Monday, 5 December 2011

Video games increase aggression and recklessness: Susan Greenfield

Its certainly right to debate this more - and look at all the research and the views of a wide range of stakeholders. Generally I'm with Prof Greenfield on this one. If people were moderate in their use of video games and screen-based stuff generally perhaps there wouldn't be an issue - but many seem to be heading in the opposite direction!

BBC News - Video games debate: Susan Greenfield and Tom Chivers

Neuroscientist Baroness Greenfield claimed people who play a lot of video games can have an increase in "aggression and recklessness".

She is leading a debate in the House of Lords on Monday evening about the impact of digital technologies on the mind.

But The Daily Telegraph's science writer Tom Chivers said people can use screens and still talk to others, and research shows those with an active life in social media tend to have a more active "real life".


  1. Susan Greenfield is infamous in science for making statements to the press that she never dares publish in scientific papers, because the review process would demand defensible data.

  2. Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me! Sorry but I spent too much time watching tv as a kid and this joke is one of the corny best.

    Susan Greenfield referred to a metastudy on today's Daily Politics and during debate mentioned at least two specific pieces of research. She also inferred that there was a lot of work still to be done.

    I see the rationale for her view as I think many will/do. I think it's an important area to discuss. She has made her views very public and rightly has been and will be challenged not least in the media and the House of Lords debate. This is in a sense what she is there for.

  3. Yeah, and the same thing was said when ownership of television sets became widespread, and the same thing was said about rock n roll music, and pretty much every late twentieth century youth subculture and their individual associated genres of music.

    Computer games ain't for everyone and sitting on your arse long enough doing anything is probably going to make ye lazy and eventually unhealthy, thats just common sense. This however reeks of fear of changing social attitudes and activities.

    Partly I think that this is to do with the wider range of games available, which means an increase in the number of adult titles in what has traditonally (although incorrectly) been seen as a childrens form of media, a similar thing is happening in comic books.

    It comes down to two words - moral panic.

  4. You may have a point Grumpy. However, maybe it depends how much tv, rock n roll etc can be equated with video games and other on-screen activities. I can see a tv to video games link but others are far from clear and I dont think the tv link is that strong.

    You seem to be both acknowledging some sort of problem with video gaming for too long, producing laziness and poorer health, whilst putting concern down to just moral panic. Some may well be in a moral panic about this but I think Susan Greenfield is not one of these. She has referred to at least some evidence, asked for more debate and rounded assessment of the evidence and has given her considered opinion as a neurologist.

    Maybe at the least we should look to see what the evidence says about how much time spent video gaming and on other on-screen activity would be unhealthy.


Genuine, constructive, relevant comments are most welcome.