Ferguson Pokes Holes in Study Indicating that Violence Desensitizes Teens

October 19, 2010 -

Results from a new study seem to indicate that teenagers brains reacted less emotionally the more they were exposed to violence, but another researcher has thrown some cold water on the results.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) performed its study by using an MRI brain scanner and electrodes on 22 boys between the ages of 14-17, according to Live Science. The subjects were asked to press one of two response buttons while watching a series of violent videos in order to rate the current video as either more or less aggressive than the previous one.

It was reported that:

Brain activity fell over time in response to each new violent video clip, and the most aggressive videos showed increased desensitization over time. Boys who had reported the most exposure to violent media each day before beginning the study also showed the greatest desensitization.

Jordan Grafman from the NINDS, stated, “In our study, any effect would be temporary, but in the course of life with repeated exposures to violent media, you are shaping your brain networks to be more accommodating to aggression.”

Grafman also suggested that the findings from his study might have implications for violent videogames, a notion that Texas A&M International University Psychologist Chris Ferguson disagreed with, saying that it would be “deeply irresponsible” to apply the study’s findings to other media or real-life violence.

Ferguson also pointed out that the NINDS study did not measure the boys reactions to real-life violence, or how viewing the clips affected their behavior.

“At first they got excited and then over time they grew bored,” stated Ferguson, adding, “That's all this study really says.”


Comments

Re: Ferguson Pokes Holes in Study Indicating that Violence ...

If fiction desensitized people, society would remain in full on anarchy. Which is funny because the cultures that do not read enough tend to be in full on anarchy....


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Re: Ferguson Pokes Holes in Study Indicating that Violence ...

“At first they got excited and then over time they grew bored,” stated Ferguson, adding, “That's all this study really says.”

Wow!  Someone actually used common sense for once!

Re: Ferguson Pokes Holes in Study Indicating that Violence ...

Hrm.

If teens get 'bored' with violence in this context, would it not mean they would be LESS likely to be violent in real life?  Usually people do not bother with things that have lost their thrill.

 
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Andrew EisenConster - Don't know. Got a link to whatever you're referring to?08/30/2014 - 7:04pm
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AvalongodAgain I think we're conflating the issue of whether Sarkeesian's claims are beyond critique (no they're not) and whether its ever appropriate to use sexist language, let alone physical threats on a woman to intimidate her (no it isn't)08/29/2014 - 5:04pm
prh99Trolling her or trying to assail her integrity just draws more attention (Streisand effect?). Which is really not what the trolls want, so the only way to win (if there is a win to be had) is not to play/troll.08/29/2014 - 5:02pm
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Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
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Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
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E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
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Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
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