Study: Violent games teach hotheaded behavior

Games, whether they be electronic or otherwise, have at times been held up as excellent teaching tools due to their ability to convey many beneficial skills, including critical thinking, perseverance, and problem-solving. However, a new research study conducted by Iowa State University psychology...

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Games, whether they be electronic or otherwise, have at times been held up as excellent teaching tools due to their ability to convey many beneficial skills, including critical thinking, perseverance, and problem-solving. However, a new research study conducted by Iowa State University psychology professor Douglas Gentile and his father, retired psychology professor J. Ronald Gentile, indicates that along with the beneficial aspects of life-skill development, games are also teaching people to be more aggressive.

"We know a lot about how to be an effective teacher, and we know a lot about how to use technology to teach," said Douglas, the study's primary researcher. "Video games use many of these techniques and are highly effective teachers. So we shouldn't be surprised that violent video games can teach aggression."

In the Gentiles' study, 430 students in third to fifth grade, 670 eighth to ninth graders, and 1,441 college-age students with an average age of 19 were observed over a period of six months. Participants were administered surveys on two separate occasions during the six-month period, with questions pertaining to "the subject's aggressive thoughts and self-reported fights, and their media habits--including violent video game exposure."

The study found that among the youngest group participating in the study, violent behavior increased by 73 percent over the duration of the experiment, as rated by teachers and peers, for those who played primarily violent games, when compared to those who mixed in nonviolent games. That percentage spiked to 263 percent when compared to those who played only nonviolent games. The released study findings did not indicate the behavior of the older subject groups.

The complete results of the Gentiles' study, titled "Violent Video Games as Exemplary Teachers: A Conceptual Analysis," can be found in an upcoming issue of the scientific publication Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Discussion

393 comments
Kbs64
Kbs64

I agree with them to a point but they don't say what kind of games did they play? Was it Halo or Super Smash Bros Melee? Is there a differnce in behaivior between Teen rated games or Mature rated games? How about Everyone rated games?

afrothunda312
afrothunda312

yeah, when i play katamari damacy, I always feel I want to roll stuff up to make an island

PacoL250
PacoL250

Little kids love to imitate, to this does not surprise me. Of course the next time an ignorant parent lets their child play a violent game won't surprise me either.

chupamelpo
chupamelpo

I bet those university students are getting their degree in BS !!

EternalYoshi
EternalYoshi

@kbaily: Jack Thompson has other issues to deal with. Anyway, they should know that movies can produce the same behavior. It suprises me that horror movies can get away with more than video games can.

joshel
joshel

Studies show that after playing a hefty amount of Crysis, you are 73 percent more likely to grab korean dudes by the throat and run arround shouting "MAXIMUM STRENGTH" and then hurling them into the sun.

lquidsnake133
lquidsnake133

To be competitive can also have signs of aggressiveness, whether it's multiplayer or just a campaign of a game. People can't just end their study there cause the big picture requires more than a simple study.

Cobra5
Cobra5

How many times are we going to read THIS EXACT NEWS STORY.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

HybirdTheory
HybirdTheory

First of all computer games aren't real, and i think most kids can tell the difference between real life and " Liberty City, the magic place where getting shot means you lose $100 and all of the numerous guns in your pocket". Secondly, instead if criticising games, lets look at the world right now. I'd say its slightly more aggressive than games, and its real. So maybe we could, instead of wasting time, money and energy into proving games influence people, lets try and find out what turns someone into a killer. In think we may just benefit more from the latter.

Olly464
Olly464

My mate just sits on the floor and plays innocent nintendo games, that are about running farms, and posting letters to grandmas, that are in fact cows...or something. Anyway, he is actually more aggressive then me, whom plays anything with a 16+ rating. Maybe him and I are anomalies....or just not American.

mrkame16
mrkame16

lamprey263 And that's why we have the ERSB to tell parents "don't buy GTA for your 10 year old", but somebody doesn't listen. I agree its up to responsible adults to keep violent content away from there kids. Just the other day my bro-inlaw was letting my nephew play GtA andreas and he's only 8. when confronted His Dad tells me, : dont worry he nows right from wrong.

thelegendlives5
thelegendlives5

Yeah Well I killed thousands of people in games. I have been playing violent games for 10 years now, but I don't remeber getting into a fight. This is a pointless study. What about action movies they are even worse than games. They are more believable.

TheC0m1ssar
TheC0m1ssar

At least most people know how to contain their violence in video games, that much I can say. And why are they worrying about hot-headedness? Att least games prevents us from getting in trouble from doing the wrong things in school. It's not a bad thing, it's what makes us human.

verdugoRE4
verdugoRE4

Yay, another Violent video game hating load of BS.

