Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to Concentration Study

July 9, 2010 -

Remember that study from earlier this week which intimated that playing videogames and watching television were linked with attention problems in children? Texas A&M researcher Christopher J Ferguson and T. Atilla Ceranoglu, from Harvard Medical School, saw the research and responded with a scathing (for research anyway) rebuttal.

Ferguson, who has challenged the work of Iowa State University’s Craig Anderson before, and Ceranoglu, who uses games to assist in psychotherapy treatment, submitted their response—entitled Poor Measurement, Poor Controls and Spurious Results in Swing et al.—to Pediatrics, which also published the original research.

If you couldn’t tell from the title, the authors penned the response in order to “make readers aware of limitations and omissions in the methodology and conclusions of the Swing et al (2010) study of video games and attention.”

Ferguson and Ceranoglu offer four distinct weaknesses in the research in Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems:

1.  …the literature review overlooks a number of recent studies that contradict their views on the relationship between video games and aggression, as well as studies suggesting that video games are more likely to increase, not decrease, attention and cognition.

2.  …the authors puzzlingly failed to use any of the clinically well-validated measures of attention problems, such as the Child Behavior Checklist and the Conners Rating Scale. It’s also unclear why the authors relied solely on teacher reports, failing to include parent reports that arguably would be based on greater familiarity with the child, and again chose not to employ existing validated measures.

3.  …the authors make no attempt to control for other commonly measured relevant variables that may influence attention such as home environment, school quality, parent education, or poverty, genetic risk, etc. It is quite possible that any effects found are spurious, and would disappear in a better controlled study.

4.  ...all standardized regression coefficients for children in the study are less than .10. This indicates that the overlap in variance between media use and attention is less than 1%. