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Militarized Gaming as Recruitment Tools 5 Militarized Gaming as Recruitment Tools

Video Games Are U.S. Army's Most Powerful Recruitment ToolCall of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 met instant success when it released just before Veteran’s Day this year, selling 4.7 million units the first day. While millions rushed to play a game based on military combat, roughly 70,000 young Americans chose to join the Army last year. Another game not quite as popular, America’s Army, was developed by the U.S. military to aid in recruitment and in order to play, you have to register your information through the Army’s recruitment website. According to The Washington Examiner, it appears to be working.

The article cites a 2008 MIT study that found “30 percent of all Americans age 16 to 24 had a more positive impression of the Army because of the game and, even more amazingly, the game had more impact on recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined.”

An Air Force colonel cited in the Examiner article said young recruits who are avid gamers with minimal training and experience are “naturals to the fast-moving, multitasking nature of modern warfare.” It seems war-based video games have inadvertently helped train people to become better warriors, so it makes sense to use video games to build interest in the Army. What do you think? Is recruiting for the military through video games the right way to go? - Source

Violent Video Games 5 Violent Video Games

Violent Video Games

There has been too little serious public policy debate concerning how best to reduce exposure of children and youth to media violence. Many of the debates that have occurred in Congress, the popular press, and conferences have often focused on whether there is sufficient scientific evidence of harmful effects to support public policy actions. Some debates have conflated other public policy issues with the basic scientific question of whether there are significant harmful effects. Some U.S. First Amendment proponents who are vociferous critics of media violence research do not seem to understand that the scientific question (Are there harmful effects?) is different from the legal question (Are proposed policies legal under the U.S. Constitution?).

As the medical, public health, and psychological scientific communities have repeatedly stated, the scientific debate about whether there are harmful effects of media violence is over. We believe that it is time to move on to the more difficult public policy questions concerning whether modern societies should take action to reduce the high rates of exposure of children and youth to media violence, and if so, what public policies would likely be the most effective. - source

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Competing Messages: Mass Media Effects on RecruitingThis study examines how the mass media’s portrayal of the military, including the war in Iraq, affects U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps recruiting. A telephone survey of households in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas was conducted to measure parents and young adults’ exposure to information about the military in various media sources and how much attention they paid to those sources of information for information about the military.  This study was hampered by a small sample size (N=119) that limits the ability to claim significant findings for several hypotheses. However, the study did uncover a pattern that indicated that greater use of newspapers and entertainment television reduced chances of young adults joining the military, whereas use of movies depicting the military enhanced the likelihood of joining. Also, media use predicted people’s attitudes about the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Jason Bortz, Natalie Granger, Nathaniel Garcia, Brandan W. Schulze, Mark Mackowiak, Victoria Jennings, Jon McMillan, Debbie Allen
University of Oklahoma
2008

Fronto-parietal regulation of media violence exposure in adolescents: a multi-method studyAdolescents spend a significant part of their leisure time watching TV programs and movies that portray violence. It is unknown, however, how the extent of violent media use and the severity of aggression displayed affect adolescents brain function. We investigated skin conductance responses, brain activation and functional brain connectivity to media violence in healthy adolescents. In an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment, subjects repeatedly viewed normed videos that displayed different degrees of aggressive behavior. We found a downward linear adaptation in skin conductance responses with increasing aggression and desensitization towards more aggressive videos. Our results further revealed adaptation in a fronto-parietal network including the left lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC), right precuneus and bilateral inferior parietal lobules, again showing downward linear adaptations and desensitization towards more aggressive videos. Granger causality mapping analyses revealed attenuation in the left lOFC, indicating that activation during viewing aggressive media is driven by input from parietal regions that decreased over time, for more aggressive videos. We conclude that aggressive media activates an emotion –attention network that has the capability to blunt emotional responses through reduced attention with repeated viewing of aggressive media contents, which may restrict the linking of the consequences of aggression with an emotional response, and therefore potentially promotes aggressive attitudes and behavior.

Adolescents spend a significant part of their leisure time watching TV programs and movies that portray violence. It is unknown,
however, how the extent of violent media use and the severity of aggression displayed affect adolescents brain function. We
investigated skin conductance responses, brain activation and functional brain connectivity to media violence in healthy adolescents.
In an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment, subjects repeatedly viewed normed videos that
displayed different degrees of aggressive behavior. We found a downward linear adaptation in skin conductance responses with
increasing aggression and desensitization towards more aggressive videos. Our results further revealed adaptation in a
fronto-parietal network including the left lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC), right precuneus and bilateral inferior parietal lobules,
again showing downward linear adaptations and desensitization towards more aggressive videos. Granger causality mapping
analyses revealed attenuation in the left lOFC, indicating that activation during viewing aggressive media is driven by input from
parietal regions that decreased over time, for more aggressive videos. We conclude that aggressive media activates an emotion
–attention network that has the capability to blunt emotional responses through reduced attention with repeated viewing
of aggressive media contents, which may restrict the linking of the consequences of aggression with an emotional response,
and therefore potentially promotes aggressive attitudes and behavior.

Summary—Research on violent television and films, video games, and music reveals unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts. The effects appear larger for milder than for more severe forms of aggression, but the effects on severe forms of violence are also substantial when compared with effects of other violence risk factors or medical effects deemed important by the medical community (e.g., effect of aspirin on heart attacks). The research base is large; diverse in methods, samples, and media genres; and consistent in overall findings. The evidence is clearest within the most extensively researched domain, television and film violence. The growing body of video-game research yields essentially the same conclusions.

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