Poll Results: Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?

March 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Last week we asked readers "Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?" The majority of those who participated in the poll said that there is enough research on the topic and it's time to move on.

Around 48 percent of votes cast said that there has been enough research and that we all know the effects that violent video games have on people. Around 27 percent of our readers think that more research is needed to fully understand how interactive entertainment affects us, while 24 percent said that more research is fine if it is from a fresh unbiased perspective.

Finally one percent were adamant that violent video games cause players to engage in real-world violence and more research is needed.

Thanks to everyone who voted in this week's poll. Look for a brand new poll later this week.

"Vote label" © 2013, 2014 Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.


Comments

Re: Poll Results: Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?

Yes, for sure it should. As the technology get more and more realistic, we need to see how that impacts behavior. Think about the virtual reality technology. These things might start having bigger impact. Realism I think plays a part in how immersed people get. I would say there is no harm in being more educated about how it might affect people. We can debate results, but I want there to be continued research.

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Re: Poll Results: Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?

We've seen this all before. The people who want more research want it because the research doesn't tell them what they want to hear. Denial is a powerful thing.

Re: Poll Results: Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?

Actually, I voted for more research because the first option was so beautifully written my sarcastic side would not allow me to vote for anything else.

Re: Poll Results: Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?

People also like the idea of shutting off discourse if they view themselves as 'winning'.

Thing is, we know media has an impact on people.  Books, radio, tv, movies, and yes, video games, all change how we view and interact with the world.

As gamers (esp those of us in the serious games arena) love talking about the power of games to inspire or teach, that they can be uplifting and engaging, but with those positive praises comes the inverse, that games can have negative impacts on the people playing them.

At the moment we have a reasonably good handle on how other types of media shape our behaviors and perceptions (though many deny those), but we know a lot less about what effect the interactivity of games has on this effect.  Exploring that has a lot of potential, if nothing else it helps designers (and players) be aware of what is going on and how to work with it.

Like it or not, our brains were not really built around differentiating fantasy from reality, so a lot of glithcy stuff happens at the lower levels and fantasy does become part of our norms.   Advertisers and other people trying to push an agenda make heavy use of this fact, and authors often unintentionally can use it to propagate their personal world view and biases into an audience.  Pretending it does not happen or believing ourselves immune just makes it more insidious and powerful, not less.

Re: Poll Results: Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?

With no disrespect at all intended, I would disagree with almost everything you've written.  :)  Honestly, I mean that in the spirit of cordial debate.  But I think we have to avoid "we know" statements to begin with.  Do "we" really know this?  I think people use "we know" statements to propose their personal opinions as fact.

There's also a lot of false equivalence in your statement.  I think we'd agree that media can different emotional impacts on us.  But that doesn't mean, therefore that every possible impact must be true.  Because rainbows make me feel good does not mean that video games make me want to shoot up a school.  If reading Uncle Tom's Cabin inspires me to be less racist, that does not mean that watching Gone with the Wind makes me racist again.  And if advertisers work hard to make me drink Pepsi instead of Coke, that does not mean that playing Grand Theft Auto makes me want to punch someone. 

And there's a wealth of research out there to demonstrate that even the brains of young children begin to distinguish between reality and fiction.  Of course that's an ability that develops over time, but suggesting our brains can't distinguish reality from fiction seems quite counterintuitive both to research data and life experience. 

What would really be interesting in research is to dial things back, start over, drop the "we know" perspective that has likely been problematic in biasing research and look at ways in which people select media to get certain kind of effects and how any one form of media could have different effects on different users depending on their motivations.

Re: Poll Results: Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?

I want more research because a lot of the research to date has been shoddy and biased.  We need honest research so that we can actually make use of the results in our decision-making, whatever those results may turn out to be.

Re: Poll Results: Should Violent Video Game Research Continue?

Uh, no. I want more research because otherwise all we're going to get is bought research. We need research that's as objective as possible and points out what we already know, so that we can shut up those damn idiots that use faulty research to argue their case.

 
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