Violent Video Games Eventually Lose Their Ability To Make Gamers Feel Guilty

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by HardOCP News, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. HardOCP News

    HardOCP News [H] News

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    Researchers from the University at Buffalo have published the results of a new study that claims violent video games eventually lose their ability to produce guilt in gamers. I'm not sure how the study was conducted or who the participants were, but maybe "gamers" know that a game is just a game. I think it is pretty easy to see that someone that doesn't play video games might feel bad about shooting aliens or running over pedestrians in a video game, while someone that plays GTA V all day couldn't care less about either. ;)

    The findings provide the first experimental evidence that repeatedly playing the same violent game reduces emotional responses — like guilt — not only to the original game, but to other violent video games as well. Yet why this is happening remains a mystery, according to Matthew Grizzard, assistant professor of communication and principal investigator of the study published in current issue of the journal “Media Psychology,” with co-authors Ron Tamborini and John L. Sherry of Michigan State University and René Weber of the University of California Santa Barbara.
     
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  2. Yakk

    Yakk [H]ardness Supreme

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    Desensitization occurs with any given activity. Use guns, it becomes normal, doctors practice cutting people open, it become second nature to them. Nothing new here...
     
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  3. Alia Nexis

    Alia Nexis [H]Lite

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    Is there any mention of this lack of guilt transferring over to other media, or to real life (not necessarily viewing violent acts)? It seems this is just a result of repetition.
     
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  4. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    "eventually lose their ability to produce guilt in gamers"

    Ummm.. it it just a game.

    I would like to know of a single person who ever felt guilty about "killing" the bad guys in a video game. Or "killing" the good guys in a video game for that matter.

    I for one, know of nobody that ever had "guilt" about "killing" somebody or something in a video game.

    Now if you are talking about.. oh crap, I just killed a character that made it so I can't complete a certain quest.. then yeah. But that is just because I have to go back load a saved game (best case scenario).

    I got my first computer at the ripe old age of 12... 25 years ago, and not once did I even think "oh no, I just 'killed' a digital character".

    How do these tards that do this research get brainwashed into thinking that video games are ensiting violence or whatever other ideas they can come up with?
     
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  5. raz-0

    raz-0 [H]ardness Supreme

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    No, it's a bullshit psychology paper.

    Basically it says violent games can cause guilty feelings. This is a real emotion for a real person, so it HAS REAL WORLD EFFECTS OMFG!!!!!

    Then they go on and demonstrate that if you play the game over and over, that guilty feeling is reduced, and that this change applies to similar games. From this they can furiously rub their genitals while claiming that video games inhibit your ability to feel guilty about things in the real world, and that video games will create psychopaths!

    All while ignoring that emotional responses are contextual.
     
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  6. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I must be an anomaly, even when I set out to be an evil game character I wind up doing good things, I feel compelled to help in Fallout and Skyrim. I don't know if it's a mania about the reward aspect, but I have probably created 6 different Fallout 3 characters and only once did I blow up Megaton even though you get a much nicer house in Ten-Penny Towers then the shack in Megaton. And really, who wouldn't blow up Megaton if just to get rid of that annoying bitch Moira? But still, I've only done it once.
    :D
     
  7. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I felt guilty about killing Paladin Danse in FO4 and he was a synth.

    Who else?

    I've been gaming since games first existed, Pong was what? Like 1973 or something?

    The wiki says 1972.

    As we all know, this is bullshit.
     
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  8. alxlwson

    alxlwson You Know Where I Live

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    I felt guilty killing the Brotherhood and the Railroad for Father. But I wanted to be a good father and be with my son. I felt like a POS after all that.
     
  9. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Same thing happens when I order pizza. I feel guilty, but if I do it enough then I don't care how fat I get and the guilt is gone.
     
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  10. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Ignore Me

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    I used to walk past the Movies featured at Walmart on the display cases if it didn't have a Gun on the front Cover it wasn't a Hollywood movie.
     
  11. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot 2[H]4U

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    Hard to judge what was really in the actual research paper from the short 'made for the Internet' news blurb. Sounds like a good bit of research as long as they stick to reporting real findings and avoid speculation on how the results carry over to real life. There is so much we don't know about how our minds work that stuff like this is useful.

    As to the feeling guilt thing, as a long time role playing gamer, if I try to imagine that guard by the door as a real person with real life issues, sure I might feel a bit of guilt as my computer toon cuts said poor guard in half. But the brief bit of guilt doesn't keep me from playing the game because that is all it is, just a game.
     
