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perafilozof
24-11-2011, 11:56 AM
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/11/23/natures-neuroscientific-review-of-games/#comment-page-1

I was intrigued by this article enough to start a discussion:

Let me tell you something after about 16 years of games (on Sega, PS 1 and PC, in that order)

1. “reduced attention'' it's not a total factor in the total sum of your life's actions, I personally have noticed and am aware of my “reduced attention'' when studying, doing repetitive tasks, BUT not at all while listening to my teachers at school and later in college, or any task that required even a little of imagination or personal involvement.
My conclusion, as a well educated 23 year old, was that gaming only made me more selective of the way I used my minds resources and at tasks I liked I used them all, at ones I don't I run on autopilot.
This is also correlated to a more and more specific taste in games and movies for example. *Today it takes me mere 1 - 2 seconds to tell you if a movie is A or B class or if I would play that game or not. This can also be contributed to a lot of experience with each, but without comparison to other people with similar age and gaming age I can't say for sure which is it.

2. ''enhanced abilities'' yes. On my own I have noticed not just faster visual processing (as mentioned above*) that comes with playing FPS games, especially online MP modes, but also a far more analytical approach to every decision that I have to make in life. When playing sandbox open ended strategy or simulator games(Cesar, Tropico, Anno, Settlers type games) you have to keep juggling anywhere from 5 - 20 aspects of the game at the same time, equivalent to making a lego on a boat while riding 10 m waves while blindfolded.
Also ad :
Better hand - eye coordination,
faster problem solving,
more often out of the box thinking and
expanded memory.

3. ''desensitising'' and ''reduce empathy''. I agree and disagree on this point.
Yes, I have noticed my self, that I have become desensitised and even have reduced empathy for other people, BUT not all other people. For strangers, people I have little contact with, even my relatives that I only ''know of'' and not ''know them'' I have extremely little empathy. ''extremely little'' as in even if I saw them run down in front of me by a car I would call for help, help them my self but would otherwise not be emotionally moved in anyway. As for people close to me, people I know very well like me parents, close relatives I spend a lot of time with, grandmother, grandfather, old childhood friends, long time girlfriends I have full empathy and am not desensitised from them even a little.
Now there is a quote from Yoda in Star Wars that I like to follow in these things: "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."

4. ''human aggression'', as long as you as a person who understands that your killing bits of data, textures, simulated imaginary constructs, you will be fine. As long as you know that after you hit the exit and shutdown your game that your not in the game anymore you can't possible transfer aggression in a game to any live beings around you.
I would like to say that since games only look a little bit like real life and are in 99% of time massively obviously made up ( Shooting some one with a RPG from 2 m away, leaping onto a dragon and slamming your enchanted sword in his fire breathing head, fighting daemons, undead, dwarfs, elfs, orcs, and 1000 other creatures from books, myths and legends) you will have a hard time transferring aggression to real life.

But now take a look on your TV where you see real, flesh and blood children, man, woman killing, maiming, butchering, and doing all sorts of other not normal behavior while living in their worlds that look 100% like your own. Now you tell me what is more likely to make you be aggression.
Something that looks barely real that even a 5 year old can see its not real, or something that looks 100% real.

Only thing I can ad is that all this is only a fraction of the life that influences you from the moment your conceived, even in your mother's womb your still influenced by the world around you. To say games do this or that and make you do this or that is kinda incredibly closed minded.

Nalano
24-11-2011, 05:52 PM
I remember there being a statistical study done (http://cursor.org/stories/television_and_violence.htm) in which the rates of physical aggression and violence were correlated with the introduction of broadcast television into societies which didn't yet have it.

Now, the gist of the Nature article you linked and the gist of the AMA article I linked is that, yes, there are a great deal of mitigating factors as well as complexities involved, but the trends seem worthy of study: Pump us full of violent imagery day in day out, and that's our touchstone for life.

Zetetic
24-11-2011, 06:11 PM
as long as you as a person who understands that your killing bits of data, textures, simulated imaginary constructs, you will be fine. As long as you know that after you hit the exit and shutdown your game that your not in the game anymore you can't possible transfer aggression in a game to any live beings around you.Really? I'm unsure you can cite a study which shows this. Now, greater awareness of the fictionality of the environment may well play a role, but it seems unlikely to be absolute.

I mean, in really trivial terms and looking purely the shortest of effects, arousal from playing a game isn't going to switch off just because you put the controller down. However, there's considerable evidence, Nalano citing but one interesting study but there have been numerous longitudinal examinations of various kinds of media, that people do learn violent behaviour from violent media.


But now take a look on your TV where you see real, flesh and blood children, man, woman killing, maiming, butchering, and doing all sorts of other not normal behavior while living in their worlds that look 100% like your own. Now you tell me what is more likely to make you be aggression.Who knows? People certainly have very little difficulty understanding what the limited textured 3D models and so forth represent in games - just as people known what the images on their TV do -, but of course it's still interesting to ask if simple graphical realism beyond that is relevant and how.

