The P300 response

Okay, normally when I read about another “study” that links violence with video games I usually brush it off. The latest one, from the University of Missouri-Columbia, actually seems to have at little more creedence than other studies I’ve read about.

The team monitored the brain activity of thirty-nine games players, measuring a type of activity called the P300 response, which reflects the emotional impact of an image. When shown images of real-life violence, those who played violent video games were found to have a diminished response.

Although they seem to come to reasonable conclusions (read the whole article), I still fail to see the connection. It’s impossible to say whether the diminished response in the the “game players” who played violent video games is due to playing video games or if they already had a diminshed P300 response before they ever played a game. There’s no correlation between their response and actually playing the games. It seems like they need to find a group of people who haven’t played violent games previously, let them play some Grand Theft Auto and Postal, and then run these tests. The lead researcher says:

As far as I’m aware, this is the first study to show that exposure to violent games has effects on the brain that predict aggressive behavior.

Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like a bit of a stretch. But that’s just me, the non-violent player of violent video games. (hat tip: Attempted Survival)


  1. It’s all just more of the same. Researchers claiming the desensitized to imagery or elevated adrenaline is “increased aggressive acts”, no matter how disparate from real world situations it might actually be.

    Even when the guys in white coats say “diminished response”, jackass psychos like Thompson will go boldly in front of a camera and proclaim “brainwashing”. The need to make this issue about crime has destroyed any logic it might have originally had.

  2. That’s the problem, Josh, scientists are doing the work and use less-than-precise verbiage like “diminished” so they have some wiggle room. I know how it is, I wrote a Master’s Thesis with lots of “wiggle room.” There aren’t a whole lot of absolutes in the world.

    Of course, that’s never stopped our buddy JT, now has it?

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