Admins> feel free to move this to other place if some other place is more proper, i was thinking of popular media or design at first, but ended here.
Since this is going to be long expanation, im going to bring up your appetite first.
I just read something very interesting concerning also game development from book "Influence - the Psychology of Persuasion"
There is very strange correlation in statistics. For did you know that when ever a suidide is reported in media, car and plane accidents increase?
And even more bizarre, if reported suicide was suicide-murder, then accidents that include more than one person increase.
So single suicide increases only traffic and plane accidents where only one person is involved while Suicide-murder cases increase traffic and plane accidents where cars for example hit each other.
And this thing has a lot to do with gaming (although not mentioned in the book).
I have for long time been wondering about how much effect do mobies and games and so on actually have on us. And i have realised some glimpses from here and there.
Things like that i actually have much better idea what America looked like 100 years ago, than i have about what my own country Finland looked like. If you ask how people in US 100 years ago dressed, i do have some idea, but i really dont know much about how Finns dressed at that same time.
This is naturally because of so many movies showing me US 100 years ago.
But how far this actually goes i had never before understood until i have been reading this book. For seems it goes very very far.
To explain you the Suicide and traffic correlation, i will first need to explain the basis of Social Behavior.
I think it was 1956 that there was this murder in New York where about 26 year old woman was being killed by a man while her neighbors watched it.
What made this even more horrible was, that it actually took the killer almost 30 minutes to kill the victim, and the attacker actually fled from the scene 2 times when he saw neighbors houses lights turn up. But he returned everytime.
Woman had scremed for help, but all, close to 40 neighbors had just kept watching her being killed.
When some newspaper reported about this, there came a lot of talks about how urban life have made people cold and so on. But as Social Behavior psychologists studied this thing better, they noticed it was not due to increased apathy and coldness in cities, but it was because of humans social behavior.
For thing is, when we encounter some new situation in which we dont know how to react to, we tend to look otehers for how they react to figure out what to do.
Hence these neighbors came to watch what waas happening, kept looking at each otheer what to do, if situation is serious or not, if they should call polive or not, and as everyone were just looking at each other, it resulted in no one doing anything, everyone supposing it would be someone elses job to do something.
They actually made several fake accidents and all to see this effect in pracitce, and one of the funny things was, that if there was only one person coming to the accident place, there was 90 percent chance they would help the victim, while if there were three people arriving to the fake accident scene, only on bit over 1/3rd of the cases, the victim was helped.
if those three people all knew each other, then the chances of victim being helped increased again.
And if two of these three people were researches acting passive, there was only 10 percent chance for the only real guy to actually help the victim.
BY the way, as a side notice, in the book was instructions on how to have best chance of getting help in case you are the victim. Especially if big crowd fathers around you, theres a high risk that no one will help you. Instructions were to take some specific guy from the crowd, look him in the eyes, and then say him for example "You, guy in the blue shirt, go call the police" Then you can turn to next guy "You, woman in yellow shirt, come help us out of this car".
Keep that in mind. It might save your life one day.
All in all. People are not any colder in city necessary, but city by nature happens to have all the stuff reguired to make it more unlikely for you to be helped.
First of all, there are lots of people around all the time. So it is more likely that more than one people see you when you become victimsed, making them look in to each other for what to do and ehence passive.
Secondly, Only rarely do people in city know each other, making it less likely to be helped.
Thirdly, all the stuff in city make it hard to figure out what sitauation is real and what is not. Like is the guy leaning to tree sleeping, drunk or having a heart attack?
Anyway. This was the basis on how much people actually look towards each other on finding out what is the correct behavior on certain situations. Most times that is very working way. Take for example Funerals or weddings, i guess pretty much all of us have been on those stiattuions and know how you look for others to find out how to behave right now.
However, more similar the person showing the right behavior is to us, the more likely we are to take his example.
As example is that if you show some old guy doing things for kids, the kids might not react to it at all. But then they did this study where they took some shy i htink it was 8 year old kids who werent joining others to play at school breaks and they showed them a 20 minute video where there was same aged kid joining playing games with other kids during break hour and showing how all the kids became much happier because that one kid joined their games too.
They showed this 20 minute video only once.
And result was that all these kids started joining the games during breaks and not only that, but year later, they were more active on playing with other kids than the rest of the kids.
And now we get to the suicide part.
Whenever suicide is publicied on Media, For next 3 months, suicide rate goes up.
And not only that, but also traffic accidents pop up.
And if its suicide only, then its single traffics, like car hitting tree or single driven plane crashing.
And if its suicide-murder, then crashes including more than one vehicles increase, including commercial airlines accidents, but traffic accidents including only single driver dont increase then.
For years they wondered this phenomenom, until one guy came up with believable explanation.
The explanation is called i think it was Werthers hypothesis (taking from memory). Thing is, Goethe wrote a book in 1800. It was fictional story, but what was remarkable in the books story was, that the main character committed sucide in the end of the book.
When this book was published, it increased suicide rates in all the countries where it was published so much that some coutnries actually forbid the book completely.
Thing is. When people see suicide storied in media, and bigger and louder it is publiced, more suicides it generates. The thing is, some people see someone made a suicide, and they figure out that is acceptable behavior for their sitauation, and they follow the example.
What is more interesting in this, is that if the guy who committed suicide was young person, then only young people commit suicides after that. If guy committing suicide was old, then only old people commit suicides at increased rate after that.
And what is more drastic in this is the explanation to traffic accidents (including the commercial flights).
For if someone committed suicide, then those accidents arent accidents, but they were faked accidents that were actually suicides.
And most horrifying thing is, that if someone did suicide-murder, those who seek to just commit suicide dont do anything, but only the ones who think of committing suicide, regardless of others die too.
So when sucide-murder is reported, some commercial airplane might get "accident" since there is someone flying who doesnt care if other people get hurt while he commits hes own suicide.
And now we get to the main part.
For what they also realised was, that Suicide didint need to be story of a real suicide, but it was enough if there was a movie where suicide was protrayed. That people accept right social behavior even through movies.
And even when there were discussion programs shown on TV thats whole point was to REDUCE suicides, the result was opposite. People committed more suicides after programs like this.
Now this increases very interesting question. If movies, books, and news stories have this effect, then doesnt games too?
And this gets us to interesting question, that concerns especially Mack who have made a game where suicide is in center of the story (i havent unfortuatnely got to play it yet, so cant comment any better).
For how can Suicide be dealt, or can it be dealt at all? For it appears that at least the talk shows that tried to reduce amount of suicides completely fgailed by actually increasing it.
Does the games do the same? And what about the benefit of that talk show, did it maybe at same time however reduce suicides too? Maybe someone didnt commmit suuicide due to that, although statistics wouldnt show it.
So as to my understanding Mack have got some good reports back from his game, but did someone kill himself because of playing it too?
And is it possible to talk about suicide through game at all, or does it always mean increased rate of suicides?
Im hoping to comment more on this after i have completed Macks game first hopefully during january.
And this also brings the question of how much do things like Grand Theft Auto and all effect our understanding of correct behavior? Do some of the players go and steal cars and shoot people because they are playing Grand Theft Auto?
For these studies would definetily suggest that.