mgdsh

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I have to say I agree. I've played video games nearly my entire upbringing (sometimes 10-20 hours straight, lol). Played every violent game you can imagine. I also watched tons and tons of R rated movies before the age of 10.

Caveat: I'd like to see their actual data and probably read their book at some point, but I'm glad to see theres a legitimate source saying something other than "video games make you more aggressive / act violently."
 

Anasazi23

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I'm a huge video game fan, and I have to say, this makes so much sense to me, and I'm very happy that someone has finally come out with a dissenting scientific finding. Like the authors mention, social psychologists measuring fractions of seconds of "increase air horn blaring" doesn't equal real-world violence.

The notion of the "social marker" also rings very true to me. It just seems to fit the socialization model.

I remember my father talking about how they had cork guns when he was growing up, and the boys would shoot each other with these guns, and shoot arrows at each other. Of course, he'd finish the line with "and we all ended up fine." He also used to talk about rifle club in high school. He would talk about walking to school with his .22 target rifle on his back, and that high schools would have ranges on campus for competitions. Can you even fathom this taking place in today's society? Where kids would walk to school with rifles on their backs? The media would have dissecting aortic aneurysms.

Can't wait for Fallout 3.
 

Solideliquid

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Trying to convince the wife to let me spend the stimulus package on a 42" HDTV.

I'll do anything, A N Y T H I N G.
 
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mgdsh

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Trying to convince the wife to let me spend the stimulus package on a 42" HDTV.

I'll do anything, A N Y T H I N G.
Try taking her to Best Buy? And afterwards take her to Costco (much better prices on some of the same TVs) or better yet check prices for the same TV online.

I must say I've been holding out on getting a new TV for quite a while (current TV is a 23 year old Sony 27 inch CRT). I was tempted to pull the trigger on a nice LCD HDTV.
 

OldPsychDoc

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I'm going to Disney World with my stimulus! Woohoo!
Enjoy it while you can--because when you're an attending, you're going to be making too much to get the stimulus checks! :(

As a patriotic American, however, I'm still doing my part--kitchen remodel starts today!
 

Faebinder

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Argh, I hate you all...

My stimulus is going straight back to the government.:(
 

whopper

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Did my Grand Rounds on Video Game's effects on Mental Health.

Grand Theft Auto was included in my lecture.

Wish I could've given you the lecture!

The debate as to whether or not video games cause violent behavior is hotly debated. It has been extensively researched by the government. I suspect the gov may have done so for military training purposes in addition to public mental health concerns.

Some studies indicate there is a connection with aggressive behavior & violent video games, others don't.
from wikipedia....
The American Psychological Association summarizes the issue as "Psychological research confirms that violent video games can increase children's aggression, but that parents moderate the negative effects."[7] Craig A. Anderson has testified before the U.S. Senate on the issue, and his meta-analysis of these studies has shown five consistent effects: "increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased prosocial (helping) behavior".[8] Nevertheless, some studies explicitly deny that such a connection exists, most notably Anderson and Ford (1986), Winkel et al. (1987), Scott (1995), Ballard and Lineberger (1999), and Jonathan Freedman (2002).[9] More recently, Block and Crain (2007) claim that in a critical paper by Anderson (and his co-author, Bushman), data was improperly calculated and produced fallacious results.[10]
Certain other studies showed it decreased "empathy". Other studies showed that it reduced the possibility of PTSD formation in soldiers, possibly because it increased their resilience.

In any case--this issue can be debated but here's my conclusions...

-Even if solid, irrefutable evidence occurs that solidly links video games with violent behavior, it still should not ban the distribution of such video games. To deny their distribution would be an infringement on the Constitutional Right of Free Speech. Such findings however could affect parents' willingness to buy such video games for their children, & video game developers' desire to fund such projects.
-A ban on violent video games would set a strong precedent to ban all violent media.
-Despite the worry, the overwhelming majority of buyers & players of such games are young adult males, not chldren. Most of them are college aged or older. The reality is that small children often times cannot afford a $50-60 game. Several stores will not put a video game on a shelf because its a very expensive item that can be easily shoplifted. Often times the game is behind glass. There is no data showing that there's a large problem with stores selling games to minors in violation of the game rating system (though I'm sure someone could find a few here & there doing it on a small level).
-There already exists a video game rating system. California has created a law that creates penalties to stores selling video games to people not appropriate under the rating system. Other states may follow.

A problem I've seen with the research is several of the studies had questionable methods. E.g. they'd make kids play violent video games, then give them one of those foam soft sticks and see if they attacked anyone with the stick. If there were more attacks--assumption that the video game lead to violent behavior.

Is attacking someone with a foam stick that you know will not cause any pain "violent"?
I don't think so.

Another problem is that video games are constantly improving---at an exponential rate. So if one study finds they there's nothing to fear--5 years later, the level of improvement in a video game in terms of graphics & sound will be vastly improved. I don't think anyone can argue that a game from the 70s (Death Race) would be on the same order as Grand Theft Auto, yet even Death Race got criticism for encouraging violence when it came out.
 

