Research Finds Negative Effects in Violent Videogames


New member
Feb 20, 2010
gardian06 said:
jollybarracuda said:
Seems like pretty valid research. I guess the big issue though has never been "do games make people aggressive" but "do video games make people violent", two very different things, the latter of which is a lot harder to test because of human ethic laws and such silliness (kidding, of course).

But a lot of this research does seem to be pointing to the possibility that someone with pre-existing violent behaviors could, theoretically, become more prone to releasing that violence on people, with an increase in aggression caused by violent video games. Should be interesting to see where this research leads in a few years, and if we'll ever actually see a noticeable decline in violent games in the future.
no this is not valid research because they make a fallacious irrational leap in their findings.
i a person witnessing numerous violent acts
ii person will then imprint aggressive thought processes onto a fictional character and by proxy
iii will presume that another person will exhibit violent tendencies
iv because the other person will be perceived to exhibit violent tendencies then the initial person will be more likely to act in a violent manor.

this line of logic completely loses all rational backing when going from postulate ii to iii (because there is this thing called the fight or flight response which is an either or not an absolute), and then there is supposed to be an un-given postulate v (where the initial person will then be likely to act in a aggressive, or violent manor) which was considered to be such a fallacious leap that they omitted it themselves.
An excellent point, and one I've had to make in the past. See, he claims this research is brand new, but I saw an experiment with extremely similar parameters five or six years ago.


New member
Sep 29, 2011
Why is non-violent aggression negative? I much prefer talking to the asinine wise guy than the meek apologetic guy, if neither is going to to turn violent.


Sight, Sound, and Mind
Nov 24, 2008
You know, I bet if people tested kids playing sports, they'd find the kids who play sports everyday get more aggressive too. Mulitplayer games are an aggressive activity, like any game. They involve striving for victory and trying to overcome and outplay your opponent. That means you display aggression (or lose a lot). Of course its not really an issue that has been studied due to the relative dissimilarity of the two types of games.

'Course I've been playing games for years, so either I accumulate aggression at a very small rate, my plateau of aggression is small, or some of this science is bullshit (at least for some people). Maybe the game I play just aren't violent... *checks*, nope they have head explosions and tons and tons of murder. Hooray for the reinforcement of positive play behavior by creating visual cues and indicators... I mean mindless violence!


Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
or maybe the peopel were jsut annoyed that the "Scientists" didnt let them continue playing and isntead bombarded them with boring stories and questions?


New member
Dec 8, 2010
Mimsofthedawg said:
But these studies look at things all wrong. They don't look at positive outcomes, they don't look at how they might help a person, etc. Each one of these studies is flawed from the very beginning because of the initial question being asked "What cumulative negative effects do violent video games have?" A better question would be "How do video games effect stress levels?" or some scientificy title about hormones or something. This is like confirmation bias. You expect the results and therefore you obtain them.
Exactly. That's why this is bogus science.

Also - why weren't the participants given a similar test before they played the games to compare the change in their reaction? Why weren't they tested how they react on different types of violent media for comparison? What about other age groups? Also different personality types may come into play.

This doesn't give us any useful data. Any neuroscientist or psychologist could tell you that exposure to violent media imprints you with violent imagery for a short term.


New member
Jun 17, 2009
And like every other study about video games the test group is just too small, if you take 70 people, all from the same environment your results don't tell much.
Also: statistics about violent crime in countries where a majority of people has access to video games shows a massive decline in violent crime

verdant monkai

New member
Oct 30, 2011
This may be true but playing violent games is the same as watching violent films like Die Hard or Star Wars (yup people die so its violent), the same with violent books but I would say less so because they are not visual.

Anyone who goes out and kills someone and then blames videogames is wrong, because they were crazy in the first place. Normal rational people can tell that how a character in a game acts is not how you should act in reality. For example in games you sprint everywhere and have no concept of privacy or personal space. Try sprinting up to random strangers in the street and asking them for a quest, then come back and tell me how it went.
Dont blame the game, blame the nutter who is making the excuses.


Do the buttwalk!
Mar 11, 2009
That first test is a load of arse - I could tell you this even without having taken psychology courses in uni. Of course you'll get more violently inclined answers from those playing violent games, because the lead characters in said games are less concerned about picking flowers or racing rivals and more about survival against angry foreigners and genocidal space monsters. It's a matter of common sense. -.-


New member
Aug 11, 2009
I wish they would have included some longterm gamers in their study, 3 days is not much if you want to say anything about longterm effects of playing videogames.

