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 EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
quiknkoldpoor girl. poor victims. rather focus on them then the shooter. giving too much thought to the monster takes away from the victims.10/24/2014 - 10:15pm
Andrew EisenFor what it's worth, early reports are painting the motive as "he was pissed that a particular girl wouldn't date him."10/24/2014 - 10:12pm
quiknkoldwell then I suck as a man cause I ask for help when necessary :P10/24/2014 - 10:07pm
Technogeek(That said, mostly I was making the smartass evopsych comment because your post seemed like the kind of just-so story that has come to dominate 99% of its usage.)10/24/2014 - 10:04pm
TechnogeekHell, Liam Neeson built his modern career around it. Cultural factors likely play a far greater role than you appear willing to admit.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
TechnogeekSeriously, though, the idea of "because women are protectors and that's why they never commit school shootings" is, at best, grossly overreductive. There's nothing inherently feminine about being willing to kill in order to protect one's offspring.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
MechaCrashThe "toxic masculinity" thing refers to how you have to SUCK IT UP AND BE A MAN because seeking help is seen as weakness, which means you suck at manliness, so it builds and builds and builds until something finally snaps.10/24/2014 - 10:01pm
quiknkoldthere, I'm done. And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldand I am not spouting Evopsych, technogeek. tbh I never heard the phrase till you said it. I'm going off my observations.10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldmoreover, the guy who did this isnt even white. He was native american according to the news report I read. Also that he went for a specific target. That's a much different picture than a certain Sandy Hook guy who will not be named10/24/2014 - 9:53pm
quiknkoldbut I am also certain nobody in their right mind is committing these shootings singing the Machoman song. these are sick individuals who have given up on life10/24/2014 - 9:51pm
Technogeekevopsych lol10/24/2014 - 9:49pm
quiknkoldWhen you suffer from mental illness, youre more likely to go by instinct. yes. I came off as sexist.10/24/2014 - 9:46pm
quiknkoldmore on somthing they are fixated on. Post Partum Depression is an example. This is why a woman is less likely to go off on a rampage.10/24/2014 - 9:44pm
 

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