June 07, 2010
3 Traits Key To Higher Violence From Video Games

Neurotic, less agreeable, and unconscientious kids are most likely to be made more violent from playing video games.

WASHINGTON Playing violent video games can make some adolescents more hostile, particularly those who are less agreeable, less conscientious and easily angered. But for others, it may offer opportunities to learn new skills and improve social networking.

In a special issue of the journal Review of General Psychology, published in June by the American Psychological Association, researchers looked at several studies that examined the potential uses of video games as a way to improve visual/spatial skills, as a health aid to help manage diabetes or pain and as a tool to complement psychotherapy. One study examined the negative effects of violent video games on some people.

"Much of the attention to video game research has been negative, focusing on potential harm related to addiction, aggression and lowered school performance," said Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD, of Texas A&M International University and guest editor of the issue. "Recent research has shown that as video games have become more popular, children in the United States and Europe are having fewer behavior problems, are less violent and score better on standardized tests. Violent video games have not created the generation of problem youth so often feared."

So some kids are made more hostile and violent by playing video games. But most kids are made less violent by playing video games or are unchanged by the experience.

Some day genetic analyses, personality tests, and other assessments will be used to choose custom environments best suited for each kid. Though only the most agreeable and conscientious parents will be good about keeping their kids immersed in their personal ideal environments. Some disagreeable parents will put their kids into environments opposite of what experts recommend. So then social workers will try to anticipate this reaction and recommend environments the opposite of what the kids need.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 June 07 11:02 PM  Brain Violence

Chris T said at June 8, 2010 8:45 AM:

Video games are actually a really good way to dissipate aggression. Rather than taking your frustrations out on someone, you can take them out on pixels. It's rather cathartic to shoot up a virtual city.

Lono said at June 8, 2010 9:27 AM:

Chris T,

Absolutely Agreed!

And as far as improving kids behavior - I think it's as simple as an idle hands kind of thing...

(the kids I knew groing up who didn't do video games, sports, or music - spent the most time committing crimes some petty and some not)

Of course I think sports encourage groupthink - particularly regarding drinking/partying/early sex - while musicians often feel the "artist" need to participate at least occasionally in drug use.

So of the three - for a well rounded child - it's Violent Video Games FTW!

As far as this study goes - aren't some kids just genetically prediposed to be criminals - no matter what media they consume?


I see where you are going - but the logical extreme of that is a tyrannical nanny state - and I don't think anyone is very willing to be told how to raise their children by the Govt. - no matter how scientifically sound the advice!

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