By | December 22, 2011 22 Comments

Are we growing more sociopaths with violent video games?

Researchers used fMRI brain scans to study the effects of playing violent video games on the brains of young adult men. The changes were similar to those seen in teens with destructive sociopathic disorders.

Read How playing violent video games may change the brain, on

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Ox Drover

While many articles about “research” put a slant on the actual research, I don’t think that there is much doubt that media of all kinds containing violent content has an effect on the minds of those who engage with it.

The media having an effect on our thinking is what advertising is all about. Why would companies pay zillions of dollars for advertisements if they didn’t work? DUH!

Being exposed to violence either in real life or in the media makes us grow used to it. In my profession I frequently saw “blood and guts” that would make many people faint….and even then it took me some time to get “used to” it. Having grown up on a farm where we processed our own meat, I was not totally unfamiliar with the sight of blood and intestines in slaughtered animals, where some people have never seen such a thing, and at our first trip to surgery one of my class mates actually fainted on the spot when the patient’s belly was opened. After exposure to several operations she was there with the rest of us, jockeying for a good view no longer freaked out by the sights and smells of what she was seeing.

Exciting media causes the viewer to experience some “exciting” emotions as the viewer engages in the “story line”—-I remember specifically the movie Jaw which was a big deal at that time due to the special effects and the scary story line.

Our children are exposed to thousands of hours of various kinds of media by the time they go to school now. I’m not sure that is a good thing at all….interesting article.


I personally don’t think it’s just about tv and video violence – I think its that we are not instilling morals and values in our children.

While video games may seem to be the culprit for some future sociopaths, it certainly doesn’t explain sociopaths like Casey Anthony or any of the other young men and women who selfishly use their children for it’s benefits and then casually torment them fro fun and then throw them away when they outlive their usefulness or get in the way of a social life.

It’s easy to see that people who parent like Cindy Anthony (she’s definitely not alone, although she is the extreme) contribute largely to the creation of a sociopath through enabling while at the same time personally waging war directly with their child but then also covering for their child’s wrong doings time and time again and the child begins to know that the parent will cover for them even up to murder. The child learns to manipulate the parent instead of learning how to contribute to society in a positive way. The child learns to be selfish.

The truth is that video games have little or no affect on kids whose parents have let them grow, let them fall and learn to get up on their own. Sure, video games become a part of the selfish behavior but that’s all they really are. If you removed all the video games and tv violence we’d still be creating a generation of sociopaths.

My daughter is in her early 20s and she often comments to me about how selfish her generation is and how horrible it is that they kill their own children and how terrifying it is that the commonality of this horrible behavior is numbing us and making us view this as “less shocking” with each event. I’m proud of my daughter because she has a conscience and good moral values. As hard as it was I’ve let her fall and stood by her while she got up. I spent my time trying to learn and understand but never accepted lies. That was my only carnal rule and it’s funny… I see that in her now – lying is just unacceptable on all levels. I always told her to be honest with me because there was no truth that could possibly be as bad as any lie she might tell me in order to cover the truth. I won’t say she never lied… she certainly had her share of “falling” and learning to get up on her own.

So, it is my opinion that video games and tv violence are not to blame for sociopathy – it is that we are becoming numb and accepting of absence of good moral values. We are accepting selfishness as the norm. It’s a mistake and in my opinion it is the single largest contributor to creating a sociopath – male or female.

Ox Drover

Deb I read an article the other day about a new “game” the inner city kids are playing called “knock out king” where a group of youths pick a target at random, preferably someone who isn’t likely to be able to fight back much, and they mob him, and knock him/her out cold and video it and post it on U-tube or wherever! Oh My God!

I sent the article to a friend and he said “yea that’s been going on a while” and I thought back to some of the research that I had read about in school with rats which were kept in highly over crowded conditions similar to our cities…and they actually formed gangs of young rats that would go out and rape and beat up other rats. I wonder if our youth not having morals and purpose in life except to get up and go out and have “fun” and not being taught a work ethic or being part of a family unit is more the problem than just video games. Without a stable family to teach morals, the kids turn to each other and it is sort of like “Lord of the Flies” I think.


Children ” addicted” to violent games are becoming an increasing problem, in my experience.

Monday morning frequently sees the same children with their heads on the desks, disengaged, blankly staring into space. Of course some of this behaviour is due to tiredness but we have pupils whose personalities have changed …..aggressive to their parents, other pupils and several cases where they have reacted violently when parents try to cut down or limit the use of these vile instruments of entertainment.