  12. amddragonpc

    amddragonpc [H]ard|Gawd

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    There IS a difference between whacking a hooker in GTA and doing it in real life. In the former, there are no real life consequences. In the latter, Guido, "The Killer Pimp", will probably find who whacked his hooker and kill them. Maybe the people who conducted the study should try whacking a hooker in real-life. (j/k)
     
  13. Derangel

    Derangel [H]ard as it Gets

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    Most games aren't designed to make you feel guilty. They're designed for you to have fun either by yourself or with other people. There are some games that are designed in a way that you feel bad for the characters, or sometimes feel bad about the choices you have to make, but those games are supposed to have some emotional impact and if you get drawn into the characters and story enough the game will manipulate you into having those emotions. Even with those games, repetition of the manipulation or of playing the game means you are no longer going to be as effected by the moments. You know they're coming and you see the manipulation so you will be immune to it. The first time I played Mass Effect I struggled with the decision of which character to save and which to leave to their fate. Ashley and Kaiden weren't great characters but I'd gotten to know them, I went on a missions with them, etc. So the choice was hard. I went and saved Ashley because she was guarding the bomb and her surviving long enough to set it off was more important to the mission. I felt bad for having to leave Kaiden to a certain death, but I had to make the choice I felt the Shepard I was playing would make. When I played the game again I didn't have that struggle or the guilt of the decision. I knew the mission would succeed regardless and the entire choice was just to make you feel bad about that choice. It's the same with moves or books. Repeated exposure to the same thing over time does desensitize a person. This concept isn't exclusive to video games.
     
  14. mls1995

    mls1995 2[H]4U

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    aside from spec ops the line, pretty much all games are supposed to be fun and carefree. spec ops the line is the only game I know of that goes out of it's way to guilt the gamer
     
  15. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap 2[H]4U

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    They should be celebrating.

    What kind of species would we be if a pixelized simulation could consistently invoke one of the most powerful emotions in us without some sort of rational over-ride where our brain says "my eyes say I gunned down an innocent person, but it was just pixels, nobody died."

    I don't think they would want to live in a world where fake images can consistently produce real emotions without any skepticism, caution, or rationality to intervene.
     
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  16. tikiman2012

    tikiman2012 [H]ard|Gawd

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    In other news: Video games are fantasy. They're not real!
     
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  17. xorbe

    xorbe [H]ardness Supreme

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    Um, what about those of us that never felt "video game guilt" in the first place. I never understood those gamers that lament about the choice between Sabal and Amita in FC4 ... dude, it's just a slight variation of outpost missions, with a tacked on story, in a video game.
     
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  18. carnageX

    carnageX Limp Gawd

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    That game was a helluva feels trip - including the alternate endings.
     
  19. Lamont

    Lamont 2[H]4U

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    But the more we strive to make things more realistic(graphics and AI) and immerse the user in the world, then that argument will loose more and more weight.
     
  20. athenian200

    athenian200 Gawd

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    I have to admit that for me, at least, I actually do feel guilty when killing certain NPCs. I don't mind killing monsters or animals at all. With humans, though, there's a sliding scale. It doesn't actually stop me from killing anyone I need to in order to progress, but some people are a lot less satisfying to kill than others. I suppose it could be a sort of guilt mechanism.

    Easy (kill them as fast as I can hit the button):
    Tyrants/Dictators that have harmed a lot of people. (Bowser, Ganon, etc).
    Criminals harming innocent people.
    Generic bad guys/Criminals.

    Moderate (kill them as I go along):
    Anti-heroes, more complex villains (Mithos, Amon, etc).
    Enemy soldiers in a warfare scenario.
    Guards speaking a language other than English, or with heavy accents (French/Spanish soldiers in AC, Russians, Chinese, Arabs, North Koreans, etc).

    Hard (I go out of my way to use stealth and kill as few as possible, given the choice):
    Former allies or party members (Kain from FF4, Kratos/Zelos from Tales of Symphonia).
    Soldiers or guards that speak English natively (British soldiers from AC, various prison guards, Australian/Canadian/American military personnel.)
    Civilians.

    It's not so much that I feel guilt with the third category... but when killing NPCs in the first or second category, I get a kind of satisfaction from it. When I kill someone in the third category, I don't enjoy it at all. I just end up thinking, "That really wasn't fun. Why couldn't they have just made the enemies here criminals or foreigners? Was it absolutely necessary to make them so relatable?"
     
  21. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I do, I constantly feel guilty about killing innocents in a videogame. But I never feel that way about killing the baddies.
    You probably view videogames in a different way, not as an imitation of reality, but something completely detached from it.
    That's why my first and most important metric on how good a video game is how realistic it is. I guess you couldn't care less about realism as long as it is fun.

