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back to article Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT

Forget hyper-realistic blood and pointless mayhem: if you want to turn a nice person into a blood-gore-veins-in-the-teeth killer, give them a video game with unplayable controls. That's the hypothesis put forward by researchers from the University of Rochester (US) and University of Oxford (UK), who, intrigued by the phenomenon …

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It's not just games

Just look at the way people feel about Win8. This study is a no-brainer.

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Re: It's not just games

That's actually a perfect analogy.

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Re: It's not just games

Or politics. Construct a system that results in an unplayable life experience, and stand well back...

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Joke

Dr Andrew Przybylski of Oxford?

Also known as A.O.?

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Frustration makes people angry

In other news, water is wet.

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Re: Frustration makes people angry

Also cold.

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Re: Frustration makes people angry

deep, too.

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Mushroom

So...

Flappy Bird is the harbinger of the apocalypse.

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just unlocked a repressed memory

I just remembered killing 32 people after a playing Tomb Raider:Angel of Darkness.

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Anonymous Coward

Situationism

There's a theory called situationism - it's more or less a critique of Virtue Ethics - which proclaim that our inclinations towards action, which virtue ethics would describe as relying on our character virtues and vices, are decided primarily by recent events.

The researchers would for instance have a woman walk by a pay phone just as someone was leaving, and drop their precious papers. It was found that people who had picked up a coin (10 cents I believe) in the return slot were a lot more likely to help pick up papers than those who hadn't.

Another instance involved having test subjects need to move from one building to another. Those who were told that they needed to be a bit quick about getting there would happily bypass the hurt looking individual, whilst those who were told that they should make their way there, but there was no particular rush would more frequently stop to help.

The problem with such thinking (and by extension I argue the experiment in this article) is that it falsely represents what is meant by virtues. Believing that someone who is generous will always act generously is misunderstanding virtues. Someone who is generous will simply have a bigger inclination towards generous actions (and often display some form of generosity). As for the research here it is of course possible to frustrate a person with rigged games, and I would certainly not want my children playing aggression inducing games during their early formative years. In my view though it matters more how long such aggression remains, how easily it is triggered, and how aware the person is of it.

I'm sure we all know someone who is easily frustrated, quick to anger. They might get frustrated, but they are aware of it, and they tackle it. This is how you want someone to deal with computer games making them frustrated - recognise and control it.

The mere fact that a game can frustrate you is obvious. So I agree. More research is require, preferably in long term effects, effects on the young (damn ethics getting in the way I suppose), and which factors seem to be relevant in differentiating those that get really frustrated from those that get mildly so - meaning the difference between those who would throw their controller and those who would say "this is annoying, I'm going to stop playing now".

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in other news

Cyber terrorists resurrect CLIPPY

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Re: in other news

That would be beyond terorrism, and straight into the realm of WMD's...

The aneurisms alone...

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Re: in other news

I see you're suffering an aneurysm, would you like help with that?

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Psychologists find that .....

...... screwing with someones head causes frustration and anger. I never knew winding someone up could piss them off.

On another note, as these guys were using Half Life in the test, maybe the next study should be why the failure to get Half Life 3 out of the door at Valve causes so much anger and violence.

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Re: Cold hands? Pah!

You're right, they are much more likely to take a dump truck and drop a ton of bricks on the unfortunate passers by. Now, the Pacman players, on the other hand....

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Sounds a lot like those...

Supermarket self service checkout machines.

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Re: Sounds a lot like those...no, not really

The UI on supermarket checkout machines is actually pretty good. If you have only one thing to buy, you can swipe the barcode, put it down, insert cash and be on your way in under 10 seconds; no need to touch the screen at all. The only checkout system I know faster than those machines is at Lidl, where the idea is you put stuff back in the trolley and pack it at a side counter.

It requires maybe an extra second or so on some things like fruit and veg to check the barcode is readable, but this is hardly rocket science. Or even rocket with baby watercress and spinach science.

No, what is really blood pressure inducing is the woman (sorry, but it's usually a woman in my experience) who having put everything slowly into bags then has to dig down in one of said bags to fund purse, hunts for cash, discovers she hasn't got enough, finds debit card, puts it in the wrong way...it is actually rudeness, because a thoughtful person would simply get better organised so as not to hold people up.

Someone needs to investigate the relationship between frustration and stupidity, i.e. how many people become frustrated because of their own inability to think ahead or plan ways of doing things.

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Re: Sounds a lot like those...no, not really

Did you know THERE'S A MUTE BUTTON on the self service machines.

Check it out next time - before you hit start, at the bottom of your self service machine, there is a speaker icon. HIT IT, and IT SHUTS UP!

(except you then have the problem of when there is an unexpected item in the bagging area and the machine isn't shouting about it - confuses the hell out of the supervisors.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds a lot like those...no, not really

A mute button? Never noticed it, but better than the bloody things shouting you.