Interestingly, my ex LOVED online gaming, particular war games. So I suppose some people might say I’m biased in my criticism. However, my SIL plays but not to the same level … ex could play non stop Sometimes playing for 24 hours


Hi Folks, Just checking in to say hello after the holidays. I haven’t been online much. Really loving my new job.
As for violent video games I don’t think they “grow new sociopaths.”
But then again I believe sociopaths are born & not made. I believe our young men are being conditioned for future wars and that’s why the violent video games have been introduced into our culture.
By playing these games our young get a taste of war & what they should prepare for in coming of age. I can tell you that a lot of folks agree with my theory. Any thoughts on the subject?



I have issues not only with violent video games but with violent TV programming and violent sports, as well as gambling shows and many “reality” shows.

Ox Drover

BBE, I’m with YOU!!! The violence is being “normalized” with the entertainment industry.

In Merrie old England the violent entertainment used to be the traitors being dragged through the cobbled streets, head down, or whipped at the tail of a cart, then hanged, drawn and quartered…and folks if you are really curious look it up, or watch Braveheart (which BTW I think should have been half as long with the unnecessary violence cut out!) So the Romans went from games to “GAMES” and throw the Christians to the tigers sports…so there isn’t anything “new” about this, it is just that it is piped into every home now, and into every pocket on every cell phone/computer in every first grader’s hands.

Lots of research has been done about how peer pressure and authority figures shape what we think is OK. What is media if not “peer pressure”? I have one son in prison for actually killing a young woman, and another who sits at a computer most of the time he is off work and “kills” online in video games. I’m not really sure which one of the two, if either, has a “life.”


“The truth is that video games have little or no affect on kids whose parents have let them grow, let them fall and learn to get up on their own.”

There is a plethora of research that disputes this entirely.

The website below is filled with statistics and reports regarding violent video games and their impact on children.

“In a Joint Statement (2000) before the Congressional Public Health Summit, a number of American medical associations — the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry — caution parents about violence in the media and its negative effect on children.

“Their report states that exposure to violent media can elevate aggressive feelings and thoughts, especially in children.

“These effects on aggressive behavior can be long-term.

“Although fewer studies have been conducted on interactive video games, evidence suggests that playing violent video games may have a more dramatic influence on the behavior of children and adolescents (Joint Statement, 2000).”

I wouldn’t say violent video games cause sociopathy, but I certainly believe that it lowers the bar of what people might object to as unacceptable behavior, both from others and from themselves.

Even if you hold to “video games have little or no affect on kids,” it desensitizes the viewers to what is acceptable and objectionable.

I’ve have advocated against violent video games being available for children.

This advocacy, on behalf of an organization that I belong to, included conducting 2 stings to see which stores will sell these games to minors, having opinion pieces published in newspapers, and requesting my state’s legislature to pass a bill prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors the same way that tobacco, porn, and alcohol are restricted from being sold to them.

Or, if you don’t want to take my word for it, read this report from 2010.

Ox Drover

G1S, the reason brands spend thousands upon thousands of dollars each year for ADVERTISEMENTs is that they WORK. What we see in the media has an effect on our brains, our minds, our thinking. Kids who are exposed to violence are more violent.

People get used to what they see around them as “normal.”

People who have never been around surgery or around butchering of livestock might go YUK! or even pass out cold, but after a while you get used to it. I promise you you do. You may never like it but you get used to it.

The same with violence. You get used to it. Kids are especially vulnerable I believe to videos and violence. When my kids were little we did not have a TV in our home because I thought that kids should play outside, ride horses, build forts in the woods, read. so we had a broken TV in our home and I never had the “money” to fix it. So they accepted it was not something we could ‘afford.” We had horses and other things but never TV.

None of my kids watch much TV. I think D and I watch together about 3 hours a week, and I watch 2-3 more hours for a total of 5-6 hours for me. However, son C is ADDICTED to violent video games which he started watching as an adult college student during a period of depression. (he is also ADHD and there is some research showing that those kids tend to gravitate toward video games) He uses most of his resources to buy bigger and better and faster computers for the games, spending an inordinate amount of his income on these things, while having little or no “safety net” financially. He was willing to lie to me, and break the agreement he made to live in my home. MY HOUSE, MY RULES. If you live in my house you pay rent, do your fair share of the house/yard work, and act in what I believe is a financially responsible manner. In addition to that, don’t you dare lie to me. He acted in what I think was a financially irresponsible manner, plus he lied to me. LEASE EXPIRED immediately. Oh, well…

I don’t think violent video games influenced him as a kid, but they sure do as an adult…well ADULT in years at least. I think it is an addiction just like booze or drugs, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a CHOICE. He does. I quit cigarettes and he can quit or control his addiction as well.


