Stanford University psychologist blames games and porn for “the demise of guys”

Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:00 GMT By Alex Donaldson

A new book by creator of the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment and retired Stanford University professor Dr. Phillip Zimbardo cites addiction to video games and pornography as the cause of what he calls the “demise” of young men.

The book, titled “The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It,” puts forward arguments from Zimbardo and his assistant Nikita Duncan on why “arousal addiction” – to things such as games and internet pornography – has damaged the youth of modern America.

While gamblers, alcoholics and drug addicts crave more of their addiction in higher quantities to maintain their buzz, ‘arousal’ addicts are addicted instead to novelty, they argue. In this type of addiction the addict consistently craves new experiences rather than the familiar.

The book claims that these addictions are creating a generation of young men that are unable or unwilling to deal with realities of life including relationships, schooling and work.

“There’s a general overuse of video games and porn – especially in social isolation – which is not balanced out by other activities like exercise, face-to face socialization with peers, or individual time with any kind of male mentor,” Nikita Duncan explained in a TED interview.

The book backs up its claims by making use of dark moments in gaming’s representation in the mainstream press including the death of a Starcraft player who played for 50 solid hours and the recent mass murder by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway. Breivik revealed to police he was a World of Warcraft and Call of Duty player.

There’s more on this story – including a very timely stock picture of two guys using N64 controllers – over on CNN. Thanks, GamesIndustry.

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