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October 31st, 2006


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12:46 pm
Internet porn reduces rape.
And, violent movies reduce violent crime.
article
discuss.


I think that limiting the scope to violent movies is... well... limiting.
I made a chart of video game sales against violent crime for available data, '95-'05.



Hypothesis: Most high sales-volume games are violent to some extent.
This violence allows the release of aggression in a virtual setting, thus to some extent reducing real-life violent crime.
As discussed in the above article, the main reduction in violent crime has been seen in the 12-19 year old set which is the prime demographic for violent video games.

Data sources:
http://www.theesa.com/facts/sales_genre_data.php
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/table_01.html


Just raising point for discussion because I think they're interesting. This is not a peer-reviewed study by any means.
mood: calmcalm

(13 bits of drivel | babble incoherently)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:road_to_hell
Date:October 31st, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
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This is really interesting. I want more time to mull it over though. Thanks for pointing it out!
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:October 31st, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
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a pleasure.
Please do chime back in, I'm really curious what other people are thinking about this.
[User Picture]
From:blimey85
Date:October 31st, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC)
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The data you provide is interesting but how can you form any sort of conclusion with such limited data? We know the violent crime rate and that's what we are comparing against. That part is fine. Then we look at the cause side of the equation and you have violence in films and games however there is so much more that needs to be considered. I would think that money could play a large role in this so looking at the economy during this time would make sense.

From your graph we see there was a spike from roughly '90 to '94 and hten it's dropped since then. We see no game sales data for that period in time however the data you provide begins at 0 so we can assume that data for pre '95 1/2 is also at 0.

From all of this I conclude that we have insufficient data to determine what effect if any game sales has had on the violent crime rate. From just looking at this data it would seem that games sales have had little if any effect because the rate at which violent crime has dropped slowed as game sales increased.

With more precise data and more external paramaters reviewed you may very well find that the violent crime rate went up slightly due to game sales. In the end I still firmly believe that violence in games and movies doesn't effect society in either direction, neither making us more or less violent. I do however believe that pornography and prostitution can lower both rape and other violent crimes. It would be interesting to see how those things effected sex related crimes.
[User Picture]
From:blimey85
Date:October 31st, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
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when reading my previous comment please keep in mind that 1, I have crap English skills, and 2, I'm at work and busy and was writing fast. But yea, I pretty much suck at writing so even if I had lots of time I still would barely be able to converse coherently.. .hehe.
[User Picture]
From:thedeadfisharmy
Date:October 31st, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)

Correlation != causation

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I think that's the only thing to take away from this. You could probably graph a reduction of violent crime and an increase in average weight, too.

The data about weekends where violent movies are released is probably beside the point, because the argument is not that someone watches Hannibal then goes out and kills and eats someone immediately, but that repeated exposure to, and idolization of, violent blah blah blah, leads to people more willing to commit violent acts. So, sort of apples and oranges there.
[User Picture]
From:locriansax
Date:October 31st, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)

Re: Correlation != causation

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indeed, I'd have to agree with you there on correlation does not equal causation.
[User Picture]
From:johncoxon
Date:October 31st, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Correlation != causation

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Whilst this is true, it's compelling evidence against the old "violence and porn breed rape and muggings!" argument...
[User Picture]
From:smargot
Date:October 31st, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
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the causal mechanism (time spent in theater= time not spent committing crime) is pretty weak, esp. if, as they claim, crime rates apparently return to close to normal by 6am...which among other things is way over-reliant on being able to pinpoint when violent crime actually happens, but also misses the point of the causal mechanism proposed in studies that claim the opposite: that violence can both raise people's willingness to be violent in the very short term (30 min or so, which probably very rarely coincides with the motivation/opportunity to be violent) and more importantly normalize violence for people in general/posit violent reaction as a natural or viable response to certain kinds of situations, etc.

i'm guessing the curve above has less to do with video game sales than the relative economic stability, increased police presence in many urban areas, and various other causal mechanisms for the national trend of falling crime rates since the late 1980s (which puts the big lie to the fictional and wholly media-created "crime wave" of the 1990s). for one, the demographics are off, i.e. the stats on people who buy and play video games are not the same as the stats on people involved in the vast majority of violent crime.

i'm a little more apt to believe internet porn/internet interaction can affect the stats on teenage date rape, although that's a notoriously unreliable stat to try to work with; certainly teenage boys having more access to the stimulation/relief of porn, forums where they can talk about their sexual experiences (or lack), and being able to engage in sexual chat with internet "girlfriends" may well alleviate some of the anxieties/urgencies that can lead to misunderstandings/assault... but the value of lab studies (even if they *are* unnatural environments) is that they give us a sense of how media might impact peoples' constructs; i'm not sure the orgasm achieved in the privacy of the home office/bedroom alleviates the tendencies towards misogynism that can be inspired by repetitive images of women as sexual objects and the totally bizzaro-world sexual dynamics represented in most pornography...

making the studies parallel, as this article does, seems to rely on an essentializing hypothesis a la "men are inherently violent and inherently prone to violent sex and those needs can be alleviated by media"...which doesn't hold up to the vast discrepancies in rape and crime rates between the U.S. and other countries, also presumably half-populated by men.
[User Picture]
From:eviltwinjen
Date:October 31st, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
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While I personally tend to think that repression of media doesn't make a safer society, I'm a bit alarmed by the Slate article's casual assumption that the desire to rape is the same as the desire to get one's rocks off. This is not quite the case. I hardly think that all rape would be prevented if rapists had access to the proper masturbatory fuel...
[User Picture]
From:d_m
Date:November 1st, 2006 01:09 am (UTC)
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// the thing that makes studies like these complicated is that
// you have to differentiate overall statistical trends from
// individual cases of causation or correlation.

// for instance:

// let's say that video-games generally tend to correlate with
// a reduction of aggression in 99.9% of subjects, but that 0.1%
// of subjects experience a drastic increase. it's hard to find
// something like that via trend-analysis, and its even harder to
// be sure what it means.

// blinking lights make a small percentage of our population have
// seisures, but that doesn't mean that they are harmful generally,
// you know?

// on the flip-side: sitting in front of a TV all day may drastically
// lower aggression levels such that violent videogames do increase
// them, but not enough to offset the overall passivity of the medium.
// what kinds of conclusion would you draw then?

// anyway, this is a complex issue which has very few disinterested
// parties discussing it. so whatever is decided, it will probably
// be for the wrong reasons. huzzah!

[User Picture]
From:jimmi_obadger
Date:November 1st, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)
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I'm inclined to believe there's something to it, just because it works for me: If i listen to loud and violent music, i am much less likely to punch or smash something. If i wrassle with my neighbor in fun, i will get over wanting to deck my housemate in rage.

It's not about distraction, though, it's about catharsis.
[User Picture]
From:jjjiii
Date:November 1st, 2006 02:14 am (UTC)
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The old saw "correlation is not causation" bears repeating here...
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From:axessdenyd
Date:November 1st, 2006 05:52 am (UTC)
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I see an even better inverse correlation between gun posession and crime rate.
Internet porn reduces rape. And, violent movies reduce violent… - another LJ. or: how i learned to stop worrying and love this life-thingy

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