Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another Study About "Violent" Video Games.



This one wins the award for worst image use. Comparing the movie Anger Management to a study about violent video games via image? That's pretty bad DailyTech.

The study was a mesh between Ohio State and VU University of Amsterdam. Basically it says after 25 minutes of intense gaming, participants became more desensitized to violent images. And yadda, yadda, blah. It's the same old song and dance. Studies such as these are full of flaws.

Instead of wasting all of our time with rehashing the "results" we already know from this "attempt" at a study, I'm going to lay out how I would run a case study regarding violent video games and their affect on the minds of adults, young adults, teenagers, and children. And why it would be a million times better then anything that anyone has attempted.

It's one of those days.

To start with, this study would be the exact opposite of the Bobo Doll Experiment, which focused on the patterns of behavior and aggression in children after viewing violent content.

What's in the sample group? It needs to be a little bit of everything. Both genders (not just men). Multiple races. Multiple religions. Multiple political views. Those who play video games. Those who don't play video games. Those who play only M rated games. Those who have strict gaming habits.

10 of each diverse group. Why only 10? Well to accommodate everyone with every group distinction, it'd be a lot of of people. This would be a study that would have to be in the thousands if we're going by selections of 10. If it were 20 or 30 or each group, we'd be talking about tens of thousands, which is just not feasible for a sample size. Is it fair? Not really. But then again what study is? In order to get 100% accuracy you'd need to test the 6 billion+ people living on this planet. And really, that's never going to happen. So this is the next best thing.


Length of the study? A year. You can't justify a study for accuracy if you only view a subject for 25 minutes and then shove violent images in his/her face. Of course you're going to get an adverse reaction. That's why you need to spread out the study over a longer period of time. I feel that a year will allow for enough data with each participant so that you can view the life-cycle of several games and how they best affect that individual.

Where to test? In their own homes! The one thing I never understood about so many of these studies is why they test aggression outside of their comfort zone. Actually, I think I just answered my question. They do this to get the results they're looking for.

I get the need for a controlled environment, but who plays a video game in a gray room with a Plexiglas two-way mirror, a wood chair, and a 9 inch television screen? No one. It's not a realistic setting. If you want a real view of how people interpret violent video games you have to allow the participants to play in their own environment. Their homes, their offices during lunch, at arcades, etc. So much of the gaming experience comes from their surroundings. A gray room doesn't help.

What games to test? You need a little bit of everything for this one. Some people would argue there is a little bit of violence in every video game. So, why not test it? Get a mixture of real-world violence (example: military/war simulations) with cartoon violence (Spryo the Dragon). Sure it'd be easy to have everyone play Call of Duty, but that's just one spectrum of violence. You don't get plasma guns and force fields like you would with Halo. You don't get giant hammers and fireballs like with Mario. You gotta have a little bit of everything.

How do you view the test subjects? Cameras. Intrusive? Maybe. But having someone in a white lab coat standing over your shoulder while you play a game isn't comfortable either. After a while, people tend to ignore camera equipment. Just think about road intersections. Most major cities in the U.S. have a camera on every corner that are being monitored by law enforcement. They can see if you pick your nose. By using a camera, we get to see a more accurate viewing of the subjects over time.

Expected result? I would anticipate that the initial results would show that upon first game-play, people showed an increase reaction to violent behavior in the games. However, that behavior does not translate to the real world. At most we might see people become frustrated for being unable to pass a level. It'd be no different then someone loosing a game of Pictionary. (And if you haven't seen a family member get mad at Pictionary, you really haven't played.) But I'd also expect to see people cope to violent images in multiple ways and show that violence, while having a subconscious effect on how people view real-world violence, doesn't interpret to an increase desire to want to perform violent acts. Rather, I believe we would see the opposite occur.

So there you go. That's how I would run a study. Copyrighted - don't think about stealing the idea.

5 comments:

  1. If you think about it this is obvious. If you are playing video games then you are not doing anything else, which also includes crimes.

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  2. One study shows that viloent video games decrease acts of crime. I agree with this mainly because when you're angry you can get that out LEGALLY in video game land by killing things and people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's surprising how many studies are out there that are showing the exact opposite of what people are saying about crime. "Crime's getting worse because of violent movies and games!" "Our kids are being evil!" Well no. Not really. Crime has been down nationally for the past 15 years. Criminal acts committed by those under 18 is even more.

      If anything, the games are helping us channel our aggression into the right places. We need more stories like THAT in the news. :D

      Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  3. I think that you are doing a wonderful job getting them posted. I am just glad that you are doing it!! Way to go!!
    EA Games Help

    ReplyDelete

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