Adolescent Violence and Video Games


The supposed claim in today's recent research suggests video games, in particular video games with promoting negative themes such as violence, killing of people or animals, abuse of drugs, illegal activity, sexual expolitation ect., causes aggressive behaviors in the adolescents of the new generation because of their skewed perception of their morals. The correlation causation principle of scientific thinking helps us to conclude the real reason for the correlation to adolescents with behavioral issues who like to play video games. Video games definitely do promote the issues listed above and children become disillusioned with reality and what is normal civilized behavior due to the exposure of the violence in the game therefore impacting the child's mental perception and increasing his or her chances of accepting violence as a normal behavior. Indiana University School of Medicine say that brain scans of kids who played a violent video game showed an increase in emotional arousal - and a corresponding decrease of activity in brain areas involved in self-control, inhibition and attention. The study took two groups of adolescents and randomly assigned half to a violent video game and half to a racing game and discovered video games inhibit the function of the brain but it is unclear whether the brain results from the MRI's indicated worse or permanent damage, therefore making this study no falsifiable. And have we considered the other possibility? We must be skeptical scientists and realize there are no true experiments to test the falsifiability of this claim because there is no way to know if the dependent patient playing a violent video game already was prone to aggressiveness from inhibiting factors such as depression. We must also question the replicability of the experiment, would the same children prove to have same brain malfunction every game play, or does their mood before game play actually drive them to want to play more to stimulate their underlying feelings towards violence. Theories are sometimes generated in society because of confirmation bias. People want to believe what they want. No parent wants their child to be aggressive, addicted to substance abuse, or have disrespect for authority. Society derives their conclusion claiming that video games causes these behaviors when we have not ruled out the other hypothesis that children with aggressive behaviors are drawn to more violent video games, and what is the parental role in that child's life. Often times children have pre-existing behavioral issues stemming from their lack of parental guidance, social skills, and moral construction which may explain their lack of respect for authority, social disclosure and devotion to the T.V., and their perception that violence and obscenity is acceptable in the real world. There could be many outside or inside factors that may cause the correlation between aggression in adolescents and violent video games and before accepting one conclusion over the other, we need to use the principles of falsifiability and replicability to rule out other hypothesis to derive at a conclusion that proves the true correlation of the cause of adolescent violent behavior and video games.


I am in agreement that playing video games doesn't necessarily correlate with aggression in children. Many times children are already predestined to be aggressive. Children who choose to play violent games or are allowed to may have been brought up differently than children not allowed to. Aggression in a child is based on a wide range of upbringing resulting from home life and other nurturing aspects in their lives. Playing video games is not the whole story, it is whether the rest of their lives are full of lessons teaching them aggressive behaviors. In this case, I think that instead of a laboratory experiment this research should be done in the form of a case study. Researchers should study children raised in homes where they are allowed to play violent video games and in homes where they are not. The researchers should note the differences in parenting style, background, location, etc. It cannot be justly said that violent video games cause aggression.

You bring up some good questions and alternative explanations!

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This page contains a single entry by hymes011 published on October 4, 2011 10:55 AM.

Can Psychology Be Used To Harm? was the previous entry in this blog.

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