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Video Game Violence Revisited

Posted on Friday, March 16 @ 21:25:36 Eastern by Duke_Ferris
More researchers evaluating the link between violence and video games are coming to the conclusion that the evidence is scanty and conflicting at best. The latest is Dr. Christopher Ferguson, a Ph.D researcher at Texas A&M International University’s Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences and Criminal Justice. Damn that's a long name for a school.

It's been two years now since I first started debunking the false claim that violent video games lead to real world violence, and it's nice to see unbiased professionals confirming the truth. Dr. Ferguson did a "meta analysis" of the 25 or so recent studies and concludes that “there is little evidence from the current body of literature that playing violent videogames is either causally or correlationally associated with increases in aggressive behavior.”

That's funny, because anti-video game activist, and bad scientist Dr. Craig Anderson claims to have found the opposite in his own meta-analysis. Perhaps that's because when Dr. Anderson testified in court in the E.S.A. vs. the State of Illinois, judge Matthew Kennelly ruled that  "Dr. Anderson not only had failed to cite any peer-reviewed studies that had shown a definitive causal link between violent video game play and aggression, but had also ignored research that reached conflicting conclusions." Oh, you mean research like this and this and this? Oops, he must have missed those.

Dr. Karen Sternheimer has also published an article recently in the scholarly journal Contexts how video games are simply the most recent "folk devil" that society can blame for all its unexplainable ills. In the past, they've tried to blame cars, radio, rock and roll, comic books and other things that must be the cause of crime, and not your crazy-ass teenager, right?

I recently debated a colleague of Dr. Anderson's, Dr. Brad Bushman from the University of Michigan on The Debate Hour. You can get the full MP3 here. Warning: It's a full hour and it's not always super-exciting. Although I had plenty of ammo, these new citations would have been welcome as well.

Credit where credit is due, I love Dr. Bushman's latest study, When God Sanctions Killing, where he "proves" that violent passages from the Bible increase aggression just like video games. Or at least make you pump up the volume. Now there's something we definitely would be better off keeping away from kids.



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