Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

March 1, 2010 -

A pair of researchers with opposite takes on interpreting and analyzing research related to violence and videogames are once again engaged in the scrutinization of each other’s work.

The latest findings of Iowa State University’s Craig Anderson and his team are the subject of an article in the Washington Post. Unfortunately, actual details from the study are scarce in the Post article, other than the research led Anderson to attribute playing violent videogames to increases in “violent thinking, attitudes and behaviors among players.”

Fortunately, another source provides some insight into the research, which will appear in the March 2010 issue of the Psychological Bulletin. Anderson and his team analyzed 130 existing research reports, comprised of over 130,000 subjects, using meta-analytic procedures, which is described as “the statistical methods used to analyze and combine results from previous, related literature.”

The research concluded that:

…violent video game effects are significant in both Eastern and Western cultures, in males and females, and in all age groups.

Anderson, who indicated that this may be his last study on the subject, because of its “definitive findings” added:

From a public policy standpoint, it's time to get off the question of, 'Are there real and serious effects?' That's been answered and answered repeatedly. It's now time to move on to a more constructive question like, 'How do we make it easier for parents -- within the limits of culture, society and law -- to provide a healthier childhood for their kids?

Well, hold your horses there Dr. Anderson. Texas A&M International University researchers Christopher Ferguson and John Kilburn issued their own research paper challenging Anderson’s findings. The paper is entitled Much Ado About Nothing: The Misestimation and Overinterpretation of Violent Video Game. Effects in Eastern and Western Nations: Comment on Anderson et al.

The paper claims that Anderson’s study “included many studies that do not relate well to serious aggression, an apparently biased sample of unpublished studies, and a 'best practices' analysis that appears unreliable and does not consider the impact of unstandardized aggression measures on the inflation of effect size estimates.”

“One very basic piece of information” that Anderson’s research neglected to report, according to Ferguson and Kilburn, is “as VVGs [violent videogames] have become more popular in the United States and elsewhere, violent crime rates among youths and adults in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, and most other industrialized nations have plummeted to lows not seen since the 1960s.”

Ferguson and Kilburn offer the following summation:

Psychology, too often, has lost its ability to put the weak (if any) effects found for VVGs on aggression into a proper perspective. In doing so, it does more to misinform than inform public debates on this issue.

Just a note: Anderson’s study apparently used a Ferguson and Kilburn-authored analyses to contrast their own.


Thanks Adam!


Comments

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

From a public policy standpoint, it's time to get off the question of, 'Are there real and serious effects?' That's been answered and answered repeatedly. It's now time to move on to a more constructive question like, 'How do we make it easier for parents -- within the limits of culture, society and law -- to provide a healthier childhood for their kids?

Why? So you can come up w/another excuse and empty hypothoses to provide a healthier childhood for kids? Yeah, just to let you know, parents do differently and teach diff. to their kids. So I highly doubt it they will listen to you ramble on.

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

Meta-Analysis. An analysis of other researches and analysises. Great. Except it can falther pretty much at the same place normal researches do.

Do they chery-pick the results? Unless the initial selection of data include all researches since a certain date or all, then you might as well consider they do (initial pool of researches, we're gonna skim that)

Then do they remove those that have been openly discredited? Those that were not double-blinded? Those that were not randomized? Those that have too small a number of experiences? Those that had a bad methodology?

Once all of those are skimmed, what's left you can use. Somehow I doubt they'll be many.

And then, are the result statically signifiant? Above the error margin? Have they been verified by at least another team and has the analysis been published oplenly to the community?

Somehow...

Re: Videogame "Violence" Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

Maybe it's a good thing that Anderson is quitting his "research" into this debate, though his reasons for quitting is rather laughable considering that his so-called "definitive findings" were proven false by Ferguson.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra. Hell will stay frozen over for quite a while since the Saints won the Super Bowl.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: Videogame "Violence" Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

I *seriously* doubt he's quitting.  I'll believe it when I see it.

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

Exactly how do these types of researchers (or anyone) reconcile their "facts" with the fact youth crime declined every year since the original Playstation?  If their conclusion was true in any way, you could expect violent crime rates to rise as game useage rises...and yet the exact opposite is true. 

I also am waiting for one of those kooks to explain how there aren't riots during Quakecon, PAX, or EVO every year.  If games caused violence, would there not be riots every time large numbers of gamers came together to play?

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

Indeed, you NEVER hear of violence associated with groups of gamers, but almost always hear of fights errupting at sports events, up to and including full-scale riots during and after the game. If anything, gaming reduces violence, whereas sports INCREASE violence.

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

As widespread as video games are, if they really had a profound effect on children, wouldn't more be doing the crazy things associated with violent video games? Every time i explain this to someone like my grandma she always says i'm different from the other kids because i understand the difference between reality and pretend. But if i'm different, then every other kid would be out in the streets wreaking havoc...they're not, in fact i AM (was) like other kids, because i'm pretty sure the majority of us aren't doing anything significantly worse than non gaming kids.

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

In other words Anderson and his team cherry-picked the reports to analyze in order to support their pre-determined conclusion, all for the sake of getting published in what will doubtless be some trashy low-standard science rag.

Sounds about par for Iowa State University then.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

I agree w/you on this. It will be trashy & he just moving on from the subject b/c he doesn't have anything legit to say anymore about violent video games. He doesn't want to give in to the fact that games are NOT that violent, but only if there is a mental unstable person playing the violent video game. Then it would be an issue.

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

Sadly they may still get published in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal. It's not uncommon for a study that should never have passed the process to get published in big-name journals that have a good reputation.

Re: Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently)

Both papers (Anderson's and Ferguson's) were published in Psychological Bulletin which is a high-ranked psych journal.

But yes, it is very common for poorly designed studies to get into top journals, particularly when they "toe the party line".  Unfortunately researchers who work together in a particularly field commonly review each others work and let mutual flaws pass...typical "groupthink"

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