A company a know were trialling a system that had no volume control, so in an occasionally loud environment they had to set the volume to its maximum for all transactions. The result was that an end user would be shouted at 95% of the time which basically meant that they never voluntarily returned to use the system. The solution was simple - passive microphone and adapt audio output level in response, but that was seen as "too complicated". The machines still shout at people, and the manufacturer is still considering implementing a volume control in the touch screen interface for the end user...

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Childcatcher

Re: Sounds a lot like those...

1) Approach Checkouts

2) Evaluate items

Nothing too light

Nothing too heavy, long, big, etc.

Not too much stuff (for pity's sake don't touch it to rearrange, once you have started the transaction)

No illegible, missing bar codes

No coupons, offers or other weirdness

Own bags, its a risk!

If you pass the above checks then there is an outside chance you could use a self checkout without assistance from the supervisor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds a lot like those...there is an outside chance you could use a self checkout

The only times I have had problems with self checkouts was in the early days, and once in the last few months when a £5 note got stuck in the change slot. It would be interesting to know if problems are concentrated on earlier machine or software versions.

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Re: Sounds a lot like those...there is an outside chance you could use a self checkout

I think one of the early problems was the supermarkets' databases (rather than the machines). Having worked for a large retailer I know that the buying teams didn't enter all the information from the suppliers into the product database. They only put in the stuff we used at the time.

So when EU regulations on packaging disposal and recycling came in, we had no data - and I rather suspect just made the figures up. Then paid a company to 'off-set' our recycling target.

In the same way, I'd imagine their databases were inaccurate on product weight. Which is why you heard so many bellowed "unexpected item in bagging area". They probably had the net weight, rather than the weight including packaging. Or just mistypes / missing data. I'm pretty sure I remember one particular product I buy regularly, that never worked. So it's a better explanation than different machines, on different days not liking it.

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Re: Sounds a lot like those...no, not really

"Someone needs to investigate the relationship between frustration and stupidity, i.e. how many people become frustrated because of their own inability to think ahead or plan ways of doing things."

stupid people don't frustrate themselves. the problem is they frustrate others.

incidentally there was a tv program not long ago about road rage. it showed various people getting irate when other people did "stupid" things on the road. the solution was to give other people more space and anticipate their stupidity. all the people who suffered rage were less angry when they gave the driver in front more space. it meant that regardless of how stupid the driver in front was, the extra space meant there was less chance of it affecting them.

so i suggest you take the same advice. give yourself more time to do your shopping. you can't change other people's stupidity. but you can reduce the impact it has on you.

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Re: Sounds a lot like those...no, not really

The UI on supermarket checkout machines is actually pretty good.

Not just the UI, but they've thought up some other good stuff too. Have you noticed that the beep on your checkout is a different tone than the beep coming from the checkout next to you? It is. This is done to avoid confusion: when you scan your items you intuitively know that the beeps are yours and not your neighbour's. Most people don't even realise this is happening, but it is, and it's a very clever idea.

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Re: Sounds a lot like those...no, not really

@ Shaha Alam: "you can't change other people's stupidity. but you can reduce the impact it has on you."

That...is probably the wisest thing I've heard all year. Nicely put!

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Re: Sounds a lot like those...no, not really

On balance I use the SSCM, I've never seen one go on a break when I'm just about to unload (fnarr fnarr). It's things like 'unexpected item.....' when I haven't even started yet

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sigh

So the conclusion is that if you frustrate people, they become unfriendly (er)? Wow, I never would've imagined this outcome, annoyed people become unfriendly, that must be the biggest breakthrough ever!

Ground breaking research right here people!

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Happy

Re: sigh

So the conclusion is that if you frustrate people, they become unfriendly

Well it's as good an explanation of the player-culture in EVE Online as I can think of...

Anyone want to invest in my Bitcoin ISK banking system?

Actually I suppose it's not. Because one of the nicest things about EVE was cooperating with a group to overcome the difficulties of the game. The universe can be a cruel place.

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Re: sigh

> one of the nicest things about EVE was cooperating with a group to overcome the difficulties of the game.The universe other players can be a cruel place.

Interestingly, what makes the EVE universe a cruel place is also other players.

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Anonymous Coward

I have destroyed an XBox 360 controller and almost destroyed another one after temper tantrums playing FPS. I am a man in his 30's with a responsible job.

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Anonymous Coward

"I have destroyed an XBox 360 controller"

Ja, Herr Hitler, running Germany is indeed a responsible job. But please stop chewing the carpet, Goering has just tripped over it.

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Facepalm

Hmm, I want to try an experiment...

... I'll take the researchers and slap them around the head a few times before they start their study and see how if affects their results...

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Anonymous Coward

I stopped playing games years ago

when I reached the conclusion that, simply put, I oughta.

I suspect these psychologists are finally telling me 'why'.

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MJI
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Frustration

Well I know what this is like.

Playing catchup at the moment so trying to whizz through Assassins Creed 3, but the control and forcedness are terrible, I wanted to snap the disc, steaming dog turd of a game.

Missions fail from respawn in 2 seconds, you slow for a moment, failed.

