Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

April 5, 2011 -

A new study from Simmons College researchers comes to the conclusion that children exposed to more violent games for longer periods of time are less able to sympathize with others. The new study published in the Journal of Children and Media surveyed 166 Boston, MA and southern New Hampshire schoolchildren. The study was overseen by Simmons College professors Edward T. Vieira and Marina Krcmar. They examined the relationship between violent games and kids' attitudes toward violence.

The duo surveyed children age 7-15 about their favorite games, how many hours a week they played, and questions to gauge their ability to sympathize with others, to see things from another person's perspective, and whether they saw violence as an appropriate response in situations where it would be deemed justified or unjustified. The favorite "violent games" included Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Counter Strike, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and World of Warcraft.

"To make a judgment about violence, at least two skills are necessary," the paper read. "First, a child must be able to imagine the point-of-view of both parties in the aggressive conflict. Second, he/she should be able to feel some sympathy or imagine some sympathy towards each party. Only at this point can a moral judgment be appropriately made."

The researchers found that children with more exposure to violent games were less able to sympathize with others and that violent game players tended to have different perceptions on whether justified violent acts were permissible. The same group that had trouble being sympathetic also were more likely to accept unjustified violence, researchers said.

"Those who play more violent video games perceive violence in the name of retaliation and self-protection as more justified, much like the view of violence presented in video games," the paper continued.

Obviously there are limitations to this study including small sample size, and the fact that it is simply a survey. We're also not sure how the questions were phrased, and if participants were given a list of games to choose from or made their own choices. Below is what one of the study's researchers told GameSpot:

"Exposure to violent video games is directly associated with justified violence," Edward T. Vieira told GameSpot. "Therefore, there are cases where violence is justified such as self-defense or defending loved ones. One might have a 'normal' ability to empathize, for example, and see some types of violence as acceptable. We could apply this to societal issues such as capital punishment and wars."

"On the other hand, the study suggests that children who are heavy violent gamers are associated with less perspective-taking (empathy ability) and less perspective-taking predicts gratuitous violence (unjustified) as acceptable. This appears to make sense, because it suggests that there is no 'reason' for the violence; it is done for its own sake or some emotional motive. It intimates that the unjustified condition requires other factors such as perspective-taking. Therefore, the unjustified condition does involve gaming exposure, but gaming exposure mediated by the cognitive ability to perspective-take."

Source: GameSpot

Comments

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

People consider my very caring and i've been palying violet games since Mortal Kombat 2.

Irks me that they tak data from such a small group and apply it to all.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

That is an interesting study but waaay too limited in scope to draw any conclusions from. Personaly, and I know anectodal evidence means nothing scientifically, I grew up with videogames from a young age, many of them violent. I would consider myself to be very sympathetic and caring in regards to other people, even those that are often demonized by our culture, like Muslims today and illegal immigrants.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

New observational study shows researchers who do studies on violent video games tend to be biased, unprofessional, incompetent in their assumptions, unable to do thorough research, are incapable of analyzing their participants as complex individuals, and tend to lie, deceive, even distort the truth for their own agendas.

And comparing the repetitive "studies" done by researchers as the above, observational research is far more accurate than the methods THEY use.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

isn't that a common factor in almost any study, especially the ones sponsored by one group or another?

the thing is, most people tend to be simple minded enough to just take whatever their told, as long as the aforementioned group gets the "results" they wanted, they can further convince people that their cause is correct, and many won't question this logically.

thus we find the major issue in releasing these half baked studies in the first place, and not contending them, or at least running some sort of damage cleanup.

Fox news is the prime example of BS gone awry, and people still swear by them.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

I stopped caring about other people once I turned libertarian

what now, punk?

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

I'd flip this one around. If they want to imply causality - how about - the children are less sympathetic to others therefore they play "violent " games...

As an aside, I agree even the statement that there is correlation is weak at best.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

No examples of what they consider "unjustified" violence, I mean what scenarios did they question these kids about?  Also, to what extent was the form of acceptable violence?  Were the kids talking about punching someone, or shooting them in the face?  If we're talking about someone i school sytematically harassing you, there's a big difference from sucker punching him, and bringing a gun to class.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

World of Warcraft. Violent game. Right.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

Might just be that kids who don't like that kinda violence don't play the games. Where's the evidence that the games caused it?

