Link Between Violent Video Games and Aggression

Boy playing Gameboy - Video Games Can Now Tap in to Players’ Emotions - Humintell *Finds insufficient research to link violent video game play to criminal violence

WASHINGTON — Violent video game play is linked to increased aggression in players but insufficient evidence exists about whether the link extends to criminal violence or delinquency, according to a new American Psychological Association task force report.

“The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression,” says the report of the APA Task Force on Violent Media. The task force’s review is the first in this field to examine the breadth of studies included and to undertake multiple approaches to reviewing the literature.

“Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence,” said Mark Appelbaum, PhD, task force chair. “However, the link between violence in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field.”

“No single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently,” the report states. “Rather, it is the accumulation of risk factors that tends to lead to aggressive or violent behavior. The research reviewed here demonstrates that violent video game use is one such risk factor.”

In light of the task force’s conclusions, APA has called on the industry to design video games that include increased parental control over the amount of violence the games contain. APA’s Council of Representatives adopted a resolution at its meeting Aug. 7 in Toronto encouraging the Entertainment Software Rating Board to refine its video game rating system “to reflect the levels and characteristics of violence in games, in addition to the current global ratings.” In addition, the resolution urges developers to design games that are appropriate to users’ age and psychological development, and voices APA’s support for more research to address gaps in the knowledge about the effects of violent video game use.

The resolution replaces a 2005 resolution on the same topic.

The task force identified a number of limitations in the research that require further study. These include a general failure to look for any differences in outcomes between boys and girls who play violent video games; a dearth of studies that have examined the effects of violent video game play on children younger than 10; and a lack of research that has examined the games’ effects over the course of children’s development.

“We know that there are numerous risk factors for aggressive behavior,” Appelbaum said. “What researchers need to do now is conduct studies that look at the effects of video game play in people at risk for aggression or violence due to a combination of risk factors. For example, how do depression or delinquency interact with violent video game use?”

The task force conducted a comprehensive review of the research literature published between 2005 and 2013 focused on violent video game use. This included four meta-analyses that reviewed more than 150 research reports published before 2009. Task force members then conducted both a systematic evidence review and a quantitative review of the literature published between 2009 and 2013. (A systematic evidence review synthesizes all empirical evidence that meets pre-specified criteria to answer specific research questions — a standard approach to summarizing large bodies of research to explore a field of research.) This resulted in 170 articles, 31 of which met all of the most stringent screening criteria.

“While there is some variation among the individual studies, a strong and consistent general pattern has emerged from many years of research that provides confidence in our general conclusions,” Appelbaum said. “As with most areas of science, the picture presented by this research is more complex than is usually included in news coverage and other information prepared for the general public.”

In addition to Appelbaum, members of the APA Task Force on Violent Media were: Sandra Calvert, PhD; Kenneth Dodge, PhD; Sandra Graham, PhD; Gordon N. Hall, PhD; Sherry Hamby, PhD; and Larry Hedges, PhD.

Why You Should Learn How to Read Facial Expressions of Emotion

Strong Predictor of Workplace Performance

The ability to read emotions in others and in oneself has proven through research to be the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.

A recent study even suggests people who are in tune with their colleagues’ emotions are more likely to bring home a bigger paycheck than their emotionally-stunted colleagues!


Increased Ability to Detect Deception

Research has demonstrated that when motivated people lie, and there are stakes if they are caught, clues to deception do emerge, and appear as leakage across multiple channels.

The number one channel where this leakage occurs? You got it, facial expressions of emotion. You can read more about this research here.


Alleviates Facial Affect Recognition Deficits in Children with Autism

Multiple research studies have concluded that be using a computerized emotion recognition training program (like MiX), children with autism could improve their facial expression recognition ability.

More information on these research studies conducted can be found here and here.


Reduce Subsequent Crime in Juvenile Offenders with Antisocial Behavior

Researchers in the UK found that boys who improved their ability to recognize fear, anger and sadness in others’ faces were significantly less violent and severe that those who did not receive training.

The study involved 50 boys who had been convicted of a crime. More on this fascinating research can be found here.

Ready to start your emotion recognition training?

Take a look at our complete product line here!

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Why Your Dog is Happy to See You

Alaskan Husky - Facial Expressions of Dogs - HumintellIs your dog overwhelmed with joy anytime you walk through the door? There’s a scientific reason behind their excitement, a new study shows, and it’s not just because you feed them.

Researchers at Emory University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan dogs’ brains for activity when they were shown images of dog faces, human faces and ordinary objects.

The dogs’ temporal lobes lit up “significantly more” when presented with the faces than with the objects. These findings suggest that dogs may recognize both human and dog faces.

Facial recognition causes dog brains to activate in the the same areas as in monkey and human brains, the study found. This is separate from the “reward areas” that would be triggered by anticipation of food.

“What we’re finding with the imaging work is that dogs love their humans-and not just for food,” researcher Gregory Berns told io9. “They love the company of humans simply for its own sake.”

“The existence of a face-selective region in temporal dog cortex opens up a whole range of new questions to be answered about their social intelligence,” the researchers explained, such as whether dogs can understand different facial expressions and whether they can read body language.

This isn’t the first time scientists have explored what makes dogs’ tails wag with excitement when reunited with their owners. A January study that Berns was also involved in found that dogs have a positive reaction to the scent of familiar humans compared with other smells, even those of other dogs.

The results of that study “suggested that not only did the dogs discriminate that scent [of familiar humans] from the others, they had a positive association with it.”

A 2013 behavioral study found that dogs can show when they’re happy to see their owners by lifting their eyebrows. Their left eyebrow went up when they saw their respective owners, the study found. They didn’t have this reaction for other things that may excite them, such as attractive toys.

Coming Soon! APA Handbook of Nonverbal Communication

ComingEditors-in Chief: David Matsumoto, PhD, Hyisung C. Hwang, PhD, and Mark G. Frank, PhD

The Authors of Nonverbal Communication: Science and Applications

The APA Handbook of Nonverbal Communication provides scholarly reviews of state-of-the-art knowledge in the areas of nonverbal communication and nonverbal behaviors. It includes an entire section devoted to new and improved methodologies and technologies that allow for the recording, capture, and analysis of nonverbal behaviors. The primary audience for the book is researchers in the area, as well as by students in graduate-level classes on nonverbal communication or behavior.

The handbook is organized around four broad themes, each of which led to a different section in this volume:

  • The first concerns the history of the field and includes two chapters providing an overview and history of the area, all written by senior researchers with many years of experience.
  • The second concerns the factors of influence of nonverbal communication and encompasses the main theoretical and conceptual frameworks within which research on nonverbal communication occurs.
  • The third theme presents the separate sources of nonverbal communication and behavior and includes chapters on the physical environment, appearance and physiognomy, olfactics and odor, facial expressions, voice, gesture, eye behavior and gaze, and postures, gait, proxemics, and haptics. This section also includes a chapter on nonverbal communication in nonhuman primates.
  • Finally, the fourth theme concerns advances in research methodologies, and includes chapters on the methods for measuring and analyzing facial expressions, voice, gesture, eye behavior, olfactics, body movements, and nonverbal sensitivity.

Now Available for Pre-Order Here!

ICYMI: Can a Photograph Serve as a Reliable Document of Truth?

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Humintell Director Dr. Matsumoto sat down with photographer Kris Davidson for an interview at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco California. Produced for an MFA level documentary photography course, Dr. Matsumoto shares valuable insights on the potential of a photograph to serve as a reliable document of truth.

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