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Old 01-11-2013, 11:54 PM
Extra411 Extra411 is offline
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Is there any research on the effect of violent video games on people who are mentally ill?
I have been meaning to discuss the issue of the "mentally ill" in light of recent events.

The problem with it is that there's really no concrete standard for determining "mental illness". Psychology isn't a hard science, and I think most psychologists would agree that mental health should often be evaluated on an individual basis rather than by some kind of "formulaic" determination. We should also recognize just because someone is "bat sh** crazy" doesn't mean he/she's stupid. There's a somewhat well-known case of the infamous serial killer Edmund Kemper. One day he met with a panel of state psychiatrists as a follow up for his parole. Kemper, who was said to possess an IQ of around 140, did the act and told them what they wanted to hear, and this panel of TWO psychiatrists proceeded to declare him "normal and safe", and even sealed his juvenile records...all the while he had a severed head of one of his fresh victims right in the trunk of his car.

So what quantifies as "mentally ill"?
This is really not that clear cut. Going to back to using Edmund Kemper as an example - if you look at his background history and what he did, I think we can all probably agree that he was very mentally disturbed. In fact, he was diagnosed early as having paranoid schizophrenia. Yet he had full awareness of what he was doing, just like a lot of serial killers do, and he even had the mental capacity to trick trained psychiatrists into believing he was fine. The fact of the matter is "insanity" is an ambiguous and even somewhat mystical concept to most of us.
There have been cases where a serial killer's defense lawyers have attempted to argue the insanity plea based simply on the killer's actions. "He murdered 25 people, therefore he's obviously insane." It's plain to see this is circular logic. But where does one draw the line between "insanity" and "personal desire to do evil"?

I think a large amount of people who are "mentally ill" are not going to go out and harm people. Sure, in hindsight, a lot of those mass murderers have some kind of mental issues, but at the same time we can also observe that they are mostly white males. That information doesn't really do us that much good to PREVENT crime.

It might be beneficial to narrow down the characteristics some more. For example, perhaps we should be looking at people with mental illnesses that have exhibited violent tendencies/outbursts. But in this case, there's little point to studying the effects of violent video games on these people, as they are already predisposed to violence and require no additional encouragement.

Sorry this is getting a bit long winded and unfocused. I mainly want to convey that "mental illness" is an extremely complicated issue, because there are no clear definitions, no clear ways to detect them, and no clear ways to prevent crimes caused by them without some severe restrictions on liberty.
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