Trump suggests connection between video games and mass shootings
The claim comes after two mass shootings over the weekend that killed, in total, 31 people.
- The president suggested that video games, in part, cause Americans to glorify violence.
- No solid body of research currently supports the claim that violent video games cause real-world violence.
- Research on video games has been historically messy, political and contentious.
In the wake of two mass shootings this weekend, President Donald Trump said Monday that the U.S. needs to "shine light on the dark recesses of the internet" and "stop the glorification of violence in our society." One factor that's driving violence, the president suggested, is "gruesome and grisly video games."
It's not the first time Trump has blamed video games and media as a primary cause of violence in the U.S. In fact, casually connecting violence to video games has become something of a Republican talking point in recent years. On Sunday, for instance, Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick told "FOX & Friends" that the El Paso shooter was playing out a "super-soldier" fantasy.
"This was maybe a video game to this evil demon," Patrick said. "A video game to him. He has no sense of humanity, no sense of life. He wanted to be a super soldier, for his Call of Duty game."
Patrick noted the shooter's manifesto, which describes fulfilling a "super soldier [Call of Duty] fantasy." He then asked:
"How long are we going to ignore at the federal level. . . something about the video game industry?"
This kind of "it's time to do something" response to the mass shootings that killed at least 31 people this weekend sounds almost identical to calls for increased gun control. But it's likely a specious argument, because there's no evidence showing that exposure to violent video games leads to violence in the real world — something even the U.S. Supreme Court noted in a 2011 ruling.
For a more recent example, a 2019 study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science found that teenagers who played video games weren't more likely to behave aggressively.
"Despite interest in the topic by parents and policy-makers, the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern," lead researchers Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, told The Independent.
Admittedly, it's not that simple though. Some studies have found persuasive connections between video games, and both the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have noted such research, with the latter writing that video games "should not use human or other living targets or award points for killing, because this teaches children to associate pleasure and success with their ability to cause pain and suffering to others."
Kevin McCarthy, the GOP House minority leader, also tells Fox News that video games are the problem following the m… https://t.co/4uow8FDF2J— John Whitehouse (@John Whitehouse)1564928090.0
Why the lack of consensus? One reason is methodological flaws. For instance, some studies might show a seemingly clear connection between playing violent video games and behaving violently, but it's not clear that video games are causing that behavior. After all, kids who already have violent tendencies might just like playing violent video games. What's more, analyses of past video game research has uncovered multiple instances of publication and citation bias. Add to the mix the replication crisis that's for years been eroding long-held truisms in psychology research, and you can see that the field of video game research is, in short, pretty messy.
"The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn't tested very well over time," Przybylski told The Independent.
Christopher Ferguson, an associate professor and co-chairman of the Department of Psychology at Stetson University, echoed a similar view to CNN. He said that newer studies "with better methods" have generally failed to establish connections between virtual and real-life violence. In fact, one 2016 study found "evidence that violent games cause a modest reduction in crime." The basic idea is that video games help keep young men in front of TV screens instead of on the streets where they might act violently.
Currently, Trump hasn't offered details on how the government might regulate the video game industry, which was valued at nearly $135 billion in 2018.
Researchers have just discovered the remains of a hybrid human.
90,000 years ago, a young girl lived in a cave in the Altai mountains in southern Siberia. Her life was short; she died in her early teens, but she stands at a unique point in human evolution. She is the first known hybrid of two different kinds of ancient humans: the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.
These thought leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs are propelling the kind of future we want to be a part of.
- The tech industry may be dominated by men in terms of numbers, but there are lots of brilliant women in leadership positions that are changing the landscape.
- The women on this list are founders of companies dedicated to teaching girls to code, innovators in the fields of AI, VR, and machine learning, leading tech writers and podcasters, and CEOs of companies like YouTube and Project Include.
- This list is by no means all-encompassing. There are many more influential women in tech that you should seek out and follow.
Most said they want to act on their desire someday. But do open relationships actually work?
- The study involved 822 Americans who were in monogamous relationships at the time.
- Participants answered questions about their personalities, sexual fantasies, and intentions to act on those fantasies.
- Research suggests practicing consent, comfort, and communication makes open relationships more likely to succeed.
Consensual non-monogamy fantasies<p>For the new study, published in <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-020-01788-7" target="_blank">Archives of Sexual Behavior</a>, researchers asked 822 people in monogamous relationships to:</p><ul><li>Describe their favorite sexual fantasy, defined as "mental images you have while you are awake that you find to be sexually arousing or erotic."</li><li>Select which themes apply to that fantasy, such as having sex with multiple people at the same time, experimenting with taboos, or engaging in a sexually open relationship.</li><li>Answer whether they intended to carry out these fantasies, and discuss them with their partner.</li><li>Complete assessments on relationship satisfaction, erotophilia and personality, as measured by the Big Five Personality inventory.</li></ul><p>The results showed that 32.6 percent of participants said being part of a sexually open relationship was "part of their favorite sexual fantasy of all time." More surprising is that, of that one-third, 80 percent said they want to act on this fantasy in the future.</p>
Pretzelpaws via Wikipedia Commons<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The present research confirms the important distinction between sexual fantasy and sexual desire in that not everyone wanted to act on their favorite sexual fantasy of all time," study author Justin J. Lehmiller told <a href="https://www.psypost.org/2020/09/one-third-of-people-in-monogamous-relationships-fantasize-about-being-in-some-type-of-open-relationship-study-suggests-58102" target="_blank">PsyPost</a>. "This suggests that fantasies may serve different functions for different people."</p><p>Even though most participants said they want to act out their fantasy in the future, far fewer reported acting out sexual fantasies in the past. Other findings included:</p><ul><li>Men were more likely to fantasize about CNMRs.</li><li>So were people who scored high in <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotophilia#:~:text=Erotophilia%20is%20a%20personality%20trait,ranging%20from%20erotophobia%20to%20erotophilia." target="_blank">erotophilia</a> and sociosexual orientation.</li><li>The psychological predictors of fantasizing about CNMRs differed from predictors about infidelity fantasies.</li></ul>
Do open relationships work?<p>A <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2019.1669133" target="_blank">2019 study</a> from psychologists at the University of Rochester suggests it <em>is </em>possible<em>, </em>but especially when both partners practice a trio of behaviors: consent, communication, and comfort — or, the Triple-C Model.<br></p>But the study also suggests not all forms of open relationships are equally viable. For example, people in one-sided CNMRs — where one partner stays monogamous, the other seeks outside sexual relationships — were nearly three times more dissatisfied in their relationships than the monogamous group <em>and </em>the consensual non-monogamous group.
The results of this study showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence, declining in early adulthood and then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.