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

Thursday, 24th 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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25 Comments

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  1. GrimRita

    If it wasnt for games,porn and the renowned social scientist – Hugh Hefner, lots of women would still be using batteries for entertainment!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Daodan

    Zimbardo is a very renowned psychologist, so I’m immediately inclined to say he has a point. Can’t really tell from this excerpt though. In any case, he’s not scoring any points by backing up his claims with school shootouts and other Breivik cases >_>

    #2 2 years ago
  3. OrbitMonkey

    Too much porn gave me unrealistic attitudes as to how real women act in the bedroom… Much the same way that Disney teaches girls that Prince Charming is actually out there…

    His not. He’s at home masturbating over World of Warcraft Elf Porn.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Stardog

    If it wasn’t for games/porn, this guy wouldn’t have a book.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Yoshi

    If he wasn’t blaming games/porn he would be blaming movies, if he wasn’t blaming movies he’d be blaming tv, if he wasn’t blaming tv he’d be blaming music, bla bla fucking bla.

    Thank you for posting this and kinda ruining my morning :/ I fucking hate bullshit people like this.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. endgame

    First of all women around here don’t even look at poor guys, no matter how good they look or how funny they are. If they don’t have money they don’t get p***y. It is that simple! So why bother with these women!?

    Second. Porn is awesome! It taught me and quite a few other friends how to f**k. Seriously! Women love guys with experience and who also like to try new things whether they know it or not. Guys who have never looked at porn are douchebags. I know a few.

    3rd. Games are also awesome! Even if they might create addiction it’s better to be addicted to games then drink, smoker or drugs.

    So f**k you very much Mr. Stanford University psychologist but you don’t know s**t about life. Not until you’ve experienced it.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Da Man

    ^Wow, so obv you are unfunny, unwitty AND poor (although clearly a very horny perv?).

    After reading all these comments, I’m inclined to wholeheartedly agree with that guy.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Telepathic.Geometry

    My first reaction when I was reading this piece was that there might be something to it, and then this supposedly serious scientist started trotting out the truly exceptional cases, and my faith in his method vanished. I wish a serious scientist with no bias and no agenda of selling a book would investigate this kinda thing, as videogames are getting mainstream enough as to to warrant this kind of scientific investigation.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. G1GAHURTZ

    @7:

    +1

    #9 2 years ago
  10. YoungZer0

    … but what about Porn-Games? D:

    #10 2 years ago
  11. silkvg247

    I guess he missed the boat on social gaming then. I know plenty of happy couples who met that way.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Old MacDonald

    Urgh, I’d like to comment on this but I can’t be arsed. Need to play some porn game or other to get my daily high.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Fnoros

    WHAT?! YOUNG ADULT PRIMATES COURSING WITH TESTOSTERONE PREFER EXCITEMENT OVER BOREDOM?!?!?! WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED?!?!

    but seriously, human brains are pretty much the same as when we still lived in caves and hunted mammoths with spears. Office work and schooling are not in our nature. People like these psychologists just want to make being dissatisfied with or having trouble adapting to modern society a mental illness.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. lexph3re

    By reading a lot of these non-critical thought post. It’s kinda easy to see the guy being onto something. You tend to see a person who is over indulging in something and has an addiction fight back at harmless observations.

    In someways this guy is right, unfortunately it is hard to tell his overall agenda because he has selective arguments that are not canon to the topic.

    The one of the kid who played 50 hours of gaming and died is a good one. However, the one for the school shooting is a circumstantial observation. It’s like saying the thief only stole because a game encouraged him.

    If he would’ve used standards such as the couple a year or so back that sold their kids to support their mmo fix, that would have worked better.

    In the end their are tons of factors that lead us to do a lot of stupid things. A culmination as opposed to a direct source. Most of the time it has to deal with the lack of ethical and morale training rather than just video games and porn.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. OlderGamer

    Fnoros and Lex, I agree with you both.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Yoshi

    @14 By your premise of your first paragraph (yes I read your entire post), if I insult your mother and you insult me back then according to you… you’re addicted to your mother XD

    #16 2 years ago
  17. rynofallout

    I remember when a certain white rapper came out and they did the same thing. You can’t blame any form of art for a few stupid people that have no grasp on the difference between fantasy and reality.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. lexph3re

    @16 Yes that actually is the case only difference is the level of addiction and how you take it. Clearly if I feel compelled enough to retort back at a comment you make at my mother I have a connection to her that is strong and a sort of addiction. Some healthy addictions other… Southern style(I’m so sorry for generalizing southerners. This is a disclaimer to state not all southerns have an incestuous relationship with their mum XD) addictions O.O

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Ireland Michael

    I’m sorry, but the guys arguments make little to no sense.

    His biggest problem is that he’s using the bad minority as an argument for the majority. That’s not how science work. And where are the tests to back his theories up? It’s all circumstantial obverse actions.

    The man may be renowned in his field, but that doesn’t change the fact this in this instance this is little more than sensationalist bullshit.

    How exactly has “the guy” demised? Because young men are stupid, ignorant and misguided? Because I’m pretty sure that’s been the case for the entire history of mankind. It’s called “growing up”, and it takes time.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Stephany Nunneley

    Like I said yesterday regarding this: you can use statistics and psychology to “prove” anything.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. NeoSquall

    Where is the Mario-Ron Jeremy picture?

    Damnit CNN, why do we have to teach you everything?

    #21 2 years ago
  22. TMRNetShark

    This is the same guy who did the prison experiment and proved that people in position of power will abuse that power. Now he tries to claim that video games and porn are the downfall to men? Not all men play video games and the majority of men who play video games are NORMAL PEOPLE.

    There are some sadistic people out there who are masochists and want their sexual partners to strangle them. Does that not concern Mr. Phillip Zimbardo? Nope, cause that’s not interesting for a book topic.

    So to make a quick buck, the cunningly smart Phillip Zimbardo wrote a book about a hot button topic (addiction to video games/porn use in young men) so that all the uninformed parents would buy the book because video games are in the mainstream news.

    We are being trolled here people. He’s just making money by playing off of people’s fears. >.>

    #22 2 years ago
  23. ManuOtaku

    I think all the studies, especially psychology ones, are based on the consecuences and not the real causes, if people will go with porn, and games, to escape reality, which i do agree, or movies, music, drugs, etc, etc, is becuase the reality and/or the real world (society), behaves in a way that most people find it bad, the way that students treat other students (bully), and also the students that allow this treatment looking the other way aroung, the way corporations treat their workers, with the productivity as a main focus, without taking in consideration the human aspect of their workers, the lack of empathy in our society, the way the leaders of the world are only concern with keeping the control of the masses instead of the wealth being of the masses etc, etc, i can go all day long, but to sum things up all the things that are wrong with this world are the real causes for this, or at least you should study all this prior all forms of enterteinment available, in order to see a correlation, if you dont do it you are only taking a glimpse of the consecuences and not the real causes.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. DSB

    @19, 20 Pretty much everything I was going to say.

    I think it looks like an easy way to make money by spinning recent controversy, parent paranoia, and just general prejudice against gaming.

    If you want to prove something like this, you need cause and effect, and I think we all know he doesn’t have it. There are a million reasons why someone might withdraw into videogames and porn, the most obvious being mental illness that has nothing to do with either.

    It’s an easy way to get attention and line your pockets. I’m sure he’s going to be on Fox News for this.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. endgame

    LOL Neo!

    #25 2 years ago