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Professor: Violent Game Effects Are "Massive And Significant"

Now, science isn't merely suggesting it; they're saying it: Violent video games increase aggression.

Ohio St. University communication and psychology professor Brad Bushman gave a presentation in Provo last night, and his findings are stunningly clear. According to a report in the Deseret News, Bushman, who has been studying violent media for a quarter-century, says violent gaming does have a profound impact on people.

He reviewed 381 studies that featured over 130,000 participants, and his conclusion is as follows:

"Playing violent video games increases aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, emotional arousal, and aggression."

Bushman added that violent games can make players "numb to the pain and suffering of others" and "all these effects are massive and statistically significant." If you're one of those people who say there aren't enough studies concerning the effects of violent video games, the professor simply says you "don't know what you're talking about." Reasons people may not want to believe his findings? Denial, the third-person effect, false reasoning, cognitive dissonance, and an aversion toward being told what to do.

Bushman specifically cited the common excuse about how gamers say they've played violent games all their lives, and they've never "murdered anyone." He says this is irrelevant because basically, "nobody ever murders." In general, he wants to protect children, which I'm all for:

"We don't let our kids smokes cigarettes, drink beer, or play with guns. Let's protect our children. Let's make sure they don't consume age-inappropriate media."

I'm not going to disagree. I'm absolutely certain violent games - and violent media of all kinds - generate increased aggression in kids. I've been saying that for years; it's an absolute fact, as Bushman said. But what I want is video game studies that target adults, not kids. We've already got the ratings system; therefore, it's incumbent upon parents to understand that and act accordingly. If any of these products actually affected stable, rational adults, then you've got a headline.

Until then, I've only got one response to this: "Well, duh."

Tags: violent video games, violent games, video game study, violent game study

2/14/2014 12:18:24 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (24 posts)

Underdog15
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 12:41:19 PM
Reply

Yeah, nothing new. It's not like it could possibly have zero effect, and it's not going to make people want to ride unicorns in rainbow valleys.

For me, I'm curious to hear what his eventual critics will say. (Real, academic critics) I'm also curious to know, in adults, do the positives outweigh the negatives or not.

For kids, well, yeah... duh.

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Akuma07
Sunday, February 16, 2014 @ 8:50:51 PM

I wonder what games he included in his research.

"Playing violent video games increases aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, emotional arousal, and aggression."

That right there, sounds like me a few hours into a Battlefield 4 or COD session. I mean, I get pissed when things continuously don't work out for me in a game, a lot of people do, I personally know guys who have broken controllers and TV's because of being pissed at a game.

This research just confirms that people get angry when playing a game, big deal!! I get angry when I watch the news as well, does that mean that the national news can turn me into a serial killer?

Once again, this 'study' proves nothing, and is just a supposed professional blowing hot air. These guys just talk big so that people throw money at them for 'scientific' research.

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telly
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 12:43:01 PM
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I don't appreciate his comparison of video games to cigarettes -- the beer analogy works better. No question the stuff is dangerous for kids. For adults, in moderation, it can enrich your life. No offense to smokers out there (I used to myself) but cigarettes are objectively terrible for everyone. That's the sort of comparison we need to actively avoid -- that no matter what your age, video games are poisonous to your health and you're better off without them entirely.

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Underdog15
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 2:00:11 PM

hmm, that's a good point.

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Akuma07
Sunday, February 16, 2014 @ 8:54:19 PM

Ummmmm.

Beer is equally as bad for you. So even the alcohol analogy doesn't work. Alcohol is literally a poison in your body. Hence why people die from consuming too much.

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TheUglyBassist
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 12:44:22 PM
Reply

I recently had someone telling me they bought GTA V for his teenage son. He went on to say, "They really mean it when they have an M rating, huh? The language in the violence in that game is incredible. I mean, is that really necessary." All I could think was, "duh? M 17+ is the equivalent to an R rated movie. What exactly were you expecting?". I don't get it. People seem to understand what an R rating is but not an M rating. I guess they really fixate on that ridiculous stereotype that video games are for little kids.

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Teddie9
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 11:10:21 PM

I would've told him what you were thinking (perhaps without the duh :p).

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 2:36:32 PM
Reply

Nobody ever murders huh? News to me.

But yeah let's keep kids away from all adult media, including porn.

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telly
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 3:45:54 PM

Finding out the best ways to shield kids from adult content -- along with adult weapons, adult cars, adult booze, etc. -- should be one of the central, persistent questions of any civilized society. It's too bad we waste time on tangents that miss that central point.

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Akuma07
Sunday, February 16, 2014 @ 8:52:10 PM

@telly
We don't need to find new ways to do this. There is one rock solid, 100% effective method of keeping children aware from inappropriate media.

GOOD PARENTING!

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trumpetmon65
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 3:53:53 PM
Reply

Hmmm... Maybe this explains why I've been hankering a good murder spree. You know, after yesterday's went so well.

