Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Do games prime brain for violence?

Filed under
Gaming

YOU know that just round the corner is a man who wants to kill you. Your heart is pounding and your hands are sweating - even though this is only a video game. But what is happening in your brain?

A small study of brain activity in video-game veterans suggests that their brains react as if they are treating the violence as real.

More than 90 per cent of American children play video games every day, and half of the top sellers contain extreme violence. There is now strong evidence that people who play violent games tend to be more aggressive. For example, in 2000, Craig Anderson and Karen Dill at Iowa State University in Ames reported data showing that violent-game players were more likely to report high levels of aggression and to have committed assaults or robberies. But finding out whether it is the games that make them violent or the violence that attracts them to the games has proved much harder.

Klaus Mathiak at the University of Aachen in Germany set out to discover what is happening in gamers' brains as they encounter violent situations. He recruited 13 men aged 18 to 26, who played video games for 2 hours every day on average, and asked them to play a violent game while having their brains scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). By the time of the experiment, the volunteers were proficient at the game, which required them to navigate a complicated bunker, find and kill terrorists and try to rescue hostages.

Mathiak analysed the game scene by scene and studied how brain activity changed during violent interactions. This meant that he could compare patterns of brain activity immediately before and during fights with activity at less aggressive points in the game.

He found that as violence became imminent, the cognitive parts of the brain became more active. And during a fight, emotional parts of the brain, such as the amygdala and parts of the anterior cingulate cortex, were shut down. This pattern is the same as that seen in subjects who have had brain scans during other simulated violent situations such as imagining an aggressive encounter. It is impossible to scan people's brains during acts of real aggression so Mathiak argues that this is as close as you can get to the real thing. It suggests that video games are a "training for the brain to react with this pattern," he says.

Niels Birbaumer of the University of Tübingen in Germany speculates that playing violent video games regularly would strengthen these circuits in the brain. A regular player confronted with a similar real-life situation, might be more primed for aggression, Birbaumer says.

But Jeffrey Fagan, violence expert at Colombia University in New York says the link between brain activity and violence is complex:"The frontal lobe functions associated with violence have more to do with restraint than the arousal to action."

Source.

More in Tux Machines

OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2 OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2

Leap 42.2 Beta2 is looking pretty good, except for the problems with Plasma 5 and the nouveau driver. That’s really an upstream issue (a “kde.org” issue). I hope that is fixed in time for the final release. Otherwise, I may have to give up on KDE for that box. Read more

Unimpressive Yakkety Yak, Plasma 5 Issues in Leap

Today was a rough day in Linux distro news, Scott Gilbertson reviewed the Beta of upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 saying there's not a whole lot to recommend in this update. Neil Rickert test drove openSUSE's latest beta and had issues with his NVIDIA. Jesse Smith couldn't tell what was added to Uruk over base Trisquel and Gary Newell didn't see much point to portable Porteus since most stuff didn't work. Read more Also: Indicator Sound Switcher Makes Switching Audio Devices on Ubuntu a Snap

BeagleBone Black Wireless SBC taps Octavo SiP, has open design

BeagleBoard.org’s “BeagleBone Black Wireless” SBC uses Octavo’s OSD335x SiP module and replaces the standard BeagleBone Black’s Ethernet with 2.4GHz WiFi and BT 4.1 BLE. BeagleBone Black Wireless is the first SBC to incorporate the Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP (system-in-package) module, “which integrates BeagleBone functionality into one easy-to-use BGA package,” according to BeagleBoard.org. Announced on Sep. 26, the OSD3358 SiP integrates a TI Sitara AM3358 SoC along with a TI TPS65217C PMIC, TI TL5209 LDO (low-drop-out) regulator, up to 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and over 140 passives devices including resistors, capacitors, and inductors, within a single BGA package. The Linux-driven hacker SBC also adds TI WiLink 8 WL1835MOD wireless module with 2.2 MIMO. Read more Also: Epiq Solutions' Sidekiq M.2 NAS-targeted Skylake Mini-ITX loads up on SATA, GbE, PCIe

Android Leftovers

  • 6 open source fitness apps for Android
    A key part of developing a good fitness routine is creating a solid workout plan and tracking your progress. Mobile apps can help by providing readily accessible programs specifically designed to support the user's fitness goals. In a world of fitness wearable devices like FitBit, there are plenty of proprietary apps designed to work with those specific devices. These apps certainly provide a lot of detailed tracking information, but they are not open source, and as such, do not necessarily respect the user's privacy and freedom to use their own data as they wish. The alternative is to use open source fitness apps. Below, I take a look at six open source fitness apps for Android. Most of them do not provide super detailed collection of health data, but they do provide a focused user experience, giving the user the tools to support their workouts or develop a plan and track their progress. All these apps are available from the F-Droid repository and are all licensed under the GPLv3, providing an experience that respects the user's freedom.
  • Roku Express, Roku Premiere, and Roku Ultra announced, starting at $29.99
    Roku Inc, maker of the popular Roku line of home media players, has just refreshed their entire product lineup at once. The existing lineup of flagship Roku boxes (but not the Roku Streaming Stick) has been replaced by three new products (with upgraded models for each); the Roku Express, the Roku Premiere, and the Roku Ultra.
  • This is what the Chromecast Ultra will look like
    Google is ramping up for their major October 4th event. In addition to seeing the Pixel and the Pixel XL formally unveiled, we’re also expecting a new Chromebook and the Chromecast Ultra. Until today, we had no idea what to really expect from the new Chromecast device in terms of design, but now we’re finally getting a sneak peek.
  • Android + Chrome = Andromeda; merged OS reportedly coming to the Pixel 3
    It has been almost a year since The Wall Street Journal dropped a bomb of a scoop on the Android community, saying Chrome OS would be "folded into" Android. The resulting product would reportedly bring Android to laptops and desktops. According to the paper, the internal effort to merge these two OSes had been underway for "roughly two years" (now three years) with a release planned for 2017 and an "early version" to show things off in 2016. It seems like we're still on that schedule, and now Android Police claims to have details on the new operating system—and its first launch device—coming Q3 2017.