upset or irk you so I'd be interested in reading it. Got a link?11/20/2014 - 4:13pm
Wonderkarplook deep for it....reaching much. those kinds of people are what urk me.11/20/2014 - 4:07pm
WonderkarpI got upset the other day when a known feminist blog wrote a large article on how the demo to Pokemon Omega Ruby was Sexist cause you couldnt play as a girl. It was a Demo....who cares? but they went off on how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta11/20/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenHere's the panel that Sarkeesian quote from earlier comes from. Amazing what the proper context does, isn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0qxtKz2vZw11/20/2014 - 3:32pm
NeenekoSomething to keep in mind, we tend to look at physics as 'hard', but math and physics are trivial compared to soc/psych (I have worked in both), but FEELS like it should be simplier.11/20/2014 - 3:17pm
NeenekoI think what tends to make discussing sexism in games difficult is scale, the issues tend to be systemic in nature, but bite sized examples are not... and the systemic part ties into a lot of dry academic stuff requiring domain knowledge not everyone has.11/20/2014 - 3:16pm
Wonderkarpand I jumped for joy when the Cogs went multigendered in GOW. but I also like male protagonists like Kratos or Nathan Drake or Link.11/20/2014 - 2:58pm
 

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