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Va. Tech Killer A Violent Video Game Fan

Newsmax | April 19, 2007 

Virginia Tech mass murderer Cho Seung Hui honed his skill as a deadly marksman by playing violent video games.

According to Washington Post Staff Writer David Cho, several Korean youths who knew Cho Seung Hui from his high school days said he was a fan of violent video games, particularly a game called "Counterstrike," a hugely popular online game in which players join terrorism or counterterrorism groups and try to shoot each other using all types of guns.

And playing these violent games can do more than help a player improve his skills, they can help transform him from a player to a killer, psychologists say.

"Countersrike" is a of the First Person Shooter game genre, where the player becames the participant in simulated murder.

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Playing violent video games can increase a person's aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in actual life, according to two studies appearing in the April 2000 issue of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study's authors add that violent video games may be more harmful than violent television and movies because they are interactive, very engrossing and require the player to identify with the aggressor, the researchers say.

"One study reveals that young men who are habitually aggressive may be especially vulnerable to the aggression-enhancing effects of repeated exposure to violent games," according to psychologists Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D., and Karen E. Dill, Ph.D. in their article "Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior in the Laboratory and in Life."

A second study by the authors revealed that even a brief exposure to violent video games can temporarily increase aggressive behavior in all types of participants.

"We found that students who reported playing more violent video games in junior and high school engaged in more aggressive behavior," Anderson, of Iowa State University explained. "We also found that amount of time spent playing video games in the past was associated with lower academic grades in college."


"Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations," said Dr. Anderson.

"In the short run, playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts. Longer-term effects are likely to be longer lasting as well, as the player learns and practices new aggression-related scripts that can become more and more accessible for use when real-life conflict situations arise," Anderson added.

"One major concern is the active nature of the learning environment of the video game," the authors concluded. "This medium is potentially more dangerous than exposure to violent television and movies, which are known to have substantial effects on aggression and violence."

The Post noted that the authors recalled that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold enjoyed playing violent video games, and they speculated that these games played a role in their violent acts at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in April of 1999.

Eric Harris had actually modified a version of the game Doom and placed it on his Website. In his version, there were two shooters, extra weapons, and the other people in the game couldn't shoot back. He and Klebold essentially acted-out their version of Doom on innocent classmates.

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