Many of the researchers agree with you, Oxy.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about video game addiction.


“Are we growing more sociopaths with violent video games?”

Yes, absolutely. Add to that all violence in other media. We are being brain washed/conditioned and children are more influenced by & vulnerable to this glorification of violence. How about the new film “Hunger Games”: what message is that film giving?



found this about “knock out king”:

December 2011
Punched to the ground, left bruised, brain damaged and sometimes even dead ”“ these are the vulnerable victims of an increasingly popular ‘game’.

‘Knockout King’ is the frightening phenomenon that has claimed lives across the country as teenagers and young adults seek out sick thrills.

In the planned attacks, a group will appoint a leader and then choose a defenceless victim at random.

They punch the victim to the ground, sometimes filming the attack on mobile phones.

Reports from across the country ”“ including Massachusetts, New Jersey and Chicago ”“ have identified victims as immigrants, elderly and often alone.

I’m horrified/disgusted how low life, low brow, irresponsible, stupid, cruel and violent behavior is glorified in society today. The Ns & SPs seem to be taking over & becoming the norm.

Wow! Here’s a comment to the article:

My son was attacked unprovoked by a gang of four thugs “just for fun”. I will give credit to the medical staff who were wonderful. He required five total surgeries and much therapy. Even though we had witnesses and were able to identity them, we could not get the police to do anything until I got a senator involved. By then they had attacked and almost killed two others. I had insurance and even after it paid and victim’s assistance paid I still had to take a second mortgage on my home for almost $38K. Living in the USA is a joke – the American Dream is nothing but a nightmare.

Ox Drover

Well, look at the NFL “heroes” like Michael Vick and others who are involved in violent acts on and off the field of play, and glorified. I saw one guy the other day who had I can’t remember how many kids by 6 or 8 women!!! WTF? He even had a couple by his WIFE.

I’d heard about that “knock out king” stuff and it makes my stomach churn to even read about it. How about those 2 kids that pushed the shopping cart over the balcony in a mall and hit that woman and brain damaged her? I could go on but why bother, you got the idea…. sheesh!

here is an article and video that might give you a perspective on the hunger games.


Interesting article… though the “with atheists it will grow worse” opinion is one I disagree with, since scapegoating and sacrifice has always been present and performed for various reasons.

As for violence… for the moment homophobic violence is the topic in Belgium. A gay guy in his 30s was found dead after being missing for several days. He got a ride from 4 guys. These guys had first wanted to give a ride to a girl; she turned it down. The now-dead victim didn’t turn it down. They claim “he made advances to them” and that’s the “reason” why they “lost it” and started to kick him. When I heard that on the new I thought… “They’re lying!” One guy coming on to 4 other guys? Nope, not without having been led on at first. And besides, even if he had flirted with them, that’s still no reason to beat him to death. They were 4, he was by himself. But it’s typical “blame the victim” reasoning of a spath. Several of these guys were already known to the police for being violent. So, seems to me they were cruising for trouble the four of them and looking for a victim. If the girl had taken the ride, she most probably would have been gang-raped, possibly beaten into the hospital if not killed as well.


The other day, my son told me about a video game where you get to hunt down psychopaths in a mall.

I asked him how did the player know that they were psychopaths?

Here’s what he told me:

The name of the game is Dead Rising. The game is about a zombie outbreak and you’re stuck in a mall as a reporter.

You must survive 72 hours and you are free to use anything in the mall as a weapon.

A side mission is to find and defeat all the psychopaths in a mall. He thinks there are about 20. He found 5.

You know that they’re psychopaths because they act sick, disturbed, and twisted (plus that’s how the game describes them.)

Psychopaths aren’t zombies. They’re humans.

One is a mall cop. She handcuffed survivors to displays (I guess that means the zombies can get them) and keeps talking about that they must pay for what they did.

Ox Drover

What an uplifting and educational game for children to play!

But that’s not how psychopaths act. They are charming and pitiful. 😥

See, this game should be banned for being misleading. It does a disservice to children everywhere.

kim frederick

Skylar, agreed.


It’s the Hollywood and entertainment industry stereotype that we’re up against.


I meant to tell you I’m in MA not RI. But so much a like (I mean the states!)


I was born in MA, but moved to RI one month after my 3rd birthday.

Where I lived used to be part of MA.

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