It would have been interesting what results the test yielded, if they didn't do them immediately after the gaming sessions. Right after playing COD I might be a little excited and that could have an effect on my performance in those tests.


Surreal Estate Agent
Mar 21, 2010
Between There and There.
The Wide, Brown One.
Xanadu84 said:
Few problems here...
Just a few?

1) External validity. What kind of aggression does he think he is measuring? Because, "hitting someone with a baseball bat" and "trash talk at the poker table" seem to both be measured as aggression. Blasting loud sounds is no Milgram study. Ive done worse things to my friends as a form of camaraderie, and I suspect that most people have. Sure, he may be measuring, "Aggression", and that's all well and good, but in this study, aggression may be nothing more then the context given to a friendly, engageing competition. Maybe he never said as such, but the message seems to be assuming that aggression that is being measured is undesirable. In fact, a rational and balanced passion to achieve is aggression. Lack of aggression could be calm, or it could be a predisposition to becoming withdrawn and depressed.
Yeah, all I got out of it was 'violent game players possibly more obnoxious than non-violent game players'... and possibly 'researchers lack dynamic social group'.

2) I really don't see how his story stem tests have anything to do with anything except basic pattern recognition. Basically, this study might as well be a bunch of people watching Friday the 13th movies, and researchers being shocked that after a few sequels, most of the audience figured out that Jason was going to hurt the slutty teenage girl.
*shrugs* Then the paper would be "Horror films turn viewers into sociopathic misogynists"... You can't lose when you pull shit out of your arse and call it 'Science!'

I plan for my first major study to be based on how many people, for how long a time, will let me throw tennis balls at their heads before they get fed up and leave. The first paper from the study will be 'Idiotic Crap You Can Get Away With In The Name of Science'... eventually I hope to gain repuation enough to get grants to torment monkeys in the name of science under the guise of 'primate behaviour analysis', working on the hypothesis that if a research assistant pokes a large monkey with a stick for a sustained period, the monkey will become enraged and attack the assistant.

3) Whats the baseline? increased aggression may seem all scary, but how does that aggression compare to, say, after watching a violent movie. Or after watching a football game (You can define that however you want, still works). or after a beer or 2. or after a spirited debate. Or after sex. Or after a whole world of human experiences. Aggression levels may be elevated, but it could be raised to a random and insignificant blip on the scale of human experiences.
Yeah, this is a big problem... without a baseline and comparisons taken from other activities you can't really say as to the scale of any result.

And as already mentioned up-thread, there's no control group... How are we to know that it's 'violent' games having an 'aggressive' effect and not 'non-violent' games having a pacifying effect?

4) Lets not even go into participant bias. You know just maybe, the participants who were in a lab and given a violent game to play figured out that maybe the researchers were looking for violent reactions. Oh, and who was the sampled population? You know most preliminary research that gets done should have tacked on to the title, "...among college aged Psych 101 students. Who needed extra credit."
They're rarely quite that honest. :p

Basically, the research itself may be useful as a start, but it is highly unlikely that it is actually saying anything that the average reader, or possibly even the researchers, think its saying. This paper may say a decent amount, but it doesn't say much about games having a negative effect on peoples behaviors here in the real world.
It especially doesn't say anything about cumulative long term effects unless you commint unnatural acts on the English language with regards to the defintions of 'cumulative' and 'long term'.


New member
Mar 22, 2009
Andy Chalk said:
The students were assigned to play either violent games - Call of Duty 4, Condemned 2 and The Club - or non-violent ones - S3K Superbike, Dirt 2 and Pure - once per day, for 20 minutes at a time. At the end of each session, they were given the beginning of a story and asked to list 20 things the lead character would say or do in it. The students who played violent games were more likely to think that the character would behave aggressively or violently, a belief that grew stronger with each passing day; those in the non-violent pool did not show any increased expectations of hostility.
I would be interested to see if the control group (playing racing games) thought the lead character would commit traffic offences (speed off on their dirt bike).

Then we might be able to draw a correleation between people's recent activities and lack of creativity...


