Study: Violent Video Games Prep Gamers for Real-Life "Headshots"
May 22, 2012 10:16 AM
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.
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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
Study Finds "No Significant Relationship" Between School Shootings and Violent Video Games
January 26, 2009, 8:16 AM
Microsoft releases details of Project Scorpio console
April 7, 2017, 7:50 AM
More Security Issues for Yahoo
February 16, 2017, 7:45 AM
Android Instant Tethering Only Works for Pixel and Nexus Handsets
February 13, 2017, 7:30 AM
WhatsUp with WhatsApp?
August 29, 2016, 5:23 AM
Fuchsia – Google’s New Open Source Operating System
August 17, 2016, 6:30 AM
Windows 10: End of an Era & A New Beginning
August 1, 2016, 9:59 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
Apple Watch NikeLab Limited Edition unveiled.
April 22, 2017, 6:20 AM
Motorola Moto G5 Pus – Well Worth Considering Over the Others
April 25, 2017, 7:06 AM
SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8GD5 – Great Value for the Money
April 20, 2017, 7:47 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Galaxy Note 8 – Available Second Half 2017
Apr 28, 2017, 7:30 AM
Google Android App – Huge improvement on Nighttime Photography
Apr 27, 2017, 7:40 AM
Google Co-Founder, Sergey Brin has an Airship
Apr 26, 2017, 6:43 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus – Lots of Glass that Breaks Easily
Apr 25, 2017, 7:20 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Warning for Pet Owners
Apr 24, 2017, 5:59 AM
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information