Regarding the Controversy Over Monday's APA Study & Game Violence Article

September 23, 2006 -
On Monday of this week, GP carried an item, No "Direct Causal Link" Between Games & Violence in APA Report.

It sparked a bit of controversy. It was suggested in certain quarters that GP ignored the views of Dr. Brad Bushman (left) of the University of Michigan, a member of the APA committee which issued the August, 2005 resolution.

That's not at all correct. In raising a particular question we turned to the two listed contacts for the APA study, Dr.Elizabeth Carll, committee co-chair and Dr. Dorothy Singer of Yale. There were a total of six committee members involved in the report. Dr. Bushman was among them. Not feeling the need to contact all six, we went to the two that the committee itself suggested.

The question Monday's GP article raised was, in retrospect, perhaps too narrow. But a very damning - and very narrow - interpretation of the APA study has been bandied about in recent times. GP wanted to pin the assertion down and see if it was accurate. We've heard it said or seen it written (and not by Dr. Bushman, by the way) that, "The American Psychological Association last year found a direct causal link between violent video games and teen violence." (emphasis GP's)

While the APA study was indeed very critical in regard to game violence (as we dutifully reported last August), that particular sentence seems to draw a straight line between violent games and real-life violence in the same way that a straight line is drawn between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer. However, as GP - admittedly, a layman - interpreted it, the APA report just didn't seem to say that there was a "direct causal link." In fact, searching the APA resolution, that term does not appear anywhere. Nor do the words "causal" or "causation."

But we're not afraid of industry-critical views here, and we like to think we present the news as factually as possible. To that end, we did indeed reach out for Dr. Bushman for a clarification. He in turn advised GP that he was working out a response between himself and Drs. Carll and Singer. Dr. Carll was kind enough to send that response along on Thursday night. GP promised to reprint it verbatim. Here it is:

"Brad Bushman forwarded to both myself and Dr. Singer the comments you sent to him regarding the content of the APA Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media. I also forwarded to Dr. Bushman your original email to Dorothy Singer and myself, which is below."

"To clarify, the APA Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media stated that there was an increase in aggressive behavior as a result of playing violent video games. The Resolution did not state that there was a direct causal link to an increase in teen violence as a result of playing video games, rather an increase in aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, and a decrease in helpful behavior as a result of playing violent video games." (emphasis GP's)

"The statement in your email of 9/19/06 to Dorothy Singer and myself refers to "teen violence" as opposed to aggressive behavior, which is why Dorothy Singer and I responded as we did. While violence is an extreme form of aggression, the body of research of which the resolution speaks is about aggression."

(GP: Yes, "teen violence" was the specific issue asked about, because that's the specific assertion which has been made in certain quarters. And Drs. Singer and Carll are in agreement on their answer, which was accurately reported in Monday's article.)

"In the interest of accuracy for future articles, it would be helpful to state that the APA Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media reported an increase in aggressive behavior as a result of playing video games, rather than only reporting that there was no causal link to teen violence. Reporting that there was no causal link to teen violence without reporting that there was an increase in aggressive behavior, as a result of playing violent video games, may be misleading to the reader."

(GP: Point taken, Dr. Carll, although reading Monday's article clearly shows no intent to mislead. While not outlining the specifics of the aggression angle, GP did note, "The 2005 study was quite critical of interactive violence... Violence in video games appear to have similar negative effects as viewing violence on TV, but may be more harmful because of the interactive nature of video games." Monday's article also linked to the full APA resolution for those readers who wished to learn more about the APA's findings.)

Dr. Carll continues:

"The specific paragraph in the APA Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media states: 'WHEREAS comprehensive analysis of violent interactive video game research suggests such exposure a.) increases aggressive behavior, b.) increases aggressive thoughts, c.) increases angry feelings, d.) decreases helpful behavior, and, e.) increases physiological arousal'"

"Hopefully this has helped clarify an important distinction. Thank you for your interest."

And GP thanks Drs. Carll, Singer and Bushman for investing their time in clarifying this issue.

Bottom line? GP stands by Monday's article.

Comments

hello,
i am a sophmore at mercy cross and i wam doing a resirch paper. it is abouyt video game violence and after reading your articale i was wondering if maby i could interview you. please email me back at tvelez1@yahoo.com
 
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Should ‘sexism’ factor into a video game’s rating?:

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Andrew EisenNo but it is defaulting to a very low volume. Not muted though.11/20/2014 - 10:14pm
MaskedPixelanteIs anyone else experiencing this weird Youtube glitch where, no matter what you had the volume set at last time, it defaults to muted no matter what?11/20/2014 - 10:07pm
MechaTama31What was wrong with Remember Me? I liked that one... >.>11/20/2014 - 8:50pm
AvalongodI tend to see the violence and sexism issues as different. Historically we know that the violence issue is overblown. But sexism is real. Better representations of women in games WILL happen.11/20/2014 - 7:35pm
Andrew EisenAnd unless I completely missed it, there's nothing in there about "how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta look deep for it."11/20/2014 - 5:10pm
Andrew EisenSeriously, you're upset, irked and fearful over an opinion piece that suggests the Pokemon demo would be better with more options and a better-written female character? SERIOUSLY?!11/20/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://gamasutra.com/blogs/PugetAlain/20141118/230420/Nearly_Ripped_off_to_death_by_a_publisher__Get_better_by_yourself_and_wait_for_justice_Maybe.php Topware screws over an indie studio because they can.11/20/2014 - 5:01pm
Andrew EisenAre you SURE you provided the right link?11/20/2014 - 4:59pm
prh99And yeah that sucks, especially when bonuses are tied to it, but that is more a problem with crappy publisher policies and scoring in general than any discussion on what may or may no be sexism in games.11/20/2014 - 4:59pm
prh99But no one is on their legislative high horse or on the litigation war path, for that matter. The biggest effect is that a reviewer might give it a lower score and drag down their meta critic ranking.11/20/2014 - 4:56pm
Wonderkarpyup11/20/2014 - 4:51pm
Andrew EisenOh for crying out loud. Wonderkarp, I apologize for how rude this question is but seriously, did you actually read that article?11/20/2014 - 4:47pm
Wonderkarpits a stigma. people in power hear this crap and start getting on their legislative high horse. but I feel like we've already paid too much attention too a demo.11/20/2014 - 4:46pm
Andrew EisenHarm gaming how?11/20/2014 - 4:35pm
Wonderkarpcause it gets parroted around and is used by people to harm gaming like Jack Thompsons did with Violence. http://www.themarysue.com/pokemon-oras-sexism/ here's the article.11/20/2014 - 4:28pm
Andrew EisenNo idea why such an opinion would upset or irk you so I'd be interested in reading it. Got a link?11/20/2014 - 4:13pm
Wonderkarplook deep for it....reaching much. those kinds of people are what urk me.11/20/2014 - 4:07pm
WonderkarpI got upset the other day when a known feminist blog wrote a large article on how the demo to Pokemon Omega Ruby was Sexist cause you couldnt play as a girl. It was a Demo....who cares? but they went off on how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta11/20/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenHere's the panel that Sarkeesian quote from earlier comes from. Amazing what the proper context does, isn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0qxtKz2vZw11/20/2014 - 3:32pm
NeenekoSomething to keep in mind, we tend to look at physics as 'hard', but math and physics are trivial compared to soc/psych (I have worked in both), but FEELS like it should be simplier.11/20/2014 - 3:17pm
 

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