I was sitting in my English class, listening to my peers present speeches on research topics of their own choice. Some chose to talk about social issues such as racism or homophobia, some chose to speak about our education system and others chose to inform us on topics such as the psychology of self-esteem and peer pressure. However, towards the end of the class period, I realized that the one topic that led to the most heated debate was about video games and whether or not they affect violent behavior. Surprising, huh? It led me to wonder why people choose to specifically blame video games for some people's aggressiveness. This article titled Violent Video Games Reduce Brain Response to Violence and Increase Aggressive Behavior, Study Suggests implies that the increase in violent behavior is due to the fact that overexposure to video games desensitizes the brain to aggression. However, what this article fails to do is provide explanation for a confounding variable in the research. Maybe it is not simply the video games that are leading participants to become more aggressive, but the sense of competition in the games. I have hardly read or heard about any articles researching the correlation between violence and, let's say, watching horror flicks or action movies. It is because these things are not as likely to affect a person's aggression as much as video games, as studies indicate. Therefore, these studies gain more attention. However, if watching a violent movie and playing a violent video game do not have the same effects, than there must be another variable besides the desensitization to violence that changes the levels of aggression in people. This could be competition, and if we were to test for the link between competition and aggressive behavior, we would have a lot more than video games to blame for people's actions.
The Great Debate: Not Politics or Religion But... Videogames?
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