New member
Feb 17, 2009
Been playing violent video games since I was was 7 at least 3 hours a day. I'm 23 now and haven't been in so much as a fist fight and I hate arguing. So doc explain that one.


New member
Jan 20, 2010
It doesn't even properly proof that games cause aggression, just an increase in aggressive association, which imo is obvious. They have JUST played a game with violence. Hmm I wonder what is on the tip of their minds? But hey, one needs a good headline for the press release for another shitty research. Next time the ball will drop on the other side and they'll try to positively claim that gaming makes you awesome. How about they make a hypotheses and try to falsify it for once, like a proper scientist...


New member
Jan 11, 2011
Andy Chalk said:
The research looked at 70 French university students who were told they were participating in a study on the effects of videogame brightness. The students were assigned to play either violent games - Call of Duty 4, Condemned 2 and The Club - or non-violent ones - S3K Superbike, Dirt 2 and Pure - once per day, for 20 minutes at a time.
I'm noticing that most of these games have a thing in common with each other is that almost all of them (if not all of them) have multiplayer-modes or just have a competitive aspect of some sort.
This isn't convincing me that violent games inherently make people more aggressive, if anything it only further strengthens the fact that competition can piss people off.

Because really, it isn't a matter of replacing all the blood in CoD with confetti or turning the explosions into bursts of bubbles (now I'm thinking of TF2's Pyrovision-mode, which might be an example that further strengthens my standpoint now that I think about it), there's an equally big potential for people to become just as pissed off by playing Mario Kart all by themselves as there is from playing the multiplayer in any other "violent" game that have competitive aspects to them.

I'd also like to point out that from the six games (a very little amount) that they played, all of the "non-violent" games are racing games, and all of the "violent" ones could more or less be classified as shooters (Condemned 2 less so, but I know that there's guns in that game) so their research is already lacking in variety.

The students who played violent games were more likely to think that the character would behave aggressively or violently, a belief that grew stronger with each passing day;
What the hell does this have to do with the players themselves getting more aggressive? Do they somehow think that people are going to start behaving like them? Because I'd sure like to see someone take ten bullets to the face and just walk away like nothing happened.

I'd also like to point out that:
"However, there is no theoretical reason to think that aggression would decrease over time, as long as players are still playing the violent games."
...I'm getting the feeling that they're using this "research" to generalize all violent games, which is a surefire-way of getting someone to call "Bullshit" on you.

It's a bit aggravating, really. For a moment this seemed like this research could have had some ground to stand on, but instead gets knocked down again by the lack of genres they use in the research (because shooters aren't the only violent games, y'know), the failure to acknowledge the competitive aspects, the somewhat irrelevant stuff and my suspicion of them being biased with the low amount of games used in the research and the following generalization.


New member
Jul 8, 2009
Wow. Seventy people for three days? Seriously? That's what constitutes academic research into the potential long-term effects of violence in gaming? The negative outcome of the research being 'unpleasant' noises and an increase in the belief that violence in any given situation is a societal norm.

It would be interesting to see what recommendations the research team would put forward as a result of their research. Would they ban all 80's cheesy action films? Age-gate all sports where sounds made by athletes were 'unpleasant'?

Alternatively do people who read Harry Potter for twenty minutes a day for three days expect there to be more magic in the world? Are those people who are exposed to a Firefly episode every day for three days begin wearing ugly brown coats and offensively mis-pronounce common expletives?

I'll tell you what makes me angry and borderline violent:

Professors who should know better than to do short-term, small-scale studies and talk about their findings with import.

Not only is the cross-section statistically insignificant if this were a pre-cursor to a much larger inclusive study the resulting report would have this study tagged as a 'preliminary trial'. Probably with no data because it would academically embarrassing to throw any significant resources at any subject based upon such a small number of people over such a small amount of time. There isn't even any talk of a baseline comparison. Where are the results for the three days where no-one played games? That would at least determine how pre-disposed to violence the subjects were before the study started.

It literally isn't rocket science. Establish a long-term predictable baseline. Begin study by controlling external stimuli. Note differences in action and reaction from baseline. Interpret data. If trying to broadly and sweepingly boil down research to the words 'good' or 'bad' make sure subject selection is across age, culture and gender gamut.

Rant over....until the next time....