Headline: New study conducted at the Messer Institute concludes that grass is green and water is wet. News at 11:00...
No, it’s not Déjà vu. You are once again reading a violence in gaming article by yours truly. While I felt I had clamped the lid pretty tight on this debate, a recent study released by a university in Canada has once again proven that there are no bounds to stupidity in academia these days. Hell, these are typically the people we look to as our knowledgeable and wise sages to lead our world into a better age. Yet in all their research, despite their book learnin', they never seem to account for one of the most important variables in the equation: simple common sense.
First, let’s take a look at their so called conclusion.
The findings are those of Mirjana Bajovic (conducted at the Brock University in Ontario) from a paper entitled “Violent Video Game Playing, Moral Reasoning, and Attitudes Towards Violence in Adolescents: Is There a Connection?” The study provided a sample group of teenagers (thirteen to fourteen years old) a selection of games ranging from Call of Duty and Need for Speed to Super Mario Galaxy and Rock Band. Among the list, a majority chose to play Call of Duty, while Mario clocked in at a close second. If you would like to read more in-depth regarding the parameters and statics used in the study (which consists of almost 300 pages), you can examine the full report by clicking here. However, the basic gist is easy to conclude; the ones who chose games like Super Mario and Rockband showed less of a change psychologically, while those who played violent titles like Call of Duty did. It’s what the study calls a shift in “moral maturity,” as it distinguishes violent games as something where a player is required to kill an opponent.
And here is why this study (including the intellectually stunted who’ll use it to prop up their arguments) is completly full of shite.
First of all, the study in and of itself is flawed. The sample group consists of about 100 kids pulled from schools around the Ontario area. Aside from the fact that the sample size is only 100 (out of an estimated 4.9 billion people on the planet the reportedly play some type of video game), Ontario is not exactly what I’d call representative of the global populous. For example if the study had been large enough to take a thousand kids from a city like Ontario or London, then another thousand from the suburbs of Chicago, a thousand from Japan and perhaps a final thousand from a rural community like Ottuma, Iowa, then I’d say your starting to get a better sense of how environmental factors affect the results. This also brings me to another point: the study openly acknowledges that it does NOT factor in any psychological variables (like home life of the children, social profiles, etc). As far as I know, humans are all slightly different (unless the governments cloning facility on Kamino is up and running). We all react to stimuli different, based on our personal experiences or “wiring.” Therefore, how can you POSSIBLY measure the effect of an x-factor like a violent game, when you’re not accounting for the drastic differences in the subjects? You yourself are a walking, talking testament to this fact. How many times have you had the desire to snipe someone from across the room just because you racked up an achievement for garnering 50 headshots in your favorite FPS? None? I thought not. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rolled my car trying to pull off a crazy stunt I saw in GTA. Believe me, that’s a call you don’t want to make to GEICO.
It doesn’t really take a degree in psychology to come to the conclusion that this study is just more ridiculous tripe. It simply provides more kindling for the fire that people can point to and say “See, I told you so!” Never mind the other numerous, more thorough studies that prove games have a calming affect among ADD patients (we won’t let a silly thing like the facts get in the way here).
Riddle me this: if violent games cause violence, then it should work the other way around right? My conclusion is this MUST signify an influx of plumbers in the next five years, due to the noted popularity of Super Mario! I’m now officially smart… where’s my Ph.D?