New Questions and Enduring Issues about Videogames and Violence

Extracted 21FEB2014 from

Thanks to Mike and Heads up about a relevant TED Conversation running from Feb 13 to March 13, 2014

Thank you to Mike Rose for such cogent reporting and some thought-provoking investigative journalism! He shows us that this conversation, that shouldn't slip into the shadows, is about more than the seeds of violence or about videogames in particular. It is about an honest look at the new places in which people are congregating, why, and what happens in them. The problems (and opportunities) we find there are likely to be as old as recorded history and, if so, they will be much more interesting and varied than the occasional witch hunts.

One of the many quotes that are instructive for this continuing public discussion is "It's now about moving past that, into studying it on a much more phenomenological basis -- more of a motivational basis," he tells me. "What is it about video games that attracts people? Why do they play them? What do they get out of it? How is the user a much more important part of that process?" (quoting Ferguson).

I also think a key is to become less dependent on additional "funding" for research and to find other ways to influence research programs that are likely to be funded even without additional funding and, more generally to leverage a wider body of research in the human sciences. Citizen journalism (participatory journalism) can be an instrument for doing this, and it can be particularly effective in addressing Ferguson's important questions. A different kind of blogging can help us here.

See e.g.,

This is a TED Conversation I started on Feb 13th to address issues such as those raised in the quote from Ferguson above. Instead of focusing on violence in this conversation, I wanted to understand the community context for gamers within which relationships and interpersonal behavior are visible and have meaning, why gamers play online games. I suspect that understanding the reality and potential of such online communities can be part of the solution to identifying and helping people who are troubled and potentially violent for reasons that have nothing to do with the games they play.

See also other science bloggers (e.g., Paige Brown) who seem to be creating new forms of citizen science:             

The Benefits of Playing Video Games

Extracted 28JAN2014 from by Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger C. M. E. Engels (Radboud University Nijmegen)

January 2014 ● American Psychologist © 2013 American Psychological Association

"we argue that a more balanced perspective is needed, one that considers not only the possible negative effects but also the benefits of playing these games. Considering these potential benefits is important, in part, because the nature of these games has changed dramatically in the last decade, becoming increasingly complex, diverse, realistic, and social in nature. A small but significant body of research has begun to emerge, mostly in the last five years, documenting these benefits. In this article, we summarize the research on the positive effects of playing video games, focusing on four main domains: cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social. By integrating insights from developmental, positive, and social psychology, as well as media psychology, we propose some candidate mechanisms by which playing video games may foster real-world psychosocial benefits. Our aim is to provide strong enough evidence and a theoretical rationale to inspire new programs of research on the largely unexplored mental health benefits of gaming."

See also

Senate Votes to Study Videogame Violence

Extracted 01AUG2013 from "Rockefeller's bill, the Violent Content Research Act, would require the National Academy of Sciences to examine whether violent video games and programming cause children to act aggressively or otherwise hurt their well-being."

Benefits and harm of violent video games

Extracted 04AUG2013 from Craig Anderson, Director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University speculated in a press release any type of action video game that requires a rapid response could have the same effect...

In three new unpublished studies scheduled for presentation at the American Psychological Association (APA) annual meeting in Honolulu, Anderson and his colleagues found violent video games boost cognition, but they also lead to loss of cognitive control and boost anger aggression and hostility.

The studies are the first to link both the benefits and harm of playing violent video games. “What such fast-paced media fail to train is inhibiting the almost automatic first response," Anderson says...

Around and Around We Go

Around and Around We Go "The debate over violent games and their impact on society is one that probably won't be solved anytime soon, but rather will only heat up in the coming years, especially as this next generation of video game consoles offers increasingly realistic graphics."

[We won't "solve" the debate. If grounded in scientific sensibilities, however, a debate can lead to a deeper understanding that can influence both the design and use of videogames and the communities that organize around them.]

See also

Prosocial Video Gameplay

Prosocial Video Gameplay "Here the game became a different sort of “thing” altogether. Not only was it a vehicle of shared meaning and story telling, but also a common ground over which to interact. Playing here subverted not only what the visuals meant but what the right way to play it was."

See also:

LA Times Explores Videogames and Violence

Extracted 19FEB2013 from The incredible success of the ‘Call of Duty’-type stuff drives games away from more constructive conflict. I think that’s one of the sad things and one of...

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CS Monitor Explores Videogames and Violence

Extracted 19FEB2013 from So why are so many people blaming the video game industry? It’s a phenomenon known as “cultural lag,” and it’s what ...

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NY Times Explores Videogames and Violence

Extracted 29FEB2013 from “At the very least, parents should be aware of what’s in the games their kids are playing,” Dr. Anderson said, “and think of it from a social...

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