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

 Exactly. The people behind this study are not taking into account the pre-existing personalities of the kids in these studies and thus bascially claiming that violent video games are the CAUSE of their feelings. Fact of the matter is though, gamers like to play games that MATCH their pre-existing interests. If they like Sports they will likely play sports games, If they like cars they will likely play racing games, if they have little problem with violence or like violence then they will play violence, and if they were raised to hate violence then they probably won't be playing those games.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

Exactly my thoughts. There's no causality here, only correlation (if even that).

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

I'd want to know if they controlled for other important variables. Bivariate correlations don't mean much and are often inflated.  Unfortunately I don't have access to this particular article...

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

Nonsense. If correlation wouldn't equal causation we surely would have heard of it by now.

Re: Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

That's a pretty broad range of "violent games" (as I've said many times before): FPSes, Sandbox, Fighter, and even a MMORPG, ranging from Teen to Mature. And all these make kids less sympathetic to others than...who? Kids who were exposed to less violent games? Non-violent games? Or no games at all? There doesn't seem to be a lot of research into counter-study (and rarely ever is).

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Have you visited a video game arcade in the last year?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
SleakerThe Bar-Arcade however did have a lot of good pinball machines, they were however always taken as the place was packed..08/20/2014 - 1:17pm
Sleakerso I've been to an Arcade-Bar, not that great of a place has some okay machines, but generally over-packed. And then all the kid-friendly ones have is ticket-games nothing actually good unfortunately :(08/20/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenIf it has an area dedicated to arcade machines, I'd say it counts. Arcade machine in your house though, nope.08/20/2014 - 12:16pm
ZenDoes it count if you have actual arcade machines in your house?08/20/2014 - 12:01pm
E. Zachary KnightWith the current poll, I guess it all depends on how one defines "arcade". If Chuck E Cheese or similar multipurpose businesses count, then that is a yes for me.08/20/2014 - 11:59am
ZenLet the ax fall Sleaker...lessons MUST be learned...08/20/2014 - 11:44am
Andrew EisenNote to Shout boxers: if it's not a current GP story or something currently being discussed in the Shout box, please provide a link to what you're referring to or at least some context so we know what you're talking about and can discuss it with you.08/20/2014 - 11:44am
Sleaker*prepares fluffy kitten for execution as no link has been forthcoming*08/20/2014 - 11:14am
ZenMasked, guessing you are talking about the Wii game which was later ported to 360/PS3. I never played it..but I did grab the sweet gold Classic Controller from it to finish my Gold Wii controller set lol.08/20/2014 - 11:06am
Andrew EisenOnce again, MaskedPixelante, I have no idea what the hell you're talking about. Are you talking about the Wii remake in 2010? The PS3/360 enhanced port of the remake in 2011? Something new? Please, for the love of fluffy kittens, provide a damn link.08/20/2014 - 9:57am
MaskedPixelanteSo, if I finish this game Activision claims is the GoldenEye remake, but looks suspiciously like a rejected CoD game, do I get the REAL GoldenEye remake?08/20/2014 - 8:37am
Papa MidnightWii U Games finding Solidarity with PC Gamers :(08/19/2014 - 6:09pm
Zenbuy all of the bad DLC before they even showed the main content everyone was waiting for. I paid for it, I wanted it, and I got tossed aside.08/19/2014 - 4:10pm
ZenIanC: Yep, both Call of Duty games did the same thing holding back all DLC and then releasing the day one map 2 YEARS later out of the blue. Why play what they won't support. Warner Bros canceled their DLC after promising it because Wii U owners didn't08/19/2014 - 4:09pm
Andrew EisenShe's the developer of Depression Quest. It's an interesting game (although I wouldn't call it fun) and you can check it out for free at depressionquest.com.08/19/2014 - 2:48pm
Sleakerwhat's all this Zoe quinn stuff all over and should I even bother looking it up?08/19/2014 - 2:37pm
IanCExactly Zen. The third one had random delays to the DLC and they just came out seemingly at random with no warning, and the 4th they didn't even bother.08/19/2014 - 2:31pm
ZenI may have bought both AC games on Wii U, but WHY would anyone be expected to get the game when they came out MONTHS before release that they were skipping DLC and ignoring the game? They poisoned the market on themselves then blamed Nintendo players.08/19/2014 - 1:27pm
Papa MidnightIn review, that's fair, Andrew. I just tend to take Gawker articles with a lot of salt, and skepticism.08/19/2014 - 12:07pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician