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A Second Opinion

Posted on Wednesday, April 12 @ 11:37:03 Eastern by Joe_Dodson
They'll give anybody a PhD these days. Case in point: Doctors Sonya S. Brady and Karen A. Matthews released a study in the April Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine which claims "Media violence exposure may play a role in the development of negative attitudes and behaviors related to health." In other words, violent media might be bad for you. Glad we cleared that up.

The study, provocatively titled "Effects of Media Violence on Health-Related Outcomes Among Young Men," had one hundred male undergraduate students, aged 18-21, play Grand Theft Auto III and The Simpsons: Hit and Run, and then tested them.

One test found that "Men randomly assigned to play Grand Theft Auto III exhibited greater increases in diastolic blood pressure." That kind of makes sense. After all, Grand Theft Auto certainly seems more intense and immersive than The Simpsons: Hit and Run; it isn't hard to believe that GTA would give players more of a rush than Homer in a car.

Except that it doesn't. According to the study "Only among participants with greater exposure to home and community violence, play of Grand Theft Auto III led to elevated systolic blood pressure in comparison with play of The Simpsons." So among gamers who weren't exposed to real life violence, there was no diastolic difference between the violent video game and the non-violent video game.

The study also says "Although youth growing up in violent homes and communities may become more physiologically aroused by media violence exposure, all youth appear to be at risk for potentially negative outcomes." Never mind the fact that we are all at risk for potentially negative outcomes every second of every day - the only thing this proves is that real life violence affects people psychologically. Thank you, doctors.

The report goes on to claim that those asked to play Grand Theft Auto III experienced "negative affect; hostile social information processing; uncooperative behavior; and permissive attitudes toward violence, alcohol use, marijuana use, and sexual activity without condom use" compared to those who played The Simpsons: Hit and Run. We don't know what "negative affect" means, and we doubt anything can make college students more receptive to marijuana and alcohol than they already are. But the fact that Grand Theft Auto III players were more permissive to sexual activity without condom use than those who played The Simpsons: Hit and Run can only mean one thing: The Simpsons makes you gay.

Of course, that isn't quite the conclusion the two doctors draw from the study. According to Dr. Brady, "What this study suggests is that (video games) might increase any type of risk-taking behavior."

Suggests. Might. Any. Science sure is awesome these days. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get high and watch The Simpsons.



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