Do Video Games Influence Real Life Violence?

Dr. Patrick Markey is an associate professor at Villanova University in America studying psychology.  He has been asked to report on shootings to give an in depth focus as to why the individual did what they did.  Confirmation bias is when people take note and favour information that backs up their theory and put aside evidence that does not.  In the argument to whether video games influence violent behaviour different people have their own bias opinions.  Audiences don’t just passively take in media they watch on television, they will take it in differently questioning how the information being displayed affects them.  When watching the news relaying a story of a bomb attack in America some may react to the terrible loss of life meaninglessly others may see it as a message that those behind it with extremist views can strike anywhere.  This is one story being told to the audience but depending on the individual’s point of view they will take different thoughts away from it.  Media isn’t necessarily objective but subjective based on the individual.  Confirmation bias works in a similar way, when a violent shooting takes place the news may report that the individual played violent war games and so that must mean that violent games do encourage real life harm as there is now an example.  That individual believing this may then ignore the statistics that 1 in every 4 gamers play violent war games but there are not a quarter of all gamers out on a murderous rampage.


Dr. Patrick Markey looked at the way research was done to suggest video games do promote violence.  One group will play violent games for 15 minutes and the other group non-violent games.  They individuals would then fill out a questionnaire to do with the length of hypothetical jail sentences and pranks on people.  The argument states that these hypothetical questions don’t prove if people actions towards others would bring them to violence plus the fact that the questions weren’t directly about the individual being violent.  To counter this if the majority of results from the violent video game group involved being nastier with pranks etc. than the non violent games group then there would be a noticeable difference in the psychological thought process about actions towards others.


Studies cannot directly measure the correlation between violent video games and violent people; there are many other factors that come into making someone violent towards others.  The family environment, social attitudes, income, availability and easiness of violence are just a few factors that link into this debate.  Some argue that violence is not encouraged from video games, although it may only be true that games are not solely responsible.  The environment around the individual can influence their decisions but videogames could be a considerable factor, the virtual experience of anarchy and violence may only assure them that violent behaviour is the answer.  Many people play violent videogames and when that is mixed with other situations can result in violent behaviour but then even this can’t be accurately proved.  It’s like saying that eating cereal predict violent behaviour as that morning it’s likely the individual eat cereal for breakfast however this doesn’t prove cereal is a catalyst for violent behaviour in a similar way that videogames don’t.


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