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RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics, Religion & other Controversies » Playing videogames at 20-years-old is 'not normal'

Default Playing videogames at 20-years-old is 'not normal'

June 16th, 2012, 20:36
According to a psychiatrist in the trial of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, if you're over the age of 20 and you have played a videogame on your own, you're abnormal. This was said during Breivik's trial, where the court is wasting time in trying to find out whether World of Warcraft, of all things, inspired him to go on a political murder spree.
"We feel that playing a lot of computer games gives the impression of a working cognitive function," said Synne Srheim. "It is however, something completely different to relate to something in real life, have committed relationships to other people, arrange meetings, go to work in the morning, have a healthy relationship with a girlfriend, or having common social skills. I would still like to point out that sitting alone in your room and playing games, no matter what the scope of the matter, call it addiction or whatnot, is not normal for a man in his 20's.
Then at the end he finishes with this-
"… We have no form of expertise when it comes to computer games."
There you have more experts giving there opinions without any knowledge. Is it not enough to just say the man went nuts and killed someone? Why must people other than the criminals perpetrating the crime be blamed all the time? Very well them most of us here are abnormal then.

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June 16th, 2012, 20:51
I think if you replace "playing games" with "reading psychiatric textbooks" in that quote then its pretty much correct.
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June 16th, 2012, 21:31
I could agree with you if that's what she said. But it's not. This is what she said (in Norwegian)

"Jeg vil understreke at det isolere seg p et rom og spille dataspill, uansett hva man kaller det, ikke er det samme som ha en vanlig funksjon for en mann midt i 20-rene"

The underlined text is what's important, which translates "to isolate oneself in a room playing computer games", which is very different from "sitting alone in your room playing games". She said this in response to a question about whether he could be addicted to gaming. It's one tiny part of a whole day spent answeriing questions from several lawyers in court.

The context is that he had moved back to his mother, stopped working, spent a whole year in isolation, seeing nobody, not even his mother, and playing games a lot. They see this as one part among several others, of a downward spiral compatible with a developing schizophrenia. Furthermore, they haven't been particularly concerned about his gaming per se, their main interest has been trying to understand what's been going on in his mind, and in this respect the important issue was him isolating himself.

So, actually, it was not about the danger of computer gaming, and in particular not about wow being a cause of his actions.

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June 16th, 2012, 21:39
so the last bit is a qualifier? he's trying to make clear he's not blaming video games?

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June 16th, 2012, 21:45
The last bit means that she (Synne Srheim is female) wasn't particularly interested in his gaming per se. In fact quite a lot of the questions they got that day was about why they hadn't payed more attention to ideology, to politics, to terrorism in general and what not. They replied again and again that they were psychiatrists, and had concentrated their work on the things they knew as professionals, and would not go beyond that.

They have been critisised for being too narrow-minded, that they should have considered these other things when evaluating the symptoms. I share some of those cristisizms, although I'm no pshychiatrist (However, psychiatry was one of the subjects where I got a top score back in med school. Which doesn't mean a thing, except giving me an opportunity to brag. *cough, cough*)

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Last edited by pibbur who; June 16th, 2012 at 22:03.
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June 18th, 2012, 00:19
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
I think if you replace "playing games" with "reading psychiatric textbooks" in that quote then its pretty much correct.
IMHO, this is one of the most intelligent statements I have read in years!!

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June 18th, 2012, 17:06
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
IMHO, this is one of the most intelligent statements I have read in years!!
Well, I'll repeat that the quote starting the thread is inaccurately translated, and taken out of context. They do not in their report consider gaming per se abnormal and they don't blame his actions on gaming.

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June 19th, 2012, 10:06
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
I think if you replace "playing games" with "reading psychiatric textbooks" in that quote then its pretty much correct.
I doubt you would find stuff like this in psychiatric textbooks. In fact, whatever empirical data there is to games (like statistics) refutes his comment.

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June 19th, 2012, 12:09
Originally Posted by pibbur who View Post
The context is that he had moved back to his mother, stopped working, spent a whole year in isolation, seeing nobody, not even his mother, and playing games a lot. They see this as one part among several others, of a downward spiral compatible with a developing schizophrenia.
A psychologist said to me a few months ago that "there exist scientific studies that people in closed rooms come to very, very stupid decisions". He meant Sociophobia with this remark, but in our talk we agreed that this could be true for "closed rooms" political commissions as well. "New ideas only come in from the outside", we agreed to.

Sorr for the grammar, but I don't know right now how to put it into a better wording.

So, isolating one self too much can imho indeed cause "psychological problems".
And no doubt this can be used as a technique in prisons to get people into doing what the overseers and the torturers want, too.

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June 25th, 2012, 15:21
Reminds me of an article I read years ago by some femi-nazi about 'Where are all the real men?' She didn't seem to have a problem with women enjoying their own pursuits like romance novels or mani/pedis but men playing video games as adults was a sign of 'emotional immaturity.' Disgusting.

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June 26th, 2012, 07:53
What is a real man these days? I'm up to my elbows in domestic duties that were traditionally "woman's business" - as I should be - but who's holding the door open for me? No-one, that's who.