lotusmaster
lotusmaster

theres two kinds of violence theres bloody graphic violence like manhunt or dead rising then theres the no bloody kind like all the fighing games or t rated slashers

sir-michael
sir-michael

Ohh welllll ...... another violent game survey what did we gamers think huh ? ofcourse they will be blaming games but they seem to forget one thing , games that are 18+ rating are meant to be played by adults and not kids and games of 18+ rating are not sold to the kids unless a unaware parent buys the game for his or her child and then they run and blame games but not to worry fellow gamers internet is something they are blaming as of late so :) yeah :) but the problem is i keep telling people games carry RATINGS !!! that means a individual buying a game can know what this game contains and IF IT IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED BY KIDS and still they do those stupid surveys violent game and kids but they are forgetting about game ratings !! why !! i tell you why !! becouse they need something to blame , they still dont know what human brain is made of how it functions and why in this society they created people behave in violent ways they wont accept that its goverment fault by low payments for your hard work , bills get higher and higher but your paycheck stays the same , so people turn to other more profitable ways and that is crime and gangs , but i am sure grand theft auto game made johny steel that car wright ? great keep blaming games and in the mean time it will get even worse becouse the real cause its still not getting found !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lew_0911
lew_0911

Oh God. I just popped in Katamari. My city is so dead.

GhostStalkerX1
GhostStalkerX1

ZOMG More money waisted on dumb reserch. Mabie its time for parents to read the ESRB rating. PPl that are old enough to acnoledge whats right and wrong shouldnt have a prob with this type of situation. " to all parents that let there 10 year old kid play halo 3 or gears online or hell even campign, HAIL TO READ THE ESRB RATING"!!!!!!

Fireblade003
Fireblade003

"They have electricity in Iowa ??" I'm guessing you're joking, but just so you know, the electronic digital computer was invented at Iowa State. On topic: Yes, violent video games make a person more aggressive. Stop denying it. HOWEVER: a) They are not influential enough to make someone go on a killing rampage. b) Other activities also cause aggressive behavior. I can almost guarantee you if you look at football players compared to non-football players, the football players will be a huge percentage more aggressive as well. Violent games make someone aggressive because you're shooting/killing/beating up someone. Football makes a person more aggressive because one of the main points of the game is to take someone down as hard as possible. Also note that both of these are competitive activities, which will obviously cause aggressive behavior. and c) These kids shouldn't have been playing the games in the first place. Even if they weren't M rated, there is a T rating, and third graders are not thirteen. And no, I'm not a hypocrite. I was not allowed to play T games until I was 13 (maybe it's a little extreme, but it's a good idea to wait until a kid's at least 11 or 12).

QOTSA7777
QOTSA7777

Notice they didn't administer these kids violent games, they just asked what games they played. Could it be that violent people have an inclination to play violent games? Or maybe kids that young that are permitted to play violent games have lacking parents, which causes them to be angry. I bet violent people like violent games. I bet violent people like violent movies too. But if you give a good kid violent games and its not going to do anything. If it is we've got a few million halo playing psychopaths to worry about now.

aznballer91
aznballer91

bah, what a bunch of bs. Okay, i do agree that games can affect one's personality and feelings, whether it be aggressive or negative matter, but you can't seriously blame video games for your kid's violent actions. No matter what influences an individual experiences, his/her actions are 100% his/her responsibility. if the individual were to hit or kill someone, that is the individual's choice. if he/she cant take responsibility for their own actions then its their problem. The ESRB doesn't just say "RATE M FOR MATURE" for no reason. if the gamer is a mere 10 years old, then its quite obvious that the parents don't give a $h!t about their child. and now they blame the video game industry for their child's aggressiveness? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Its quite clear today that it is easier to accuse someone of one's fault than to blame themselves.

bens_so_cool
bens_so_cool

I've only killed like six people since i got into video games thats it!!!

vidgamer2002
vidgamer2002

On one side of the coin, the media-based society as a whole can be blamed, not just video games. Look at all the violence that is seen on television and movies. On the other side of the coin, I play and have played video games and I have never felt the need to be violent. I have played video games to help relax me when I frustrated but that's just about it. Actually, I think videogames helped me make smarter decisions.

psymon_05
psymon_05

Games DON'T MAKE PEOPLE MORE AGGRESSIVE!!!!!! HOW MANY TIMES!!!!!!!! Ahhh I have to hurt something! (Someone had to do it :P)

Boom_Chaka
Boom_Chaka

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Boom_Chaka
Boom_Chaka

people just dont learn that correlation DOES NOT imply causation. - people who are violent tend to play more violent games! - they couldn't have tested if video games turn people violents because that would be xtremely unethical

razu_gamer2
razu_gamer2

hence the 18 rating you stupid scientists.

danmatk3
danmatk3

i went to iowa state had a class with this guy, dont pay much attention to him, he fills his "research" with students, eager ungrads and grad students and subjects to make his outcomes come out the way he wants, not a very scientific researcher at all. I cant tell you how many students have left disenfranchisized by this professor, if he has data that clearly contradicts what he is looking for he just "makes it go away" as one of my friends in school once told me. About as much truth in this article as there was for wmd's in iraq from bush

assault120
assault120

Depends on a person.I'm really tired of reading these ****

ekisom
ekisom

i have played the most violent games in the world ever since my first apple computer prolly around 11 years old. and i have never thrown a punch at anyone nor have i been involved in a fight. and i'v got the body to beat the crap out of your above average joe

