So Devin Moore got the death penalty for killing three police officers in 2003, but his subsequent attempt to use GTA as an excuse isn’t faring well. With Rockstar off the hook, perhaps we can spend more time thinking about
our society’s complete lack of personal responsibility the ways in which video games influence kids, newly important for this reason:
A study released by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which claims to be the first long-term study of this type, found that “robust exposure” to a violent game did not directly translate into real-world aggression. The key points:
Gamers played MMORPG Asheron’s Call 2 for an average of 56 hours over the course of a month, and researchers found “no strong effects associated with aggression caused by this violent game,” said lead author Dmitri Williams. Aggression was determined my measuring “argumentative behaviors” before and after gaming, which were then compared to a non-game playing control group.
Understandably, Williams is unwilling to make strong predictions based on the results of his study. Notably, the study did not look at teenagers, nor did its exposure of participants to fantasy-style violence mirror urban, GTA-style violence recently made famous by Moore. But Williams’ take-home message is noteworthy:
Games are about solving problems, and it should tell us something that kids race home from school where they are often bored to get on games and solve problems. Clearly we need to capture that lightning in a bottle.
[Cheers to Science Blog.]