The media love this 'computer games make people killers' nonsense, so I'm not surprised that it was translated incorrectly and taken out of context. It doesn't matter what this freak was doing in his room alone for a year - he could have been doing yogo and eating soy products - the point is that he was stewing in his crazy juices and working himself up to an act of madness.
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June 29th, 2012, 12:19
Breivik more or less locked himself away from society for years to do nothing but play games. That just can't be healthy.

However, those years were what he called a "gift to himself" before he was to become a martyr, so he was already a loon before his time as a crazy gamer.
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June 29th, 2012, 12:34
The Breivik case is so extreme that we're bound to have to listen to all kinds of uninformed bullshit by "experts" trying to guess what went wrong.

My opinion - though not an "expert" - is that isolation is a symptom, not the cause. Basically, it's a pretty worthless piece of the puzzle of why he did what he did.
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June 29th, 2012, 13:35
You're right, it is a symptom. The first pair of psychiatrists who evaluated him saw it as a syign of schizophraenia, which may be correct. However, a schizophraenia diagnosis requires more than that, and most critics say that there are too many signs speaking against (correct English?) the big S.

Personally, closer than you perhaps, but still very far from being an expert, I think he's not psychotic. But still a very sick man, narsisistic and what we used to call a psychopath which does not make him insane and as such he can be sentenced to prison, probably in the form of "forvaring" (custody), which may keep him incarcerated for an unspecified time, even the rest of his life. Depending on how long he's considered dangerous.

The prosecutors asked for him being considerd criminally insane and commited to s psychiatric secure unit. They said they could not be certain of his sanity, and therefore by law had to go for an insanity sentence (they have to prove he is sane, it's not the other way around). But they expressed serious doubts, and more or less left it to the judge.

Breivik himself wants to be considered sane and sentenced to jail, if not he'll appeal. A bit unusual, but it has happened before.

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June 29th, 2012, 15:09
Originally Posted by pibbur who View Post
You're right, it is a symptom. The first pair of psychiatrists who evaluated him saw it as a syign of schizophraenia, which may be correct. However, a schizophraenia diagnosis requires more than that, and most critics say that there are too many signs speaking against (correct English?) the big S.
Going from isolation to schizophrenia is quite a leap, that's for sure

Personally, closer than you perhaps, but still very far from being an expert, I think he's not psychotic. But still a very sick man, narsisistic and what we used to call a psychopath which does not make him insane and as such he can be sentenced to prison, probably in the form of "forvaring" (custody), which may keep him incarcerated for an unspecified time, even the rest of his life. Depending on how long he's considered dangerous.
I agree with that assessment. He's clearly not big on empathy - and he's also overly fond of his own character. I wouldn't rule out some kind of psychotic episode triggering some of his decisions, as it seems too extreme for a person with a good grasp on reality. It strikes me as some kind of paranoid delusion - and that's not uncommon in a schizophrenic.

But we're dealing with a very rare case, and it's not impossible to imagine there's something in his character that we've yet to really understand.

Indeed, I wouldn't pin much hope on the experts of modern psychology.
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June 29th, 2012, 15:49
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Going from isolation to schizophrenia is quite a leap, that's for sure
It wasn't the only symptom they found, of course. But the critics interprete some of these signs differently, and claim that other "features" exclude schizophrenia.
I agree with that assessment. He's clearly not big on empathy - and he's also overly fond of his own character. I wouldn't rule out some kind of psychotic episode triggering some of his decisions, as it seems too extreme for a person with a good grasp on reality. It strikes me as some kind of paranoid delusion - and that's not uncommon in a schizophrenic.
You're quite right. If it is a schizophrenia, then it's a paranoid schizophrenia. Another possibility, suggested by some is a paranoid psychosis, a delusional syndrome without schizophrenia. But most psychiatrist/psychologists/psychiatric nurses that have observed him thinks he's not psychotic at all.
But we're dealing with a very rare case, and it's not impossible to imagine there's something in his character that we've yet to really understand.
Agreed.
Indeed, I wouldn't pin much hope on the experts of modern psychology.
Can't say I share the sceptisism, but as you know, I'm somewhat gullible.

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June 29th, 2012, 16:11
Can't say I share the sceptisism, but as you know, I'm somewhat gullible.
You just like to sell yourself short, genuinely or for effect

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June 29th, 2012, 16:17
I find someone who vegetates in front of a television for hours every night abnormal, compared to someone who plays videogames.
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July 3rd, 2012, 21:33
So true. But one can watch "news" shows all day and be considered by the majority to be more connected to the "real" world. Brainwashing is now considered normal.
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July 4th, 2012, 11:45
My gf bugs me about playing games every now and then. She thinks its not part of relationship (its like she alone has power to decide) and I should watch tv instead etc. Its the main cause why we argue sometimes. Theres nothing worse than someone pressuring me to become reality-tv vegetable and giving up gaming on my freetime.

Its okay if we play littlebigplanet together or if she plays farm frenzy with ipad (games she likes) but god forgives if I try to play left2dead2 or something else I like by myself.

I play very little nowadays. Max 2 hours on perhaps 2-3 evenings per week. She thinks that even that is too much. She play farm frenzy and other games far more on ipad. Im not giving up one inch on the issue no matter how much she tries to change me.

Women, can't live with them, can't live without them. Blah. Perhaps i should pressure her to stop watching reality-tv. I think its unhealty and not part of relationship.

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