I cannot play it for more than an hour, just trying to get to the end so I can play AC4.

BTW I bought AC, AC2, AC2B, PS and DS version, a son bought AC2R AC3 AC4 ACL.

The original game was frustrating but in a good way, more freedom than later games as well.

All because I don't want to pay more than £40 for a game because I would rather be playing the latest Infamous.

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Re: Frustration

@MJI: In your case it sounds more like masochism...

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I think people here are missing the point

Which is that this study shows that it is the bad game design or controls that leads to increased aggression as opposed to any actual violent content inside the game.

This basically pulls the rug from under the feet of the "think of the childrenz" game-censoring crusaders, which is a good thing.

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Re: I think people here are missing the point

"This basically pulls the rug from under the feet of the "think of the childrenz" game-censoring crusaders, which is a good thing."

Do you really think that Mumsnet will draw that conclusion? Or Maria "I've pocketed thousands of your money, but it was the fault of the system" Miller, in her official capacity?

A pity this study did not include experiments involving people interacting with a typical corporate ERP system, most of which are works of great evil, involving sluggish, ancient code and ghastly counter-intuitive UI, zero help facilities (certainly in most users' languages). That would have show exactly the same findings.

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Re: I think people here are missing the point

Well, the Mumsnet population will not probably read about it in the Register but they might see it in this BBC article:

"Feelings of aggression after playing video games are more likely to be linked to gameplay mechanics rather than violent content, a study suggests."

"The study is not saying that violent content doesn't affect gamers, but our research suggests that people are not drawn to playing violent games in order to feel aggressive. Rather, the aggression stems from feeling not in control or incompetent while playing."

and

"Previous research published by Tanya Byron in her 2008 independent review 'Safer Children in a Digital World', found little evidence to suggest children who play video games become desensitised to violence."

All in all, should drive some on Mumsnet into a fit :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think people here are missing the point

I came across one of the research papers cited in the justification for the UK's "extreme porn" legislation. I'm no psychologist, but it looked like exactly the same phenomenon - annoy people (in that case by showing them things they find offensive) and they tend to get violent. The study wasn't done on people who wanted to see the material and quite possibly wouldn't have suffered the same effect, but the interpretation of the study's results was done by people who wanted porn banned, so that's what happened. I guess the same will be the case here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think people here are missing the point

Too many long words in the article for the average Mumsnet user to grok. They will get as far as "Feelings of aggression after playing video games" and that will be it.

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Re: I think people here are missing the point

I think you're right, but not because the words are too long.

More like they told the Mums what they wanted to hear in the first sentence then they switched off their brains and turned on the frothing machine..allegedly.

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Re: a pity... ERP systems

"A pity this study did not include experiments involving people interacting with a typical corporate ERP system, most of which are works of great evil, involving sluggish, ancient code and ghastly counter-intuitive UI, zero help facilities (certainly in most users' languages). That would have show exactly the same findings."

so you are an SAP user then? Most in my company are firmly convinced that SAP is an acronym for a German phrase that translates to 'THIS will thoroughly fuck with their heads! Who is laughing NOW, "Allies"? '

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@AC = Re: I think people here are missing the point

> I came across one of the research papers cited in the justification for the UK's "extreme porn" legislation. [...] it looked like exactly the same phenomenon - annoy people (in that case by showing them things they find offensive) and they tend to get violent.

Was this Malamuth and Donnerstein 1982?

See the bottom of this page: http://libertus.net/censor/rdocs/xrhoax7.html

""anything that increases the heart rate or skin temperature may create this 'aggression' response; in Edward Donnerstein's words: 'And yes, there are studies where males bicycle ride and then are more aggressive when they are angered.'" (Carol, 1994, p.63). "

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Anonymous Coward

Re: a pity... ERP systems

SAP? MACPAC surely proved that when it came to ERP, the United States could beat any German with one hand tied behind its back. Which is how most users felt when confronted with it.

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Re: I think people here are missing the point

"This basically pulls the rug from under the feet of the 'think of the childrenz' game-censoring crusaders, which is a good thing."

Nah, it only says they're choosing the wrong reason for censoring games.

Next up, a usability rating system! Sorry kids, you can't play this one, it's labeled AO for Awful Organization...

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Anonymous Coward

Once again...

It's not violent games that make people violent, it is hard games that make people violent. I said it before and say it again. Now these guys took a while to figure it out.

Mario Brothers would make me so angry and frustrated that I had to play Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat afterwards. Bashing someone's skull in a puddle of gore is so more satisfying after failing those pixel-narrow jumps in Mario Brothers, or - $deity forbid - Ninja Gaiden or the mother and father of frustration of them all, R-Type and Battletoads.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Once again...

So basic ally you're suggesting that to make the world a kinder place, the only computer game allowed should be 2x2 noughts and crosses where the user always has first turn?

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Re: Once again...

No, no, no - crosses are too violent.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Once again...

That's OK. We'll rename it to noughts and kisses.

[sadly we don't appear to have a vomit icon]

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