So THE USA TODAY posted an article on 9.15.2011 about a study regarding the connection between violent video games and violent players. It was conducted by Villanova University professor Patrick Markey, and was picked up by Kotaku the very next day, who added some interesting things to the conversation. So here are some deets, and my take:
According to Markey in THE USA TODAY, “Video games are not simply good or bad for everybody,” he says. “But for some individuals who have certain dispositions, if they play video games they’re much more likely to be negatively affected.”
Markey co-authored a study that was published in the Review of General Psychology, and was also presented at an American Psychological Association meeting. His data includes responses collected in 2009 from 118 participants, and in the study half of them played violent games and the other half played non-violent video games.
Personally, I feel that this distinction is a hard one to make, and I would love to get my hands on the list of games used for the study. Even games like Pokemon or Critter Crunch are embedded with violence, but it is minor and certainly overshadowed by fatalities, pimp slaps and head shots.
One of the things gamers have had to deal with for quite a while now is the perception of violence portrayed in video games and how it might affect the gamers. This is a question which has been raised time and time again; when film was introduced folks were worried how it would affect the youth, television came out and the same debate raged, heck, even comic books took a hit and created their own self-governing and regulatory tool, the Comics Code Authority, that worked to sanitize and scrub the offending violence out of the comics, making the suitable for youth. But can you truly take the violence out of a cultural product? Isn’t it produced by culture, and therefore simply inseparable from the very environment in which it was created?