    When I accidentally kill bystanders in GTA that's just collateral damage, but that I can live with. But when I do it on purpose I always feel guilty as hell. Because it was my choice. But if it's the goal of the game to kill innocents then I don't care, I don't feel any guilty since it's not my moral choice.
     
  22. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    They've spent years trying to find a non-existent connection between violent video games and actual violence. Now they're still trying to scare people by pointing out that after you play GTA3 for a while killing the in-game pedestrians becomes no big deal.

    This isn't science. Who funds this stuff?
     
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  23. Armenius

    Armenius I Drive Myself to the [H]ospital

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    I actually don't know what guilt is because I live my life as a decent human being. And I also have the cognitive faculties to realize a video game isn't real.
     
  24. tikiman2012

    tikiman2012 [H]ard|Gawd

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    "The Matrix isn't real."
     
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  25. modi123

    modi123 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I felt bad for slaughtering all the kobolds in a Neverwinter Nights game. I stopped and contemplated what a horrible person I was. Then I saw one I missed pop out from behind a tree and I promptly slayed it with a maxed out magic missile so I could go back feeling remorse and guilt for kobold genocide as I looted their corpses.
     
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  26. Farkle

    Farkle Lurker

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    I am never going to understand how correlative studies actually get published in psychology so frequently when compared to other sciences. I argue a lot with peers that psychology is not a science, but everyone keeps insisting it is... yet, this is the common place in the field that very much makes me suspect on method not being applied.

    "The direction of the parameter estimates indicates that males felt less guilt than females and positive affect was associated with less guilt."

    Wait, hasn't the field of psychology also implied that females feel more guilt than males to begin with? That skews the P-value covariance even more for data shaping in the direction of the conclusion. The study group isn't large enough, nor is it broad enough in demographic. Saying that undergraduates represent a baseline in judgement is some serious rose colored glasses, regardless of the anecdote from linked studies. There is also a slope for desensitization when it comes to any interaction -- an initial response to environment will cause your sensitivity to drop rapidly, but after a while it tapers and stabilizes. This is not limited to, but seen in all stressful situations (not just guilt, and shame): soldiering, car accidents, animal slaughter (butcher), etc. Without a functional magnetic resonance scan before, during, and after: studies like this can't even be taken seriously. This is just academia perpetuated nonsense for a pat on the back and further circle jerking until someone comes around and actually does real science to circle jerk some more or dismiss it entirely. With the latter having the effect of some armchair idiot on the Internet or a politician still using the study later for their arguments about whatever twaddle that is related to their agenda... "Argh!", is all I can really say at this point.
     
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  27. Devilpup

    Devilpup [H]ard|Gawd

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    The study has less to do with video games and violence than you'd think despite the name. It's really an experiment regarding guilt and human emotion in a virtual setting and how taking consequences out of the equation impacts human behavior. In any case, it's getting harder to publish the same rubbish over and over so they add a new angle: instead of saying it makes you violent, they say it makes you feel less guilty...which leads to an increase in aggression.

    Gamers always get offended at this stuff but you have to recognize that half the people writing this shit now are gamers too, but they have to write something to get paid and this is an easy out for the most part. A good number of the graduate papers I wrote were on video games and violence simply because it's a hot topic, there's lots of reference material, and it's an easy experiment to conduct for a win in a short window. A more accurate approach would be a long-term study including overall trends in violent game sales and general crime statistics, but that's more resource intensive and cuts into the university budget.
     
  28. rezerekted

    rezerekted 2[H]4U

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    Guilt? I've never felt an ounce of guilt playing any violent video game ever. Does that make me a bad person?
     
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  29. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Guilt is not a cognitive function. You don't decice that you have to feel guilty about something. It should happen automatically. And knowing that a video game isn't real doesn't mean you can't feel guilty about doing bad things in it. If it was just the question of knowing that it's not real, then why do people cry when watching sad movies? They do know it's not real, yet it still happens. The same logic should apply for guilt. Now before you take my head off, I'm not suggesting that you're bad person for not feeling guilty about games. What I'm suggesting is that for some reason you're not immersed enough into games to get an emotional reaction. Just out of curiosity do you get emotional from movies, or is it the same?
     
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  30. Farkle

    Farkle Lurker

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    Guilt is both, though? It's psychodynamic and cognitive by definition. Remorse (which is closely related to guilt, but not guilt) is more of what it sounds like you're elaborating. People cry during movies because they're under a similar state to hypnosis while being engaged, which also affects gameplay if someone is immersed enough in a similar way. The trouble with immersion is not everyone is going to be equally immersed in the same content, their reward system differs for the activity they're participating in, which also skews this idea quite a bit utilizing stratified sampling method (one size does not fit all, despite what psychological standards will attempt to explain)

    I too, wonder this.
     