I think you've missed out a fairly major point in that games are interactive - you're often maiming and butchering (or, and this is also worth not neglecting, mashing buttons to cause the player character to) rather than watching it occur.

(Others have also talked at length on here about the moral content (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?1647-Where-are-all-my-moralistic-videogames) of video games at this point in time. I expand upon my criticism of your claim that we do not learn behaviour from fictional works.
Obviously making comparisons with TV and so on are non-trivial, particularly given that people do select what they watch.)


Something that looks barely real that even a 5 year old can see its not real, or something that looks 100% real.Focusing back on this, I think that's actually a question that's going to become increasingly irrelevant - a great many large game developers and publishers (and hardware manufacturers) are constantly striving towards photorealism in their works.


Only thing I can ad is that all this is only a fraction of the life that influences you from the moment your conceived,
Sure. No one except the hysterical expects games, or any particular game, to be the overwhelming factor in your cognition and behaviour unless you spend you're waking hours in front of one day-in and day-out.


To say games do this or that and make you do this or that is kinda incredibly closed minded.
As is denying a priori that they do not, or appealing to ridiculous positions that we haven't had an epidemic of ADHD-riddled serial murderers and hence no game can have a deleterious effect, or to go from 'activities interact with pre-existing personality factors' to 'only the nigh-insane can have their behaviour made worse by playing a game'.

Also, as the Nature article, as John and as I pointed out (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?2000-A-decision-that-we-as-a-group-may-need-to-make&p=56114#post56114), you also need to consider the types of games (and indeed how you type them). To talk of 'games' doing this or not is most likely a mistake whatever.

Drake Sigar
24-11-2011, 06:45 PM
I am desensitised because the news organisations bombard me with horror story after horror story until my psyche gets used to it, because technology has gradually deprived me of basic human interaction, because movies continue pushing the limits of brutality and gore in order to get any reaction from the audience at all. There are so many reasons, and they should all be analysed individually, but don't let anyone ever tell you a single particular thing is wholly responsible for the way you think. We are more complex than that.

perafilozof
24-11-2011, 08:58 PM
I think you've missed out a fairly major point in that games are interactive - you're often maiming and butchering (or, and this is also worth not neglecting, mashing buttons to cause the player character to) rather than watching it occur.


Your right about that. I have overlooked that fact.
Yes its not the same puling the trigger your self, but then again your clicking the mouse, or your controller. And yes, in the movies or at home at your TV you watch it happen you don't do it.

But that is where difference of realism comes in, as I have previously wrote.

Can we say that one negates the other? Or is one stronger then the other is a valid question.


Obviously making comparisons with TV and so on are non-trivial, particularly given that people do select what they watch.)

As can people chose what they will play.

Zetetic
24-11-2011, 09:18 PM
Can we say that one negates the other? Or is one stronger then the other is a valid question.
I would agree that it's a question that's worthy of investigation. I wouldn't quite phrase it in terms of strength, but I'd be interested in both how significant visual realism and kinds of interactivity are.

It seems to me very intuitive that interactivity - making a choice and seeing its consequences - is a very powerful aspect of games. That's something which I think lots of people that wish to see games as art, or more widely as being able to communicate anything, would agree with.


As can people chose what they will play.Oh, sure. I didn't mean anything otherwise and I should have been clear about this. More that even if we accept that there is much greater distribution variety in mainstream TV and film of messages on the morality of, say, violence that we've still got to consider that many people will choose not to be exposed to that variety. (And, as others have noted in that thread, attitude change is complex; opposing viewpoints to your own can often serve to confirm your existing beliefs.)

(In modern games, the 'mainstream' has - it seems to me and others in the thread I linked to - a very strong emphasis on the utility of violence. Not without exception, of course.)

Nalano
25-11-2011, 12:24 AM
Hey, does anybody remember a (quick frankly underrated) movie starring Robin Williams called "Toys (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105629/)," way back when?

This thread made me think of how prophetic it was, in that scene with the wargames, when it came to Predator drones and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's AC130 level.

Zetetic
25-11-2011, 03:47 AM
The AC130 level's an interesting thing to bring up actually, given perafilozof's suggestion about visual similarity.

I felt very uncomfortable because I knew that the entirety of my experience at that time was very, very similar to someone actually killing real people (drone pilots, like you say, more than AC130 gunners sure). (Of course it's unlikely at all to be the kind of the experience that would make me, or anyone, prone to aggression.)

To look at it the other way, actual drone pilots now have a worrying detached experience (and there's interesting psychological issues for the mental health of the pilots and issues in decision making) and that level brought it home to me in way which nothing else really had, so I think it's remarkable in that way.

Hmm, I do realise that this post doesn't really go anywhere. I suppose the thought in the back of my mind is that while games, such as CoD, may not entirely photo-realistically depict physical, visceral, aggressive acts of violence they certainly do depict them in utterly recognisable ways. The AC130 level is a notable exception to that, which both depicted violence very realistically but in doing so made the consequences nigh unrecognisable - as they are in real life to a drone operator.