Today in Serious Research

The headline? Earth to gamer, come in gamer: Video games are warping your view of reality. The article goes downhill from there.

Ostensibly, it is about something called "game transfer phenomena", which the article defines as "gamers doing things in the real world as if they were still playing." Given that I'm a history major, I have nothing to do with this kind of research, so it doesn't really mean much for me to say that I've never heard of this before. I have to wonder, though, how much of this is driven by the need to show that video games are really bad for you, honest!

Here, let's go over the list of behaviors that they found in this study, which interviewed 42 people and (unsurprisingly) relied on the accuracy of their reports (it's not like they could have observed these kinds of things real-time after all). In reverse order:
One interviewee reported seeing a menu of topics that were available for him to think about, while another created a list of possible responses in their head after being insulted.
Don't look now, but I'm pretty sure thinking about how to respond to something is what people do.
In some cases these thoughts were accompanied by reflexes such as reaching to click a button on the controller even when it is not in their hands.
"Reaching to click a button on the controller", hmm? Isn't that equivalent to a finger twitching?
Half of the gamers questioned said they often look to use something from a video game to resolve a real-life issue.
I am more surprised that the other half don't. There are lessons to be learned from any story, after all. Even one presented as a video game.
The most extreme examples included reaching for a search button when looking for someone in a crowd and seeing energy boxes appear above people's heads.
This just sounds so incredibly ridiculous that I'm waiting for someone to come forward and brag about how they trolled an entire scientific study.

And the conclusion that this Serious Research came to, on the basis of all these horribly dangerous and warped behaviors?
A recurring trend suggests that intensive gaming may lead to negative psychological, emotional or behavioural consequences, with enormous implications for software developers, parents, policy makers and mental health professionals.
Oh no, video games are really bad for you! Called it.

I really don't feel like devoting a lot of energy to this, so I'll keep this short: to my understanding, humans (generally) function by drawing patterns and making assumptions, based on their past experiences. Everything "warps" (or the non-judgmental word they should be using, "affects") our view of reality, by affecting the patterns and assumptions that we use to understand the world. That includes school, and reading blogs, and working, and talking to others.

If video games didn't affect the way reality is viewed, they would be the only thing in the world that didn't. And so we're left with researchers telling us something we already knew: that playing video games will have psychological, emotional, and behavioral consequences. What's still left to be proven?  That would be their use of the word "negative". And the behaviors they describe aren't doing anything to convince me.

No comments:

Post a Comment