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Bernhard Schlink

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Friday, August 12, 2005

There's No MMRPG in Your Violence 

Since the medium's inception, the usual suspects have been up in arms about how video games are bad for kids and cause anti-social and violent behavior. Most of their evidence has been anecdotal at best, but that doesn't deter them because they feel they *just know it does.* These are the same people who, hundreds of years ago, said that polyphonic music would bring an end to civilization.

A new study, which claims to be the first long-term study of video games and violence, found no significant increases in violent or aggressive behavior after playing “Asheron’s Call 2,” an MMRPG that is apparently pretty violent. I'm not entirely clear on how the authors can justify calling one month "long-term," but, compared to tpreviousous studies I've seen - which generally do same-day before and after measurements - it's a step. Also a step is that the study attempted to measure real-life effects, as opposed to cooping kids up in a lab, having them play a game, and then giving them mallets and seeing how often they hit each other. Also, the questions described as measuriaggressionion levels don't look like they really amount to much.

All in all, I'm not sure about how great the methods or results of this study are, but if they represent a progression towards real research in this area, and better yet to shut up a few whiney suburban moms who prefer to blame others for their obnoxious offspring than bother raising them themselves.

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