Violent video games as analyzed by general semantics (Griggers, 2009)


My reaction to the abstract

Camilla Griggers (California State University, Channel Islands) has published a weird paper about the use of general semantics, which is itself weird, in evaluating violent video games and how it lead Seung-Hui Cho to commit the Virginia Tech Massacre. I can’t get a hold of her paper, but just reading the abstract is enough to raise weird looks, like that one.


This article uses general semantics and somatics to evaluate the age-appropriate use of violent first-person shooter computer games. The paper argues that the natural development sequence for children and teens is from physiologic language to natural language, and from somatic-emotional patterning to higher level cognitive abstractions. Reversing this natural sequence can create psychotic breaks in which semantics become separated from somatic reality. References are made to Alfred Korzybski’s examples of semantic breakdowns in Science and sanity (1933) and to discussion of the role of mirror neurons in somatic-emotional development (Ramachandran and Oberman, Scientific American 295: 62–69, 2006). Seung-Hui Cho of the Virginia Tech shooting spree, who compulsively played computer games, is used as a case study.

According to the Virginia Tech Review Panel, Cho did not compulsively played computer games. He actually did not play any computer games. So, I wonder where her sources came from. I found a related website written by the same author and deals with the same topic as this academic article.

Griggers, C. B. (2009). The writing on the screen: A meditation on the Virginia Tech shooting spree: Age-appropriate use of violent first-person computer games. Semiotica, 177, 189-196.


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