  31. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    Violent Video Games never had the Ability To Make Gamers Feel Guilty

    Fixed the title to what it should read.

    That argument never loses weight. Doesn't matter how immersive, or realistic it feels. It is still a game and thus nothing but code. It has no ability to make any mentally balanced person feel guilty.
     
  32. Miikun

    Miikun Limp Gawd

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    I'm not sure, i've been playing violent video games for over 30 years now, and i'm occasionally surprised by guilt when games force you to choose between two or three choices that you personally wouldn't have picked by a dialog tree forces that you to pick one to proceed. This usually happens if your previous gameplay up til this point allows you to act out your character then suddenly throws a curve ball that breaks the persona. But it seems to depend on the game, if you were told you were a hardcore gangster right from the start, and you adopt the persona, it doesn't happen when I decided to play the villian. But if you decided you were going to play the stealth route and suddenly you had to break that plan because the designers forced you to kill someone, that decision sometimes makes you feel guilty. Or if you managed to keep an npc alive for 75% of the game, but due to your save point, you have to sacrifice the npc to avoid replaying 3 hours from your previous save point, I feel guilty. It seems like guilt is disappointment from deviating from your game persona's code of ethics, not necessarily your own personal code of ethics. So a really simple statement that all violent video games blah blah really seems like naive grandstanding.

    I think it would be a lot more prevalent in VR, especially since it's possible to make VR games far more sandbox with less prompting and cutscenes/text to introduce you to your persona bu just dropping you into an evnironment to explore. Your game persona would probably mirror your own, then suddenly the game forces you to murder a puppy in gruesome first person VR detail (because you're find out you're actually a zombie or something), or murder a innocent who screams, pleads and tries to get away before you dine on their brain like in Indiana Jones, I think it would have a stronger emotional response than if you had read the box with a plot summary so you can approach it with amusement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  33. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    I think you have guilt and disappointment confused. There are plenty of times in games where I am "Disappointed" I have to kill off a character for various reasons. There is never a time where I feel "Guilty" for doing so. Guilt is a feeling of wrong doing, not of being forced to make a decision that affects plot points or progress.
     
  34. Miikun

    Miikun Limp Gawd

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    Mmm it's guilt, I'm pretty sure I know the difference between disappointment and guilt. I'm disappointed when i miss a dialog that would let me get a better result,more loot, or better stats, this is fed by my ego to make the best decisions possible for character progression. I'm guilty when I am forced by the game to do something I feel the character didn't want to do, but chose to do anyway (not that there's actually any choice in these cases, it's usually bad, worse, or you can't progress) because clicking that button makes me feel like I read the EULA and decided to click through anyway even though I knew it was morally wrong. In both cases, I feel complicit for bending to the game, both literally and figuratively. This is also different than when you choose a prompt that says once thing, and the character voices something totally different, that just makes me angry since I had no hand in the result. The proper answer to these crappy dialogs is "screw this game, and the designer" and throw it in the bin, but I succumb to my completionist ways and the lure of progression.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  35. Killahurtz

    Killahurtz Gawd

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    "researcher"..........that's another word for "BUM"
     
  36. Trimlock

    Trimlock [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I never liked Violent video games, except the really gory ones like Quake and Doom.

    Oh shit I like violent video games!
     
  37. Miikun

    Miikun Limp Gawd

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    I think everyone does, before video games we just played Cowboys and Indians, or Catholics vs Protestants and Humans vs Neanderthals or something. Bet the Neanderthals didn't, look how they ended up.
     
  38. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    Then quite honestly you are way too sensitive and need to get a better grip on reality vs fantasy. I have never once got so invested in a game that it made me feel guilty because a made up character didn't act in the way I "thought" it was scripted.
     
  39. wuzupfoo

    wuzupfoo Limp Gawd

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    I love how these kind of stories basically are pushing the fact, albeit in an underhanded way, that people, in this case gamers, are idiots...
     
  40. Miikun

    Miikun Limp Gawd

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    I think it's just being empathetic, it's a necessary skill to properly understand other emotional viewpoints. Empathy isn't just a purely logical facility, it is partially innate and partially a skill. Empathetic people may also cry at movies, reading a book, weddings and funerals (even for strangers), patriotic events or watching a rocket land on a barge, but that doesn't mean they have lost their grip on reality and think that they've somehow become a fictional character, that interpretation is missing the forest for the trees. They are merely able to understand another's emotional viewpoint easily (fictional or otherwise), and that "ain't broke". Better than the alternative when you have no idea why you're wife or children are pissed because you're Vulcan. It's actually a bit sad if works of fiction doesn't inspire emotion, that's exactly the best part.