Despite our anxieties about them, video games are becoming an increasingly important part of the social fabric of society.
They are the defining artistic medium of the 21st Century, and whatever our feelings about them, we need to start taking them seriously and accept that it’s okay to look at them in a positive light. More than that, there is a growing body of evidence that points to video games being a positive force in society. Over the past twenty years, “violent” video game use has skyrocketed – but youth violence rates have dropped. Recent studies have shown that video game use fosters problem-solving skills, and has an impact on childhood learning and social skills.
Dr Pete Etchells is Reader in psychology and science communication at Bath Spa University. His research looks at the behavioural effects of playing video games. He writes regularly for the the Cosmic Shambles Network, and previous was the Guardian’s science blog network coordinator. His psychology blog Head Quarters was shortlisted for the Association of British Science Writers UK science blog award three times. He’s previously written for the Observer, Telegraph, WIRED, Discover magazine's science blog, the Nature Network, the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, and Scientific American's blog network, and he’s been a science consultant for BBC’s Horizon. He lives in Bristol with his wife, dog, two cats, and whatever local wildlife the cats happen to bring in each night.
Venue: Hatton Room. Free.