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Recently, a report from medical website WebMD claims that video games desensitizes players to real world violence.


From the article:
"Carnagey's team studied 257 college students -- 124 men and 133 women.
"First, the students noted their typical video game use. They also took aggression surveys and had their heart rate and galvanic skin response checked."
"Next, the students played either a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 minutes."
"When the game session ended, the students repeated the heart rate and galvanic skin response tests. Both groups showed similar results."
"The students' last task: Watch a 10-minute videotape of real-life violence (shootings, prison fights, police confrontations, and courtroom outbursts)."
"During the screening, the researchers monitored the students' heart rate and galvanic skin responses."
"Students who had played violent video games showed less physiological response to the real-life videos."
"The study "demonstrates that violent video game exposure can cause desensitization to real-life violence," write Carnagey and colleagues."
"Which medium is most desensitizing -- TV, movies, or video games? And are some people more affected than others?"

I took excerpts but I assure you, the point that was trying to be made is the same. These types of studies are always used to prove cases in court and fuels the speculation of the effects of violence in video games on kids.

As a person who has played video games and watched movies all his life and happened to experience "real-life violence", I find this study irresponsible and blatantly false.
There is a world of difference between watching "real-life" violence on a screen or monitor and seeing it happen in front of you in real life. This has to do with association. The thought processes that are going through your head are different when you are safely away from the violence to when you are put up close and personal to it. Your rational thought is bucked when you witness a violent act being committed in front of you. Even if the aggressor has a good reason or seems sane, most people's fear of their own mortality comes into play and brings in the "what if" situations. Even if people are not thinking about themselves the next mental jump is to sympathize with the victim. Even if the victim has done wrong, if the violence breaks the parallel's of your sense of justice, you will immediately begin to associate yourself with the victim.

Video Games and movies have elements of glorified violence. It fascinates people and people enjoy seeing it because they can associate with the concept of mortality. If you had a film in which both the protagonist and the antagonist never became injured and didn't have the possibility of dying you would have a tough time getting the audience to empathize with the characters. If there is no tragedy, then what is the point?

A Study using "real-life" violence shown on a television screen to compare to actual "real-life" violence in the "real-world" should be taken with a grain of salt. Show a group of people , that normally doesn't watch movies or play video games, videos of the starving kids in Africa and then ask them how many feel compelled to donate money for the cause. I am absolutely sure, without one iota of doubt in my mind, that more people out of the group would be compelled to donate money if you actually put them on a plane and flew them to an actual shanty town for a day.

Is this a bad thing? Is it Ok for people to not care? In this age of technology and media, our societies would crumble if the majority of their citizens started empathizing with what happens on their television screens. And that is without adding to the fact that some unscrupulous people would use peoples sympathies for their own gain. The Way I see it is that the world is getting better instead of worse and irrelevant studies like these do nothing but wastes people's time, money and attention.

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