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butcherknife
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 4:26:01 PM
Reply

Since I don't think people are going to stop letting children watch violent TV/movies or stop playing violent video games, the question becomes...What can parents and other caregivers do to combat the potential increased aggressiveness?

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PC_Max
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 4:34:34 PM
Reply

Ummm. Okay, everyone, I hope agrees that violent, sexual content and such should be restricted by age. In other words a 9 year old should be playing GTA, Killzone and the like. Most of this is common sense, but as we all know, many do not have this. Yep its generalizing but I said many, not most or all. Just like those who play the car sims and then try it out in the real word.

Anyway, Ben I agree I would like to see how it affects adults. Unfortunately I can guess it will be affected by economics and such if basing it on people from all walks of life. It would be tough and they would probably have to focus on one particular economic group.

Problem too is, what of those kids that are now adults affected by this? How would that affect research.

Damage is done.. or not.

For now it just comes down to using common sense with out kids. We love them, we want to protect them as well as engage them. Common sense.

Granted, we cannot watch out kids other parents/kids homes and thats where it gets tough. Trusting other parents to do the common sense thing. And you just can't.

Keep playing, be safe, do your best with your kids! You cannot rely on others.

Peace!

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Lawless SXE
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 6:03:45 PM
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What I would really like to know is over what sort of period to these increases in aggression and anger last and are they tied directly to a single session, or just playing in general? Because I've seen studies that say both are the case and other that point to only the first.

In any case, it really goes without saying that things like GTA aren't suitable for kids. I mean... who would even try to contest that?

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matt99
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 6:32:28 PM

That's exactly what I want to know too, because even after action heavy movies like rambo or die hard you can feel a bit amped up, but it fades pretty quickly. Which is why studies that basically have players fill out a questionnaire before and after a gaming session don't actually provide much useful info.

It's the long term effects that I want to know about. Although, since basically every entertainment medium contains violence I'm not sure how you'd figure out what was making people more aggressive.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 7:24:39 PM

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2014/02/09/violent-video-games-can-turn-kids-into-progressive-intellectuals/

Here's something interesting.

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Broady
Saturday, February 15, 2014 @ 5:22:55 AM

That's a good article - raises so many of the points we put on here, and never seem to make it to the general media!
Shame that this isn't reported on the big news sites, like the author says at the start - headlines are used as 'click-bait' - "We love to click on links that could potentially reinforce things we already believe but have no foundation on which to ground our irrational belief."

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matt99
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 6:38:32 PM
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It seems that video games' biggest problem is still that they're considered something for kids. Literally every time violent games are mentioned it's in relation to their effects on kids. We as the gaming community need to keep making it clear that not all games are for kids. I think once this fact gets absorbed by the general (non-gaming) population, violence in games won't be such a big issue.

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Knightzane
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 6:53:33 PM
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Just got back from running people over. Then, I stopped and got me some cocaine and some meth. After I'm good and completely bombed, going to go on my weekly killing spree because video games make me want to kill people.

Correction, people make me want to kill people. Not literally but sometimes people are so damn disrespectful and are the kind to purposely speed up over a puddle if they see you walking. The new studies should be "Does todays worries shadow tomorrows deaths?" Meaning of course, does the crap everyone worries about regarding video games and movies have anything to do with the kids being bullied at school who eventually can't take anymore and decide to get them back?

Course not because if it has anything to do with something like that, its not possible. It has to be the talking dogs and the television telling kids and adults to do the stuff they do.

Really tired of this complete blindness to the real issues at hand.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 8:20:10 PM
Reply

yeah thats what i keep telling my little cousin is ratings are there for a reason they just haven't ever affected me that much just cos i've more or less growen up with games so age restrictions just don't bother me cos i'm old enough and will be for the rest of my life as for agression and desenseitising empithy(i am a bad speller forgive me i suck at english) i have been rasied right so i have my feelings for people when they get hurt physically or emotionally i feel for them that hasn't changed.

happy gaming =)

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wiiplay
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 8:24:37 PM
Reply

The NSA is most definitely watching this thread. :p
Just look at all the gamers! Er, I mean... Killers!

Last edited by wiiplay on 2/14/2014 8:25:21 PM

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bldudas1
Friday, February 14, 2014 @ 9:32:33 PM
Reply

Know what else causes aggression? cute things. Seriously.
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/study-a-physically-aggressive-response-to-puppies-is-completely-normal/267408/

But really, these games aren't meant for children. Any child that is playing a violent game does so because of a clueless or non-caring adult. If these games affect adults, then there is a problem already there.

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Amnesiac
Saturday, February 15, 2014 @ 6:16:05 AM
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To me it sounds like this guy [out of sheer coincidence] happened to discover the same answer he wanted to find after compiling every bit of "skewed data" alongside his "unbiased vigorous research"

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ricksterj
Saturday, February 15, 2014 @ 12:11:12 PM
Reply

Same ole same ole from the "outside lookin' in".

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