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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 03:56pm 12/07/13 | 17 Comments
Last week we ran a popular interview with Aussie PhD candidate, Morgan Tear, on the public release of a paper tracking experiments he conducted with his supervisor, Dr. Mark Nielsen, of the University of Queensland, on the study of violent video games and their effect on players. The study aimed to "Demonstrate That Playing Violent Video Games Diminishes Prosocial Behavior", however, they failed to demonstrate this in any form.

The new study has picked up the discussion of violence in video games, with Morgan being talked to by various mainstream and specialist media outlets locally and abroad, but in an effort to be more transparent and even help punters interested in the topic understand more about the study and experiment process, as well as findings already out in the wide world, he's offering you a chance to ask any burning questions you might have ahead of a podcast appearance he has scheduled for early next week with Psycho-Babble.

Here's the official piece from Morgan:
My name is Morgan Tear, and I'm the lead author on a recent paper about violent video games, discussed here on AusGamers and given a write-up at Time Online.

I have been invited to discuss video games and behaviour on the psychology podcast Psychobabble. Since the literature on video games is easily accessible to the general public but frustratingly cryptic at the same time, we thought the topic might lend itself to a Q&A from gamer's themselves. So we are gathering questions from people interested in video games for us to research and hopefully provide some insight (or even closure) on a number of issues that need clarification.

So with this in mind, do the AusGamers members have any questions about the video games and psychology, or the research on video games in general (eg are they really addictive? Do they change the way we think about ourselves)? Are there any myths you want us to speak about? We're looking to record the episode on Monday or Tuesday so we'll probably start selecting questions over the weekend. Shoot!
With that in mind, we encourage you to submit any questions you might have via the Comments section below, but would also please like you to stay on-topic and be constructive in what you ask.

Latest Comments
Posted 06:25pm 12/7/13
this is why ratings are appropriate, it's an old as the hills debate that it's parental discretionary, and if I could have not played violent games when I was a kid like Doom, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Karmageddon, Stunts(not really though, that was an old school awesome one, Lesuire Suit Larry, Alley Cat, Under A Killing Moon, and a swathe of others, I would have slept better at night.

but along the way I've had the chance to learn about some crazy area's of study like graphics programming, game development, project management and the mind boggles as to the other aspects that go into the development of a, what the industry call 'AAA' title. These are usually the studio projects, and I've learnt from a bottom up kind of approach.

I would say that content is still king, as it always was, but of course once you're past the age of consent then it seem's like it's open season on who see's what and the backchannel of how the content get's around due to the often chaotic nature of the internets and subversive scheming.

I've seen content pricing start from a 'shareware' economic model to rapid growth of retail outlets that gaming as grown into in a very short time. it's all good and it's awesome but I sometimes wish that computer gaming was never corporatised. Money talks and bulls*** walks, kind of a strange paradigm since the content is 100% creative and the money is real??

WIERD. impressive new media job creation industry.
Posted 07:00pm 12/7/13
Does playing Action video games enhance your hand-eye coordination and rapid decision making in tasks outside of computer game, ie Driving in Traffic?

Does playing hardcore games increase the level of attention a gamer can apply to tasks outside of gaming?

What other sorts of research has been done that investigate the base skills of gaming on other aspects of life? (Stuff along the lines of my above questions).

Is it possible/probable that playing violent video games decreases violent and aggressive behaviors by allowing the gamer to 'vent'?

I have heaps more, things to do at the moment though.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 08:41pm 12/7/13
Was that meant for this thread Trillion?
Posted 08:52pm 12/7/13
Was that meant for this thread Trillion?
What is the point of the thread?
Posted 09:09pm 12/7/13
Who cares? All I know is that shooting people online quells my need to do it in reality. Thats a good thing...
Posted 11:33pm 12/7/13
All sports and games can increase aggression as part of their competitive nature, how do they tell the difference between increased aggression from that compared to the violence component of games? Do they test non-violent games along side violent ones to measure this?

I know I certainly had a shorter fuse when I used to play WoW way too much yet I have a lot of trouble considering that as a violent game compared to titles like CoD or GTA (although I kind of consider all games to be about points and don't pay much head to things like realism).

