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More precisely, why do some people see killing other players as the behavior of sociopaths and some people do not?
This article from the Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2515400/The-rise-machines-It-okay-torture-robot.html) talks about an experiment where people were given robotic pets, and once they became attached to them were asked to torture or kill the robots. Most of the people in the experiment would not do it. Now, these are robots. They don't feel pain and they aren't alive. Of course, the Daily Mail tries to sensationalize this and make it out like robots will kill us, or we'll cede power to cute robots or something. But that's not the point.
Here's what I think.
The people who refused to kill the robots weren't refusing to kill robots which aren't alive and cannot feel pain, they were refusing to kill the cute little pets in their heads, that did have feelings, would feel pain and because they were part of the people imagining them, alive. People who see killing other players in game as an act of a sociopath are seeing the other player's avatar, and then building the other player in their head. They are literally killing or hurting some aspect of themselves when they kill that avatar. People who do not see killing the other player in game as an act of a sociopath do not build that other player in their head. They are literally killing pixels.
Of course, this all has to be adjusted somewhat for situational parameters. Most people are not averse to killing other players in PvP battlegrounds. It's the whole "killing a lowbie" thing. But, I think it might apply.
Or not. :-)
What do you think?
One assumption we need to make here is that the people we're discussing are not sadists or sociopaths. They are all perfectly normal people who's behavior is only really different inside video games.
I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.