Electronic games that involve human contact with a user interface in order to create visual reactions on video devices are referred to as video games. The word “video” applies to any form of display system that can generate two-dimensional or three-dimensional images. Individuals may benefit from video games as well as suffer negative consequences. Using two posts, Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills by Trudeau Michelle and The Social Benefits of Video Gaming” by Clay Routledge, this essay would compare and contrast the impact of media on audiences. I’ll compare how the two papers react to the effects of video games on both the people who play them and culture as a whole utilizing the topic to subject model.
According to the first post, several scientific findings suggest that playing anti-social video games, such as violent ones, causes people to engage in violent actions and violence. This is because one is deeply interested with these video games and therefore would have to behave in the way in which he plays. Another explanation is that people who play violent video games sometimes associate with the violent protagonists and therefore behave violently themselves. Violent games often reward violent behaviour, when those that engage in violent behavior while playing are rewarded with money, the ability to advance to the next round, or verbal reinforcement, such as “Great shot!” after killing an enemy. This incentive means that the level of aggression rises.
This was shown in a study where boys were shown to be more violent after playing a challenging video game. For instance, “In a study published in the journal of Experimental Social Psychology this year, participants played either a violent or non-violent video game for 20 minutes per day over 3 days. After playing the game, they then played a competitive task in which, if they won, they could blast their opponent with an unpleasant noise. The researchers found that participants who played violent games blasted their opponents in the secondary task for longer, which was interpreted as an increase in aggressive behavior” (Silvia 54).
If violent video games may induce violence and violent actions, than prosocial video games, such as tit for tat games, can also trigger prosocial behavior, according to Clay Routledge, a counselor. Prosocial behaviour is characterized as behavior that benefits society. This too was proven through a study in which two sets of groups played a prosocial game while the other played a neutral game. The individuals were then tested to see which group would be more likely to help others. They used a violent ex-boyfriend who began to harass the ex-girlfriend in the laboratory. They used two teams to evaluate their analysis, and it was observed that ten out of the eighteen that engaged in the prosocial game intervened and helped the lady being harassed while for the other neutral game team; just four out of eighteen intervened. Violent video games such as “call of duty” “kill zone” or “battlefield” have been identified to make the blood boil for the individuals playing them.
In the second post, Daphne Bavelieris, a professor of brain and intellectual sciences at the University of Rochester, discusses the impact of computer games on individuals. She was able to investigate the impact of violent games on individuals, and she discovered that people who played violent games improved their gaming abilities, which led to improved real-life skills. This is because they were attentive, had great speed in responding to danger situations, skills in vision as well as being able to multi-task.
Bavelieris explained that, action game players have a better vision then those who do not play because the games enable them to see smaller type sized focus and so are able to improve on their contrast sensitivity which helps them in real life issues such as driving through a foggy area. She also found out that those who play these actions games are more focused and attentive than those who don’t. The gamers are also able to perceive new information that is coming to them and hence are able to effectively respond to this situations and can do various tasks hence are good at multitasking. She advocated parents not to discourage their kids in playing these games as they were very important in developing their real life skills, and that the parents should only moderate the time spent by the children in playing the games in order to manage the effects.
“A new study has found that video gaming can stimulate neurogenesis through growth of new neurons and connectivity in the brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning, as well as, fine motor skills. Brain volume was quantified using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In comparison to a control group, the video gaming group showed increases of gray matter, which houses the cell bodies of nerve cells in the brain” (Freedman 102).
Another brain researcher, Jay Pratt, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, looked into the disparities between men and women when it came to psychologically manipulating 3-D photographs. The ability is referred to as spatial cognition, and it is a mental capacity used in Engineering and Mathematics. Pratt discovered that women performed poorly in these spatial cognition tests but when a woman with a little experience in playing games was couched on how to play violent games, then she became good in the tests and hence the gender difference would disappear.
Lauren Sergio, a Neurosurgeon, examined the inside of the brain to determine distinctions of non-gamers and gamers. “Skilled gamers mainly use their frontal cortex, according to Sergio’s fMRI studies. That’s an area of the brain specialized for planning, attention and multitasking. Non-gamers, in contrast, predominately use an area called the parietal cortex, the part of the brain specializing in visual spatial functions” (Mattson 231).
From the two articles on the effect on video games to individuals, it is clear that both show that video games are useful to the people playing them. The first one shows that individuals can develop prosocial behavior from playing prosocial video games and be able to help other individuals in the society. For example, when you play a game in which you are helping out hostages to escape from the villains, then in real life you can also help individuals in similar situations of being hostage. Similarly, the second article shows that individuals can develop real life skills such as good vision, great multitasking skills and great attention and focus from playing video games.
By contrast, the first article shows that violent behaviors only lead to aggression and violent behaviors and that nothing good can come from violent games. However, the second article says that violent games help an individual develop skills in reacting to dangerous situations. For instance, being able to focus well so as to kill the opponent the individuals are able to develop the skill of being diligent and being able to react fast enough in tricky situations.
The second article shows that teaching women violent action video games is the best way to reduce gender differences in the spatial cognition as it ensures that women develop the skill as compared to those who do not play. The first article did not touch on the gender differences effects of video gaming.
The first article attempts to equate violent video games to non-violent video games, claiming that violent games are dangerous but praising prosocial sports, while the second article focuses only on violent video games and the benefits they provide on an individual’s brain growth.
In conclusion, it is clear that some people believe that the violent video games are good because they are therapeutic as they enable one to channel anger into harmless channels. However, scientific research on the same indicates that the violent video games increase aggressive feelings, thoughts, actions and behaviors. They games can also decrease the possibility of the active players in helping other individuals or feeling sorry for them. In some other researches, it indicates that playing violent games help individuals increase eye-hand coordination, and this has been proven by various studies. In my own opinion, I think that in order to obtain benefits from violent games, the games should be designed in a different non- action manner and hence similar benefits will still be obtained.
- Desilet, Gregory E.. Our faith in evil: melodrama and the effects of entertainment violence. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2006. Print.
- Freedman, Jonathan L.. Media violence and its effect on aggression: assessing the scientific evidence. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002. Print.
- Mattson, Mark Paul. Neurobiology of aggression understanding and preventing violence. Totowa, N.J.: Humana Press, 2003. Print.
- ßwald, Silvia. Determinants of prosocial behavior: moral prototypes, social norms and prosocial video games. Aachen: Shaker, 2008. Print.