Video game violence research has 'not been very well done'

An even-handed piece in the New York Times cites various experts in psychology, criminology, and economics who agree that studies connecting game violence to violent crime are inconclusive.

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Following the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT and a subsequent NRA conference that implicated video games as a major part of the problem, the national conversation has turned toward just how much media violence impacts young minds. According to some experts, the research is far too inconclusive.

"This is a pool of research that, so far, has not been very well done," Christopher J. Ferguson, associate professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M, told the New York Times. "I look at it and I can’t say what it means." Ferguson's own research has found no link.

Other researchers cited in the report agree, at least to an extent. Craig A. Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University, says that "violent media is one factor; it's not the largest factor, but it's also not the smallest." Meanwhile, Michael R. Ward, an economist at the University of Texas, has found that higher rates of violent game sales have coincided with a lower rate in violent crime, in communities with high concentrations of young people like college towns.

The studied consensus might be encouraging, but video games are also battling public opinion. A recent poll among Republican voters found that between guns and video games, 67% believe games are a bigger "safety threat." Only 14% believed guns are the larger threat.

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  • reply
    February 12, 2013 1:15 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Video game violence research has 'not been very well done'.

    An even-handed piece in the New York Times cites various experts in psychology, criminology, and economics who agree that studies connecting game violence to violent crime are inconclusive.

    • reply
      February 12, 2013 1:25 PM

      O rly what a shock.

      I did violence research on mice by forcing them to play GTA 4 for a month and only 1 tried to knife me why high on cheese so i proved drugs don`t kill people mice do.

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      February 12, 2013 2:29 PM

      I have to believe that the people who are polled for Republicans are 90 years old and yell obscenities at those newfangled contraptions... like TVs and Phones.

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        February 12, 2013 6:44 PM

        No, they're just crazy people who don't want their guns taken away.

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          February 12, 2013 10:37 PM

          and then there's Tipper "Parental Advisory" Gore, and Joe "Mortal Kombat" Liebermann...

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            February 12, 2013 11:25 PM

            I'd like to point out Nacy "Based God" Pelosi defended video games in congress pretty recently.

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      February 12, 2013 10:42 PM

      Consider these (*neutrality disputed) incidents, but remember, "The plural of anecdotes is not 'data' (Kathy B, Snopes.com)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_controversies#Publicized_incidents

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      February 12, 2013 10:46 PM

      I spent the last 30 years researching this and the result are that the findings are inconclusive. Thank you.

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      February 12, 2013 11:06 PM

      67% believe games are a bigger "safety threat." Only 14% believed guns are the larger threat.

      Why does it have to be either guns or games? There are so many more factors at play here.

      Like the fact that most of the school shooters in the past 10 years are on some form of prescribed psychotropic drug. You know, the drugs that are supposed to make you less depressed but end up increasing the likelihood of suicide.

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        February 13, 2013 1:11 AM

        The question(s) were probably not phrased like "out of video games and guns, which do you feel is the bigger threat to safety?"

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      February 13, 2013 12:03 AM

      America, reinforcing its own negative stereotypes over and over.

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      February 13, 2013 12:56 AM

      Yeah, it must be games that's the cause...not easy access to lethal weapons.

      What a crock of shit, I've played videogames since I was 6, so nigh on 20 years...everything from cutesy to ultraviolent, and I've never felt the need to go out and murder someone.

      Whoever keeps citing games as an issue needs to grow the fuck up.

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        February 13, 2013 7:12 AM

        I will be subject #2. Also 20+ years of video game experience and never even thrown a bunch at someone.

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      February 13, 2013 1:18 AM

      They usually go through an intermediary causal element, like decreased pro-social behavior. One of guys who writes a lot of this shit had this experiment where he'd push a graduate student down in front of a bunch of people getting out of a movie, and then time how long it took for them to respond. He found a difference measured in milliseconds and declared this evidence of violent media begetting violence.

      I once failed a social psych class because I refused to make this argument. I kept trying to cite the UCR to be like "look, violent crime has been steadily decreasing since the 1970's while violent media has been increasing" and was told "that's not social psychology."

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      February 13, 2013 1:58 AM

      What game is that on ss? look good ;)

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        February 13, 2013 2:00 AM

        Without having played it, I'd say Bulletstorm

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      February 13, 2013 4:47 AM

      Do you guys have links to those news articles blaming WoW and other non relevant games for those mass shootings?

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