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1:11pm on Saturday, 1st February, 2014:

Correlation and Causality


Hmm, it's been known for a while that the proportion of people playing immersive computer games who are non-religious is higher than the proportion in the general population. Researchers believed that this was because atheists and the like were more attracted to virtual worlds than believers.

It turns out that they got the causality the wrong way round. Playing immersive computer games makes you less likely to believe in a force beyond the physical world.

OK, so the research is as flawed as any other psychological study into computer games (it measures the effect after half an hour of playing Uru: Ages beyond the Myst) and it doesn't find the same effect in textual worlds (that is, Zork). Personally, I believe that any form of learning that involves free thinking will tend to reduce your belief in religion, but hey, it's a start.

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).