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'Boozy Gamer' Researcher Questioned 109

Via GameSetWatch, a Gamespy interview with Sonya Brady, the person who ran the research study we reported on a while back. The one that claimed gamers enjoy getting high, drinking alcohol? From the article: "What kind of feedback have I received? My feedback from research colleagues and other older adults has generally been positive. What I find most interesting is the feedback I have received from adolescents and young adults. Some people are interested in learning more about the research, even if they are skeptical of the results. Other people have been very angry."
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'Boozy Gamer' Researcher Questioned

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  • Explain to me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:46PM (#15207582) gamers are any different from other [young] adults, in that they as a group tend to enjoy drinking and experimenting with drugs? For that matter, how are 'gamers' defined as separate from young adults as a general population?

    And for the question of the year: Who really gives a shit? Come on, young people are demonized as a matter of course, particularly for drinking or doing drugs. Trying to draw a causal link between games and that sort of behavior is unnecessary.

  • Stupid headline... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BigZaphod ( 12942 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:46PM (#15207593) Homepage
    ..makes it sound like he is being questioned by police or academics or something for, perhaps, faulty research - when in fact he's being questioned in the context of an interview! Here I was all excited to join the crowd of people slamming this guy for his anti-videogame-ways only to be thwarted by the english language! Now what am I going to do with my afternoon?
  • by the_demiurge ( 26115 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:56PM (#15207679) Homepage
    The original research said that a group of people were made to play either GTA or the Simpsons driving game (Hit and Run). The people who played GTA had more permissive views of drug uses than the people playing Hit and Run. Assuming that their methodology for those results are valid, the research still leaves a lot of questions unanswered:

    What if they were made to play other sorts of games? What would be the differences between Katamari Damacy and Tetris, for example.

    What if they were exposed to other sorts of things? What would be the difference between playing GTA and watching Casino? Or between watching football and watching fishing.

    I think more data is needed to avoid making an oversimplified generalization from these results.
  • Re:Boozy Gamer? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WilliamSChips ( 793741 ) <full DOT infinity AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:23PM (#15207919) Journal
    That would be Goozy Gamer, the Ubuntu names have alliteration.
  • by kyle (in stereo) ( 949060 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:58PM (#15208137) Homepage Journal
    Of course some people are going to be angry. When you present skewed information and lies as fact you are going to upset someone.
  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @06:09PM (#15208213) Homepage Journal
    "We randomly assigned 100 male undergraduates aged 18-21 to play a game relatively high in violence, Grand Theft Auto III, or a game relatively low in violence, The Simpsons: Hit and Run."

    So they used 100 guys 18-21, likely most of which were from one geographic area. They also had no control group, so there is no way to prove that Gamers are any different than Non-Gamers, only that 18-21yr old males who play these games have some difference.

    "Those study participants who played Grand Theft Auto III had greater increases in diastolic blood pressure from a baseline rest period to gameplay in comparison to participants who played The Simpsons."

    Which is much more likely based on the fact that GTA has much more realism and realistic punishments. Death and prison register in our minds as real possible penalties. Death of a cartoon figure registers as little more then a Saturday morning cartoon with little association.

    "After gameplay, GTA III players had more negative feelings, more uncooperative behavior, and thought that using alcohol and marijuana was less harmful to their health than players of The Simpsons."

    other then being subjective and with out statistical backing, this is a great result. With only 100 people in the pool, any findings could be easily skewed by a few outliers. Also, there is nothing that states the pool sizes. So if the GTA pool had 65 participants and the TS pool had 35, it would be factual to say that the GTA group had more negative feelings. Also, the result is poorly worded, I highly doubt that everyone in the GTA group thought that "using alcohol and marijuana was less harmful to their health." It is more likely that GTP players were "more likely to think that using alcohol and marijuana was less harmful to their health."

    "Among those people who grew up in more violent homes and communities... Among those people who grew up in more violent communities..."

    So now, out of 100 people they are making conclusions for the entire male 18-21 gaming community based on a hand full of people. Assuming a third of the participants grew up in a violent house hold, another third in a violent community, and the final third grew up in Mayberry, and then each of these groups was evenly distributed between GTA and TS, you're looking at 16 people to base your research off of.

    "Consistent with the results of many other people's research"

    None of which appears to be sited.

    With no statistics posted, this should outright be tossed as a valueless publication. And judging by their claims and process, any statistically substantial findings they made are most likely due to outliers skewing the results.

  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @06:21PM (#15208306)
    So if you don't like the conculsions of her research, go to school, get a degree and do your own. Almost sounds like she has no interest in input from anyone but her peers. Most of which are probably not gamers.

    However, at the same time, it is kind of like asking a WWI General about how the war is going on in the trenches when you are both sitting in a nice French Chateu sipping on noon tea.

    Chances are they are quite educated about the analysis and the subject of war fare, but you are going to get quite a different outlook than when you ask the soldier who is sitting in the mud with shells going off about his fox hole.

    The General may go down to the supply area (far back from the trenches) on a sunny day and ask one out of 100 troops his opinion which most of them unamiously agree the war is going great. So the general goes home and writes a letter home to his wife saying the war is going great.

