Sunday, February 22, 2009

Violent Video Games & Movies Numb People to Others' Suffering

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan reports that a study shows that "violent video games and movies make people numb to the pain and suffering of others." Exposure to violent media produces "physiological desensitization" and reduces "helping behavior." "People exposed to media violence are less helpful to others in need because they are 'comfortably numb' to the pain and suffering of others, to borrow the title of a Pink Floyd song."

"People who had played a violent game took significantly longer to help the victim than those who played a nonviolent game—73 seconds compared to 16 seconds. People who had played a violent game were also less likely to notice and report the fight. And if they did report it, they judged it to be less serious than did those who had played a nonviolent game."