I also wouldn't say that it made me in anyway more violent (or violent at all), just more prone to argue and be confrontational. I think there is a huge leap between being confrontational or ill tempered and physical violence. I think it takes someone who has some serious issues to begin with, like losing 7 Origin series straight, to simply hit someone without any major provocation. That kind of person should probably be in jail or captain of a really bad football team.
Posted 07:41am 13/7/13
I think it takes someone who has some serious issues to begin with, like losing 7 Origin series straight, to simply hit someone without any major provocation. That kind of person should probably be in jail or captain of a really bad football team.
Posted 08:54am 13/7/13
depends if you're a pacifist or not, noh?
Posted 10:24am 13/7/13
gamer's themselves.

Why you no learn English before trying be smart!?!?

No further questions; pointless discussion is pointless.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 02:27pm 13/7/13
What is the point of the thread?
Did you read the OP Obes?
Posted 11:42am 18/7/13
For those interested, the podcast with answers to some of these questions has been posted up at Psychobabble.

A few of the topics covered include:
Venting and violence in video games
The transfer of skills from gaming to the real world
Depression and gaming
Girls in gaming
Posted 04:59pm 18/7/13
I don't want to be a negative nancy, as I think it's great that studies like this are being done. But it really doesn't sound like their test conditions or factors were particularly expansive and thus the results aren't really very conclusive or indicative of anything.

This issue really needs to be looked at by some major psychiatric institutions, it's becoming pretty clear theres no strong links between violent video games and real world violence.
Posted 05:57pm 18/7/13
I want the T-Shirt! Sweat stained plz!
Posted 06:10pm 18/7/13
Listening to the Pod-Cast now.

The types of games I play are competitive in nature. I find that my success in various games is related to how well I can clear my mind. So I would think that if I've had a bad day and pretty angry at stuff I can negate that by playing these games and clearing my mind. If that is done successfully I'll enter the 'flow' state and good gaming will happen. Afterwards I'm happy things went well. After much gaming practice I can play close to the flow state often. So gaming very often clears my mind and this removes any negative feelings I've got, allowing good feelings to replace them.

Edit: A thought, if violent computer games are a concern, is there concern and/or evidence that people who practice martial arts often are more violent? As Martial arts is inherently violent, you learn how to hit people effectively.
Nerf Stormborn
Posted 06:34pm 18/7/13
On behalf of the it's the isolated social retards, I'd offer skepticism about whether it's those types who are necessarily the ones horrible to women. I'd more often thought of them as the all boys school types, or foreigners from the patriarchal countries. It's nearly impossible for me to imagine anybody local acting that way.

The examples sounded a bit like trolling, but I don't doubt that there's a lot of extra s*** encountered by being a female.
Posted 06:53pm 18/7/13
At the 30 min mark they talk about gamers having better control over their emotions and expressing them, this being counter intuitive they say.

Speculating time; If gaming, as I pointed out above, can be considered a form of mindful meditition would it not lead to having similar effects:

Taken from wiki on Mindfulness:

The Buddha advocated that one should establish mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna) in one's day-to-day life maintaining as much as possible a calm awareness of one's body, feelings, mind, and dhammas. The practice of mindfulness supports analysis resulting in the arising of wisdom

So a player who engages in a game to clear the mind to enter the stat of 'flow' would also build an inner awareness, and hence better control their inner state, ie emotion.

I feel very strongly that there is a link between meditation, flow, gaming, and higher achievement in sport. Each affecting the other, so in effect to increase ones ability at gaming, they should play sport and practice meditation as that will help them focus and enter the flow state which will greatly benefit gaming. Or, a person who wants to get better at sport can practice gaming and entering a flow state to be better able to do that during their sporting practice. Big speculation I know.
Nerf Stormborn
Posted 07:21pm 18/7/13
Keep in mind that people who try to deal in evidence or labelled speculations, and work with reviewed studies and brain scans and so on on a daily basis, aren't going to have much reason to expect to find practical value in the non-evidence-based speculations of a primitive man from centuries ago about how the brain functions, communicated as definitive fact, and not even humble enough to be suggested as a completely unproven speculation from somebody who probably didn't even know what a nerve was...
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