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Psychology Roundup

March 27, 2009

Do violent games kill compassion?

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Can video games leave us cold? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Do violent video games and movies make people numb to the suffering of others? Two new studies from the University of Michigan seem to support the idea. In one, some people were asked to play a violent video game while another group played a non-violent game. Later, the volunteers witnessed a staged fight in which one person was injured. Those that had played the violent game took five times longer to help the injured person. In another study, subjects who had just seen a violent movie and later saw a person on crutches fall were significantly slower to help the person.

In other psychology news, a new study suggests that doodling may improve your memory. Volunteers who were allowed to doodle while listening to a boring list of names were better able to recall the information later than those who weren’t allowed to doodle. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.