Violent video games

There has always been a deep misunderstanding about the game. On the one hand, there have been endless debates about “whether the game is addictive”; on the other hand, many people believe that the many violent elements in the game will have some negative effects on players’ lives.

More than that, under the dual role of the media and public opinion, more and more people associate violent games with criminal behaviors, and believe that “playing too many violent games (hereinafter referred to as “violent games”) will lead to criminal behavior”, but is this really the case?

1. There is not enough evidence to show that violent games and personal crimes are causal

Among the 33 campus shootings in modern American society where video games have become daily routines, only 4 of the murderers were identified as game enthusiasts, which is far lower than the proportion of players in daily life (about 70% of male students in American campuses All have the habit of playing games).

The Secret Service report shows that the impact of games on murderers is very limited. Among them, 24% are interested in violent books, only 12% are interested in games, and 37% are more obsessed with their own original works. (“Games promote the spread of violence in the real society”? This argument is not new, and it is as always debatable”)

In fact, there has been insufficient evidence to show that violent games and personal crimes are causal.

Research by Markey, PM, et al. (2015) shows that, contrary to the claim that violent video games are related to aggressive attacks and murders, there is no evidence that this medium is positively related to real-world violence in the United States.

The study by Scott Cunningham et al. (2011) stated: Violent video games may lead to a reduction in violent crime. When people vent their extra energy and offensiveness in violent games, they probably won’t make trouble in real life…

There is not enough evidence to show that there is a causal relationship between the two. Why would anyone still misunderstand this?

2. Why is there a misunderstanding that “violent games lead to crime”?

Violent games and criminal behavior may have a certain correlationRelated research shows that teenagers with pre-existing radical behavior are more likely to choose to play violent games.

This is actually very understandable. Players interested in dressing games will have a greater probability of playing “Miracle Love”, and players interested in shooting games will have a greater probability of playing CS. Similarly, players who are interested in violent elements will have a greater chance of playing violent games.

This in itself is understandable. Relevance does not mean causality, but many people have misunderstood this.

Moreover, in many so-called “violent games”, violence is only a means, the ultimate goal is to win the game, not violence for the sake of violence. Just looking at the violent side of the game to take out of context is a bit too arbitrary.

Media misleading (the illusion effect of truth)

In related reports involving “violent games and criminal behaviors,” the common logic is “how many murderers have played video games (or played a certain violent game before the attack, etc.). Therefore, the game caused Homicide”.

At first glance, it may seem that there is no problem. If you think about it carefully, you will find that this logic is untenable.

By analogy: All the murderers wear shoes, so shoe factories should be banned? Most of the murderers have eaten apples, so apples cannot be sold…

When talking about adult video products, Wang Xiaobo mentioned that we should not use the logic of “how many rapists have seen adult movies” to prove the harm of adult movies. Instead, we should use the logic of “what percentage of people who have watched adult movies committed rape” to consider the problem.

This logic also applies to the discussion of “the correlation between violent games and criminal behavior.”

If you really want to study the relationship between violent games and criminal behavior, the correct logic should also be to count “how many people among the people who play violent games have committed crimes” instead of “how many people play violent games among criminals”.

n order to create topics and gain attention, many bad media will fabricate facts in articles or force causality.

When people are exposed to false information repeatedly, they will change their original views and turn to believe in false information. This phenomenon is called “the illusion effect of truth” in psychology.

The illusion of truth will affect our judgment of things. Then, when the information involved is in our known knowledge, will this misleading still exist?

Research by Lisa K Fazio and other scholars (2015) shows that the effect of the illusion of truth has the same strong influence on known and unknown items, that is, existing knowledge cannot prevent the repeated illusion from shaking our reasonable judgment.

In other words, regardless of whether the information is known or unknown when misleading content appears repeatedly in the media, many people believe it is true.

This kind of media misleading (the illusion of truth effect) is also one of the reasons why people have misunderstandings-“violent games lead to criminal behavior.”


Video games should not be the target of public criticism. The author is not saying that there is no correlation between violent games and criminal acts, but it cannot be simply and roughly classified as “violent games leading to criminal acts.”

In fact, there are many factors that affect a person’s criminal behavior: family environment, personal growth experience, personality factors, etc. may all trigger (or trigger after superimposition) criminal behavior.

But it cannot be deduced backward, believing that “the presence of XX-like family environment, personality, and preferences will lead to violence.” This logic is incorrect.

Finally, summarize the points mentioned in the article:

  1. There is not enough evidence to show that violent games and criminal acts are causal.
  2. There are three main reasons why people have such misunderstandings: First, they confuse relevance and causality; second, the media misleads (the illusion of truth), which shakes people’s reasonable judgment; third, the young people who are frequently concerned Player crime incidents have deepened people’s misunderstandings about violent games while ignoring the fact that minors’ own values ​​are not formed and guardians need to bear guardianship (to screen age-appropriate games, TV, movies, etc.).
  3. In fact, there are many great games, such as the “Civilization” series, “The Great Sailing Era”, etc. During the game, players will subtly broaden their worldview or learn some related knowledge. Taking a step back, ignoring these learning results, the players can feel the emotions that satisfy their emotional needs, such as relaxation, pleasure or tension during the game, which is equally important for them.
  4. But there is a cognitive bias here: Many game makers feel that their games should be popular with players. But the feedback from many players is that the experience is poor and not fun.
  5. Why is there such a cognitive bias? The fundamental reason is that game makers do not understand the real needs of players.
  6. So, what should game designers pay attention to when designing games? How to meet the needs of players and make games that players like? What are the shortcomings of the existing game design that can be improved? EEG tests, physiological indicators, and other objective monitoring methods can be used to detect the best rhythm of the target player, whether the game design is popular with players, etc., so as to further improve the game mechanism and enhance the player experience.