Anasazi23

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The government and psychological researchers seem to go after what's sexy and convenient for them. i.e. impact sports may be aggressive, but are they an appropriate outlet? Do kids go around tackling others on the street for no reason after watching a Giants game?

There's no good way to study this stuff, and the results (foam bat, microseconds of increased "shock time") are not generalizable to the real world. Retrospective data is too dirty and confounded. How about people just take responsibility for their actions, and stop looking to the government to raise their children?
 

notdeadyet

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I'm very much a novice here (both in terms of psychiatry as well as video games), but one thing I've always wondered about:

When they do this research about the effect of 4-8 hours/day of video games on children's tendency towards violence or antisocial behavior, do they ever take into account the sort of parenting that allows a child to spend 4-8 hours/day of video games to begin with?

When I was growing up (is it possible to say that without feeling old?), it was the same debate, but about television. And it seemed to me that often the kids who watched the most TV were the ones who had the least hands-on parents either by necessity (working two jobs) or design (just didn't spend time with their kids).

Far be it from me to judge, but if a child is allowed to spend that much time in front of the tv/computer playing games, the video games might be the least of the child's problems in the big picture.
 

Faebinder

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I bet that you would find the impact to be a lot stronger if the person is younger.
 

whopper

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Far be it from me to judge, but if a child is allowed to spend that much time in front of the tv/computer playing games, the video games might be the least of the child's problems in the big picture.
A frustration I had with Child Psychiatry patients. Some cases you knew the child had ADHD. Other times I wondered how much of it was the parent not wanting to discipline & help their own child, but instead wanting a pill to solve the problem.

I've only seen Nanny 9-1-1 & Supernanny a few times, but each of the times I saw it, (and yes I realize that reality TV is not reality), it seemed behavioral intervention seemed to go a long way. I could imagine any of those kids showing up to the child psyche office & their parents demanding adderall.
 

Anasazi23

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From the APA Newswire:

Psychiatrist contends video game withdrawal may contribute to school shootings.
The UPI (5/8) reports, "Being unable to distinguish the boundaries between virtual lives online and real life may contribute to a rash of school shootings," according to a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting.
Study author Jerald Block, M.D., of Oregon Health and Sciences University, said that "some teens find their meaning in life via violent computer games, and can become moody, angry, or violent themselves if their access to the games suddenly is shut off," Colorado's Rocky Mountain News (5/8, Scanlon) reports. Contending that "[v]ideo game withdrawal contributed" to the Columbine school shootings, Dr. Block explained that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold "erupted after their access to [the] Doom game was cut off." Dr. Block went on to say that "teens who kill classmates spend too much time in the virtual world, playing violent games." Since the 1999 Columbine shootings, "the popularity of violent video games has mushroomed." While a "moderate amount of virtual-world game playing can actually be helpful, allowing alienated teens to feel connected and empowered," and giving participants "an outlet for aggression," in excess, "it can be destructive and isolating," Dr. Block pointed out. He added that "when a person goes 'dry,' the 'situation can turn dangerous.'"
According to WebMD (5/7, Laino), Dr. Block "combed through more than 30,000 pages of records relating to the [Columbine] tragedy," and studied "police records, online postings, and diaries." He told WebMD that as Klebold and Harris "got into trouble with school authorities, limits were put on their use of the computer. This made them react with homicidal rage and suicidal depression." Dr. Block also examined "the role of computers in four other school shootings: Red Lake in 2005, Virginia Tech in 2007, Jokela High School in 2007, and North Illinois [University] in 2008." Based on his research, Dr. Block advised parents that "excessive computer use can be a sign that a youngster is struggling with some issues in real life." He recommended that parents should not abruptly cut off computer access, but "should set up mutually agreed upon goals" with their children "for cutting back on its use." If the children are "unable to hold to those goals," parents should "seek professional help."
"There have been at least a dozen school shootings in American schools and universities within the past three years, resulting in the deaths of more than 50 students," PsychCentral (5/7, Grohol) noted. Joining Dr. Block were "two other experts" who "present[ed] information about school shootings." Katherine Newman, Ph.D., of Princeton University, "spoke about the communities where school shootings occur, and whether" such tragedies can be "predict[ed] and prevent[ed]," and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Special Agent Terri Royster "discussed the FBI's procedure for assessing school shooting threats." Canada's Canwest News Service (5/8, Proudfoot) also covers the story.
Again, pseudoscience and assumption, with no control whatsoever for confounding variables likely to contribute in large part to the variance.
 

Doc Samson

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From the APA Newswire:



Again, pseudoscience and assumption, with no control whatsoever for confounding variables likely to contribute in large part to the variance.
Wasn't this the guy who wrote that Columbine happened because the shooters were banned from video-games?