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Review of General Psychology discusses games, talks sense

Good news, fans of sane, rational discussion. Bad news, fans of raging nonsensically about things you don't understand after 0.41 seconds worth of thought. TheReview of General Psychology(a quarterly publication by the American Psychology Association) has put out a special video game themed edition. What happens when these people discuss our favourite medium? Generally a lot of sense is talked.

Above: Brain-scholar-approved behaviour. Maybe

In the special issue, you can find lengthy, in-depth articles covering the full gamut of what happens when games give brains a big squishy hug. Obviously the persistent and stubborn bad smell of the violence debate is dissected, but you can also find works discussing gaming's place in child development, the use of interactive media within health care, and even how games can be an aid to psychotherapy. It's very interesting stuff, and it's also very reassuring to know that the full potential of the medium is being properly thought out like this.

You can check out online PDFs of the articles I've just mentioned viaGame Politics, where we found out about this edition. They're heftychunks of word mass, but well worth investigating if you're interested in the more serious issues and bigger picture around games. I fully plan to give them a thorough ploughingover the rest of this week. But right now, I know you want some arguments to throw at the 'games make epileptic child-killers' brigade, so those arguments I will detail.

Above:Marleneprobably won't like it

Essentially, the Review's standpoint seems to be one of balanced tolerance, and even support of games. It makes what should be the obvious point that people become succeptible to violent media when personality flaws are already present, saying, as I have many times myself, that if games were as dangerous as some say we'd actually have a whole lot more school shootings going on than we do now.

This edition also punch holes in the shoddy research often used to 'prove' a link between games and aggression. It even points out games' benefits in improving co-ordination skills, social interaction and education, and most importantly states - again, as I often have myself - that by dwelling on the supposed dangers of games, all we do is avoid looking at and fixing the real issues behind violent behaviour.

One day, all of this nonsense will blow away and it will be as if it never happened. But for now, thanksRGP.

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.