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Secret Intelligence Service

Room No. 15

Violent Video Games – Security Issues

 

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Violent video games can desensitize individuals to real-life violence ( including violence against women). The paradigm moves beyond the question of whether violent games are harmful per se, to the important questions of whom is most likely to be harmed by violent-sexist video games, and through what mechanism does the harm occur.

Who specifically is referred to are players that identify with the violent (and often of different sex, ideologically different, characteriologically different, including that of appearance) game characters. Playing violent video games increases masculine beliefs (and creates hyper-masculine predisposition), and decreases empathy for violence victims, especially for boys and young men who highly identify with the male game character. Video games are especially likely to increase aggression among players who identify with violent (made to appear ‘heroic’) game characters, and that a reduced empathy is one of the major predictors for aggression against target individuals (including women and others, as stated) and groups. Exposure to media violence is one of the many factors that can severely influence empathy levels.

UNIT

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(C-I) VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES : Do provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations. The effect of violent video games appears to be cognitive in nature. However, in the short term, playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts. Longer-term effects are likely to be longer lasting as well, as the player learns and practices new aggression-related scripts that become more and more accessible for use when real-life conflict situations arise. If repeated exposure to violent video games does indeed lead to the creation and heightened accessibility of a variety of aggressive knowledge structures, thus effectively altering the person’s basic personality structure, the consequent changes in everyday social interactions may also lead to consistent increases in aggressive affect. The active nature of the learning environment of the video game suggests that this medium is potentially more dangerous than the more heavily investigated TV and movie media. With the recent trend toward greater realism and more graphic violence in video games and the rising popularity of these games, (I) one should be aware of these potential risks (II) Importantly, violent video games can be commandeered to both create and exaggerate the tendency.

Violent video games can desensitize individuals to real-life violence (including violence against women). The paradigm moves beyond the question of whether violent games are harmful per-se, to the important questions of whom is most likely to be harmed by violent-sexist video games, and through what mechanism does the harm occur.

Who specifically is referred to are players that identify with the violent (and often of different sex, ideologically different, characteriologically different, including that of appearance) game characters. Playing violent video games increases masculine beliefs (and creates hyper-masculine predisposition), and decreases empathy for violence victims, especially for boys and young men who highly identify with the male game character. Video games are especially likely to increase aggression among players who identify with violent (made to appear ‘heroic’) game characters, and that a reduced empathy is one of the major predictors for aggression against target individuals (including women and others, as stated) and groups. Exposure to media violence is one of the many factors that can severely influence empathy levels.

(C-V) Is not the question : (a) Why would this be introduced deliberately, when the opposite condition can / would be the case? (b) Might it be the desire on behalf of the intender? (c) Might the unwitting (both intender and / or ‘victim’) fall prey to what, as a consequence, is life disabling?

(C-I) Gosh, simply stated but a Pandora’s Box of considerations. We’ve discussed this already. But here is a quick response : Perhaps to further your questions with more, such as, when you say, ‘’why would this condition be introduced deliberately,’’, one can ask, would not the one introducing it value the condition? I am pointing to aggressive impulse being the valued outcome, to nurture it, and in the exclusion of those (perhaps all) deemed antagonistic. I say this because if in the process (video game) a reality whereby ideological, sexist, patriarchal tendencies are included, they will provide the additional opportunity (predilection to attack), and live out the fantasy where women can be hurt and killed, be the victims via that very induced mind-set and behaviour. But it is not so confined (to women being victims). For example, when violent video games become vehicles for wider gross intolerance and hatred, coupled with the use of firearms, then we have a huge problem defending against the resulting mind and requisite behaviour. While casting a glance over other (foreign) collectives, where firearms are legal, the tinder box which can and does prevail is to us, anathema. To stay within our own (U.K.) framework, the resulting psychologically disturbed performing in reality what is essentially, a parallel reality where anything goes (already experienced), is much more difficult to foresee becoming the case. The mind-set itself, though we can certainly do without it, has to be, and is here in the U.K. in varying extents counter-balanced by a plethora of other, more socially useful preoccupations. If indeed, for example, we had those who believed that teaching a child to shoot a gun and acquire one at the earliest opportunity was an asset because they themselves were in that belief system, and that all manner of firearms were actually available, the result would be a literal nightmare waiting to happen. Further, that one must take into consideration the wider and constant attention to certain psychologically disturbing (to us) preoccupations presented via media such as films. When what are popular are cruel fantasies played out and with concomitant enslavement, indignity and rape pertaining to women, we should discuss this more in the context of the maltreatment which can as a result become pandemic. Those making such, know what affects their audience and the manner in which it does. Particularly, this kind of aberration coupled with enhanced reality which is the video game where the audience is a participant, is a controller of events, over victims where sexual fantasies can be played out, is unlikely to create suitable citizens, more such are likely to be enemies of the state. As I said, enemies of all and wherever, who are deemed ”justifiable” targets for aggression.

(C-V) There is a point, in that ‘prepped’ individuals bearing hatred and carrying weapons are rightly classified as terrorists in the UK. It becomes a cost to bear in defending against, so I say we have to investigate what the future might well include in this respect. Further questions and I know we have discussed them before, but; what happens in the brain (neuro-physiologically) during the process of hatred and despising? In this induced condition, are these afflicted individuals predisposed to support and vote for who they see typifies how they feel.

(C-I) On the first point, there isn’t the space here to discuss that – what is activated in the nervous system and the lasting effects. It’s on the website, somewhere, so I’m out of trying to answer that, which is good. Yes, anyone carrying a weapon in the U.K. is a terrorist. Now, the other question is interesting because as you put it, the afflicted do identify with others who bear semblance to their own typicality. Anyone who spouts the same or similar is identified with – kind of, if not same as the rock star syndrome where people take on the qualities of others they don’t know from Napoleon’s mother in law. The ones touting for votes know this and what they say and how they act draws the afflicted toward them. On a simple level, if it is votes from the haters, then to say certain things and ignore or denigrate others. Project the manufactured male hero persona. There is little point expecting support from afflicted people who enjoy killing others in a video game, expecting them to empathise with thoughts on Elizabethan poetry, or likely LGBT rights either, because the game scenario and wider context of same, often treats they as threat. Of course, I’m generalising. Something you might consider if you like is whether the lack of ability to empathise and the debasing of conscience is the same thing. Then ask what that means for where we are in the global arena. Note the word arena.

(C-V) Nothing remains in isolation, a plethora of other pathologies as we view them become added on. Hate speech is a good example, while being propagated, it creates and reinforces extremist views. These views become connected to others, clusters of the affected, display very obvious manifestations.

(C-I) It is a form of radicalisation process, I agree thereby a threat to security within and coming from outside. And there is a whole gamut of connecting threads to consider. For example, parents who are already sympathetic and / or indoctrinated (including terror cells) are very likely to be sympathetic to versions of extremism and see no problem in these being played out in the social world, certain (terror cells, as said) are likely to want this.

Obviously we outlaw gun ownership to the fullest extent and will continue so to do, but this is not the case elsewhere. These inclinations and justifications find their way into films and other media where is displayed hyper-masculine personas, armed, conflict-winning and extremely violent – these messages end up here too. Couple this with where what I described as ‘the audience becoming the participant in cruelty and carnage’ is the case, via the reality computer-game, the consequences reside in the extreme negative condition. In certain ways it represents a potential emergence of a newly made aggressive society, replete with views (life worlds) that go hand in hand with it. The fact that they are not here, or if so, are only partially the case, does not mean that they cannot enter our space and propagate – either as obnoxious (to us) malevolent (to us) and dangerous (to us) manifestations. The behaviour (actions) of certain affected individuals and groups of individuals thereby placing citizens at extreme risk. Importantly, making these assessments, all be they somewhat brief and superficial, provides a conceptual window for ‘certain’ to enter in. In other words, we are not telling them what to do because they know already, we are unfortunately telling them that it works.

To be continued

Addendum

Regarding the biological / brain correlate of hate. In a recent block-design fMRI study, 17 normal human subjects were scanned while they viewed the face of a person they hated and also faces of acquaintances for whom they had neutral feelings. A hate score was obtained for the object of hate for each subject and this was used as a covariate in a between-subject random effects analysis.

>>Viewing a hated face resulted in increased activity in the medial frontal gyrus, right putamen, bilaterally in pre-motor cortex, in the frontal pole and bilaterally in the medial insula. It was also found three areas where activation correlated linearly with the declared level of hatred, namely the right insula, right pre-motor cortex and the right fronto-medial gyrus. One area of deactivation was found in the right superior frontal gyrus.<<

The study thus displayed that there is a unique pattern of activity in the brain in the context of hate.

Though distinct from the pattern of activity that correlates with romantic love, this pattern nevertheless shares two areas with the latter, namely the putamen and the insula.

Hate is a complex biological sentiment which throughout human history has impelled individuals to archetypal morally reprehensible acts.

Unlike ‘romantic love’, hate need not be directed against an individual; it may instead assume many varieties, being directed against an individual, a society, or an ethnic group. In the study, the neural correlates of hate directed against an individual were explored. There are varieties even within such a confine. The hatred may be directed against a public figure or a personally known individual, for a variety of reasons.

In the study no attempt was made to distinguish between different types of personal hatred. Instead, subjects were recruited via advertisements, asking them only to volunteer if they experienced a feeling sufficiently intense for hatred for an individual, without distinguishing further between different categories of individual hate. Subjects were asked to complete a questionnaire which allowed to correlate the declared subjective experiences with changes in the blood oxygen level. It was hypothesized that the pattern of activity generated by viewing the face of a hated person would be quite distinct from that produced by viewing the face of a lover. In particular, it was anticipated that it would result in a different pattern of activity within the emotional brain. Given the common association between love and hate, and the relative frequency with which one of these sentiments can transform into the other, it was also hypothesized that there would be some strong correlation in the brain sites activated during the experience of these two antipodean sentiments. The results were enlightening.

To over-simplify and in brief; the task in approaching so complex a sentiment, it was deemed necessary to concentrate on the sentiment of hate directed against an individual. Even within such a limit, the problem has many facets that this initial study could not address.

