Study: Violent Video Games Prep Gamers for Real-Life "Headshots"
May 22, 2012 10:16 AM
comment(s) - last by
Study shows conclusively that gun controllers train shooters; was Jack Thompson right?
Concerns about violent video games were recently stoked when Norwegian mass-murder Anders Behring Breivik revealed that he had used "
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
wildly popular title
published by Activision Blizzard, Inc. (
) to train for his killings. The self-proclaimed Christian [
] who sought to become a "martyr", logged many hours in the game, which in one level depicts the player in the role of covert U.S. operative-cum-terrorist, murdering helpless citizens.
I. Scientific Evidence: Gun Controllers Train You For Real-Life Headshots
Now a controversial study by
Jodi L. Whitaker
Ohio State University
graduate psychology researcher -- and
Brad J. Bushman
, Netherlands psychology professor -- has cast further fuel on the flames claiming scientific evidence that video games are indeed training killers.
In the study "Boom, Headshot!": Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy" researchers had 151 college students shoot at mannequins, as a test of aiming accuracy. Each student was ordered to shoot 16 bullets at the target, and some students were first prepped with 20 minutes of gaming in a violent video game.
Among the gamers, some were given standard controllers, while others were given gun-shaped controllers, popular for many shooting games like the "Silent Scope" and "House of the Dead" franchises.
Psychology researchers demonstrated gun controllers prepare gamers for real-life "headshots".
[Image Source: Bethesda]
Researchers found that while standard controllers did not significantly increase the students' "kills" on the life-sized mannequin, the gun controller did. Students who were prepped with the gun controller hit the target 33 percent more often, on average, and hit "headshots" 99 percent more often.
While the sample size was relatively small, researchers believe the results were large enough to rule out differences in firearms experience or statistical flukes. They argue that despite their virtual nature, firearms game controllers provide ample training for potentially deadly real-life weapons use.
In the violent shooting game, participants were rewarded for accurately aiming and firing at humanoid enemies who were instantly killed if shot in the head. Players were therefore more likely to repeat this behavior outside of the video game context... Just as a person might train how to use a sword by first practicing with a wooden replica, the pistol-shaped controller served as a more realistic implement with which to hone skills that more easily transferred to aiming and firing a gun in the real world. These results indicate the powerful potential of video games to teach or increase skills, including potentially lethal weapon use.
The study was
, a peer-reviewed journal published by SAGE.
II. Video Games and Society -- Murder? "Ok." Consensual Sex? "Bad!"
The new study offers further challenge to America's video gaming status quo, which has a strong tendency to demonize sexuality, while glorifying and condoning in-game violence.
While putting the player in the role of a terrorist murdering citizens only earns a "Mature" rating, soft-core depictions of consensual sex between adults is a ticket to an instant "Mature" in most cases. And if you depict hard-core sex, well, you are virtually guaranteed an "Adults Only" rating.
Softcore depictions of consensual, "vanilla" intercourse between adults helped earn
Mass Effect 2
a "mature" rating, the same rating given for games where the player role-plays a fantasy of being a terrorist murderer. [Image Source: Bioware]
The debate over sex and violence in video games has raged in America. Some
individuals like Jack Thompson
have sought unsuccessfully
seemingly "immoral" titles depicting violent criminal fantasies,
such as Grand Theft Auto
. Sexual depictions have been especially criticized, with some members of the media allegedly
resorting to outright lies
to villainize games with sexuality
like Mass Effect
Some claim that video games have
destructive psychological effects
, but other studies
contradict this premise
. Some studies even show that
gaming benefits reflexes
and problem solving skills.
Over 97 percent of U.S. children
play video games. Studies found males to gravitate towards more violent video games. Coincidentally males murder people in the U.S. at a rate nine times higher than females according to recent studies.
Many adults game as well, though the population of gaming adults -- particularly console gamers is thought to be smaller. A recent study by the
Centers for Disease Control
claimed that the average 35-year-old gamer
is overweight and depressed
, suggesting long-term gaming may contribute to these health problems.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Some things of note
5/22/2012 11:00:46 AM
1. Better aim DOES NOT make someone more violent.
2. The "silent scope" style controller is both:
2a. Much closer to being a simulation than one would have with a standard controller.
2b. Not how most people play "shooter" type games.
A little difficult to tell exactly what conclusion they're going after here. If it was something along the lines of "Using a gun simulator may make you better at shooting.", I'd be fine with that conclusion. If they're somehow trying to tie "violence" in with this, I'd say their results don't show anything of the sort.
Back to the videogames thing. It's interesting to note that most of the time when a shooting happens and it gets blamed on video games, the gamer was into something like Doom or WoW where the results of this study wouldn't even be relevant. ...Of course, that'll get ignored by the media.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
Study: Violent Video Games Desensitize Players, Cause Heightened Aggression
May 26, 2011, 11:00 AM
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Launch Rakes in $310 million in 24 Hours
November 13, 2009, 8:18 AM
Fans Line Up For Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Launch
November 10, 2009, 11:22 AM
CDC: Average Gamer is 35, Overweight, Depressed
August 23, 2009, 3:05 PM
Obama Lets States Pick Their Own Fuel Economy Standards
January 26, 2009, 10:09 AM
Windows 9 Will Merge Windows, Windows Phone, Windows RT in 2015
July 23, 2014, 3:33 PM
First Public Beta of OS X Yosemite Coming July 24
July 23, 2014, 11:08 AM
Google Promises to Fix 4-year-old Chrome Browser Battery Draining Bug
July 18, 2014, 9:16 AM
Microsoft to Cut 18,000 Employees, Phase Out Nokia X Android Smartphones
July 17, 2014, 9:03 AM
Quick Note: Nokia Devices Now Receiving Windows Phone 8.1 Update
July 15, 2014, 10:42 AM
Windows 9's Metro Start Menu Nears, Images Leak of Newest Build
July 14, 2014, 12:02 PM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft Kills Entertainment Unit, May Shelve Flagship Lumia "McLaren"
July 18, 2014, 7:40 PM
JJ Abrams Unveils X-Wing Starfighter for New "Star Wars" Movie
July 21, 2014, 12:24 PM
Ford Details ’15 F-150’s 325hp, 2.7L EcoBoost V6; Demonstrates 732-lb Weight Loss
July 22, 2014, 6:55 PM
Comcast Memo: Harassing Customers During Retention Calls Actually IS Our Policy
July 22, 2014, 5:19 PM
Motorola Moto G Successor Reportedly Uncovered, Moto X Discounted by up to $75
July 21, 2014, 1:11 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information