    However, two trenches up closer to the main lines, the troops are distinctly aware that they are going to be over run and a severe breakthrough and encirclement is about to happen. Dispite their best efforts to let the general know, he disregards them because they are not his peers. The next day enemey troops kick down the Chateau doors and haul the general out of bed after a very bad route.

    The moral of the story is... Just because you are an expert and do polls on a handful of people doesn't mean you know the entire picture and chances are your research did't include the right people.

    I'm not sure how this relates to gaming, but from personal experience in the trenches, I've never experienced gaming causing me to get violent or want to murder someone... Expect Tetris... And my drinking habbits stem from work related stress... Not gaming. Of course this is personal experience and all other gamers in the world could have this problem, but if it was a serious issue like he says we'd have thousands of mass murders and alcoholics on the streets begging for change to play at the arcades.
  • by thestuckmud ( 955767 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @07:04PM (#15208547)
    Here's my observation of the way the study is being presented: Playing an intensely violent and realistic video game led students to say that alcohol and marijuana use are less harmful than they would have otherwise.

    Where was this published, in the journal "DUH!"? Since when is it a surprise that people reduce their assessment of other risks when confronted with a specific risk? I don't worry about government wiretapping when I'm high off the deck rock climbing. We are, quite simply, wired to deal with the risk we are facing. A real control in this experiment would have put some of these randomly selected students in a risky, blood pressure raising situtaion (climbing could work, ethics guidelines are not likely to allow a simulated mugging), and ask them the same question.

    Games like GTA really do induce a "reptile brain" response. I'm 45 years old, and find it kind of scary getting behind the wheel after virtually driving wrong way the length of the Las Veturas strip at full tilt with a mob goon tied to the hood of the car. In that situation, I am hypersensitive to driving risks, and likely not worrying about other things.

    Last, somebody needs to point out that you can't reasonably play these games when you are wasted. GTA is freakin hard to play. I assume that computer games provide an alternative to drug use, rather than fostering it as is implied by the headlines.
  • Re:four words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @10:12PM (#15209462)
    Correlation is not causation.

    But it is a symptom of causation.

    What was the research topic again? Was it where a group of 100 was split into two groups, one playing a GTA game and the other playing a Simpson's game, and the GTA players had a higher level of social tolerance to alcohol? If so, a reasonable person can conclude that the Simpsons game reduces the social tolerance for alcohol. While I haven't played the game in question, I do know that The Simpsons TV show ridicules drunks by the portrayal of Barney: "Haay, com 'n' joine dah partee! *BUUUUURRRRPPPP*"

    (For the above, I'm assuming that the results are trustable - which they are not. The correlation study has not included the control group that did not play video games - without this third point of reference, the research can easily be backwards without noticing it. Unless this is really a preliminary study that is intended to lead up to more research, in that case this is okay. )

  • by Flyboy Connor ( 741764 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @03:25AM (#15210541)
    You can imagine that smokers having grown up with idea that smoking a good thing didn't react all that well when people started telling them how bad it is.

    Ah, but there is a direct connection between smoke and harm. Everyone who smokes harms his health, and the health of the people around them. However, whether the quoted study is correct or not, it only states that gamers are more likely to drink and get high. So while the smoking study says something about ALL smokers, the gaming study says something about SOME gamers. And those gamers that do not drink or use drugs (such as myself) are annoyed that they are automatically labeled as heavy drinkers and drug users according to the study. Perhaps the study does not say that, but it IS the way it is interpreted by people. As you so adequately demonstrate with the comparison with smoking studies.

    To test the effects of violent games on gamers lets use another hobby but one where we have very clear examples of the violence it generates. Soccer.

    Very, very, VERY bad example. There is no way to know whether soccer generates violence (as you think is the case), or that violent people use soccer matches as an excuse to go on a rampage. Actually, I personally think it is the latter. If audiences were forbidden for soccer matches, the hooligans would find another place to get together. Maybe they go to tennis matches, or hockey matches, or - who knows - LAN parties. And there will be violence there.

    Hell, even simpler suggestion. Let the soccer clubs pay for the police presence. They make billions they can afford it. Good luck again.

    Considering that you cannot prove the causal relationship between soccer and violence, while you still want the soccer clubs to foot the bill, it is not surprising that your suggestion is successfully contested. It is the same as saying: "Over 90% of all crimes are committed by men, so why should women pay for a police force? Let there be a special criminality-taxation only for males." This has actually been suggested by several fundamentalist feminists, but, of course, this has never been implemented, because it is not about a distinction between men and women, but between criminals and non-criminals. Just as your suggestion is not about those who visit soccer matches and those who do not, but about those who go on a rampage and those who go home peacefully.

    It is easy to feel attacked in your personal freedom but when you attack your enemy for claiming your violent you are only proving his point.

    "You are violent!"
    "No, I'm not!"
    "See? You protest, so you prove my point!"

    "You are violent!"
    "You have nothing to say? I guess that means you agree."

    Damned if you do...

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine