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Video Violence

December 12, 2007

Video games teach violence in a surprisingly masterful way.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Lessons from video violence. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Some studies suggest that violent video games may increase aggression. One of the latest, which involved 2,500 young people, was led by Iowa State University developmental psychologist Douglas Gentile. He and his father, J. Ronald Gentile at the University of Buffalo, have a provocative explanation for their results.

DOUG GENTILE (Iowa State University):
We found that video games in general use many of exactly the same techniques that the very best teachers in the world use.

HIRSHON:
Those include establishing a clear objective, advancing the user through levels of increasing difficulty, and responding to the learning speed of the user in real time. And while they’re concerned about the violent video games’ apparent success at teaching aggression, the Gentiles suggest that educators steal some of the games’ instructional techniques, to create new learning tools for the classroom. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.