Ted_Zanarukando
Ted_Zanarukando

Again, that scientific research is based on a narrow school of research called "media effects." They include studies of media violence. Those studies are inconclusive and have been criticized for methodological reasons. Scientific researchers tend to highlight laboratory or short-term research and ignore long-term research. Laboratory research is unreliable when it comes to the video game controversy. This said research study is an example of what Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M International University's Department of Behaviorial, Applied Sciences and Criminal Justice calls "a systematic bias for hot-button issues" that results in overstatements and deceptive results. The psychological community ignores the social context of entertainment media consumption, but people outside the psychological community pay attention to that context. We gamers do not mistake video games for real life. Only 12 percent of perpetrators of school massacres were attracted to violent video games. The number of kids under 17 who committed murder decreased by about 65 percent between the SNES days and the GameCube days. If violent video games were affecting everyone in a negative way, it would be evident.

christopherneal
christopherneal

These types of studies are BS! I can't make it any plainer than that! Haters!!!

V-Nine
V-Nine

Oh yea playing Sonic the hedgehog really makes me want to take a buzzsaw to everything in sight...pffft.

Will47
Will47

NOT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! will these people never stop. Many people play "bad" video game and if it made them as "bad" as the say they do then every other person shoud be a killer. I play M rated video game and I have never harmed another human being so give me a break.

whitey3221
whitey3221

Haven't we heard this about 20 times already?

Kwokstar
Kwokstar

See although this research may be true, it's the parents that are more of a worry. If the parents fail to realise a change in behaviour or previously teach the children the right morals and ideas then why are you blaming the games?

twashington9737
twashington9737

I wouldn't doubt it at all. Anyone with intelligence will tell u that MULTIPLE things in life affect who we are but not everything has whatever "projected" outcome that people may think. And things DO tend to affect younger, more delicate minds more so than a much older, life-hardened mentality and if sit in the house, most of the time, playing such violent games, it WILL shape who u are, just as if a young male can grow up being a momma's boy because he spends the majority of his time around his mom. Many of u take offense and that's to be expected but u have to look at the overall picture that you can and will be influenced by a multitude of things in ur life. They just brought up a small piece of a much larger pie.

The_Holydevil
The_Holydevil

im gettin so bored of this subject. video games have age ratings. this means that if u are below that age, u shouldnt be playin that game. therefore, it is down to the person responsible for the child to ensure that they dont play that game. end of story.

mackthedstroyer
mackthedstroyer

right at the beginning of the article it says "Games, whether they be electronic or otherwise..." but never goes in to explain the effects of the otherwise half. In fact, the major sports are contact sports, no? and in these cases you're actually physically "attacking" someone. Even if it may not be out of anger, it still seems a little more involved than a video game don't you think. I'm not saying video games don't have any effect at all, but when scrutinizing them specifically for making people more aggressive, you aren't taking into account other things that may be having the same effect, and possibly in an even greater magnitude, like a contact sport like football or hockey which are almost always supported and hardly ever scrutinized for things like this.

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

GS Article above: "The released study findings did not indicate the behavior of the older subject groups." Kinda makes this study appear one-sided, doesn't it? Also makes me wonder who funded the Gentiles' "study"...

Space-Q
Space-Q

F--K this! I'm gonna kick their F--kin @#$% stupid F%&KERS. I"LL KILL THEM FOR DOING THIS STUPID STUDY! WHERE'S MY SOCK FILLED WITH QUARTERS?!

Ted_Zanarukando
Ted_Zanarukando

Those studies are based on or inspired by old data. The laboratory enviornment is radically different from the environment in which video games are normally played in. Video game censorship is not the answer to crime or violence in society, which have long existed before video gaming was invented. Those people must stop blaming video games for society's problems. We should fix the problem, not the blame.

walrus1
walrus1

I want to see there research methods. I took a class in psyc once and by just changing a ward here and there you can influence the outcome of a survey so much. So do violent movies like saw not effect us? And what about rap music about prostitutes and drug runners is that all good?

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Well of course aggression levels are gonna go up when you're letting fifth graders play violent games! What did you THINK was going to happen? Fifth graders go crazy when they're watching Power Rangers or something even. Notice how they didn't disclose the results for the college group?

valar20
valar20

thank you! i was thinking the same thing.

Proman84
Proman84

Think about this Sentence: "Iowa State University researchers report kids playing violent games 263 percent more likely to be aggressive than kids enjoying nonviolent games. " This can mean that violent kids PICK violent games (and there is nothing suprising about that) not necessarily that violent games make kids violent. We are smart people here. Let's not confuse CAUSE and EFFECT.

valar20
valar20

This dosn't even seem extensive enough to be considered valid. Who have they tested? what was there background and gender? there are way too many factors involved in a person's behavior to say that one thing is causing someone to behave aggressively, and what is "aggressive" anyway, who decides what is considered aggressive. Why do these people waste there time?

Kfoss
Kfoss

what a load of crap you have 5th graders taking surveys!!!...and an average age of 19 for colledge age.?!?!?!..riiggghhhhtttt..

MasterChief725
MasterChief725

pretty sad really...they always say this, and politicians like hilary clinton go around saying this stuff...but there is no way anyone in the right mind becomes violent from playing GTA