>>Hatred against an individual may be seemingly irrational and rooted in remote anthropological instincts. Hate based on race or religion would probably fall under this heading.<<

>>On the other hand, an individual may trace the hatred to a past injustice and hence, find a justifiable source for it.<<

There are no doubt many other ways in which the sentiment can be sub-categorized. But concentrating on individual hate, regardless of the categories to which it could potentially be assigned, had the merit of revealing at least a basic network in the brain and thus acting as a template for future, more specialized and sophisticated studies.

The studies revealed a basic pattern unique to the sentiment of hate, even though individual sites within have been shown to be active in other conditions that are related to hate. The network has components that have been considered to be important in (i) generating aggressive behaviour and (ii) translating this behaviour into motor action through motor planning. Finally, and most intriguingly, the network involves regions of the putamen and the insula that are almost identical to the ones activated by passionate, romantic, love.

It is important to note that the pattern revealed is distinct from that of other, closely related, emotions such as fear, anger, aggression and danger, even though it shares common areas with these other sentiments. Thus, the amygdala which is strongly activated by fear and by aggression was not activated in the study. Nor were the anterior cingulate, hippocampus, medial temporal regions, and orbito-frontal cortex, apparently conspicuous in anger and threat

One region of activation in the study, involving multiple foci, lies in the frontal cortex, both medially and laterally. Numerous studies have activated one part or another of this relatively large expanse of cortex. What seems not to be in doubt is that this cortical zone involves the pre-motor cortex, a zone that has been implicated in the preparation of motor planning and its execution.

It is hypothesized that the sight of a hated person mobilizes the motor system for the possibility of attack or defence. In addition, the involvement of the frontal pole is in a location considered to be critical in predicting the action of others, arguably an important feature when confronted by a hated person.

Another forebrain site that was active in the study and which has been implicated in motor planning, though seemingly in an affective context, is the right putamen, a structure that has also been implicated in the perception of contempt and disgust possibly within an aggressive context since dopamine turnover level is apparently higher in the putamen of aggressive mice. Damage to the putamen and insula apparently compromises a person’s ability to recognize signals of disgust. Animal studies suggest that the putamen may constitute part of the motor system that is mobilized in the context of hate. It contains neurons that are active in phases preparatory to motor acts and has been shown to be active in conditions in which cognitive planning is required to trigger a motor act.

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On Cradling the Desire to Kill

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VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES : Do provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations. The effect of violent video games appears to be cognitive in nature. However, in the short term, playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts. Longer-term effects are likely to be longer lasting as well, as the player learns and practices new aggression-related scripts that become more and more accessible for use when real-life conflict situations arise. If repeated exposure to violent video games does indeed lead to the creation and heightened accessibility of a variety of aggressive knowledge structures, thus effectively altering the person’s basic personality structure, the consequent changes in everyday social interactions may also lead to consistent increases in aggressive affect. The active nature of the learning environment of the video game suggests that this medium is potentially more dangerous than the more heavily investigated TV and movie media. With the recent trend toward greater realism and more graphic violence in video games and the rising popularity of these games, (I) one should be aware of these potential risks (II) Importantly, violent video games can be commandeered to both create and exaggerate the tendency.

Violent video games can desensitize individuals to real-life violence ( including violence against women). The paradigm moves beyond the question of whether violent games are harmful per se, to the important questions of whom is most likely to be harmed by violent-sexist video games, and through what mechanism does the harm occur.

Who specifically is referred to are players that identify with the violent (and often of different sex, ideologically different, characteriologically different, including that of appearance) game characters. Playing violent video games increases masculine beliefs (and creates hyper-masculine predisposition), and decreases empathy for violence victims, especially for boys and young men who highly identify with the male game character. Video games are especially likely to increase aggression among players who identify with violent (made to appear ‘heroic’) game characters, and that a reduced empathy is one of the major predictors for aggression against target individuals (including women and others, as stated) and groups. Exposure to media violence is one of the many factors that can severely influence empathy levels.

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Addendum

(C-I) One should make the distinction between the stated, and ‘specialist skills training’ (operative field skills). Doing so ensures the position of looking at this issue / this condition and all that provokes and reinforces it from a point of view that bears neither overlap, nor similarity. Owning the required ability to defend and not offend is a crucial distinction that must be emphasised. The training and commensurate ability to engage in combat, to fight, is not borne of the same, nor does it develop into, as such. As said, the ability to engage and indeed survive in the protecting of others, the ensuring of safety and indeed being prepared to forfeit one’s own life in the process does require very particular life-world. It is a life-world the polar opposite of that lived by those inspired by intolerance and hatred, by the desire to live out in the real world what has been taught and absorbed via violent computer games, via contrived and manipulative media, via significant others (often working hand in hand with all methods of indoctrination) and whose objective is to motivate others to offend our society in the worst ways imaginable. We should discuss this point more.

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Secret Intelligence Service

Room No. 15

Violent Video Games – Security Issues

 

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Adversitate. Custodi. Per Verum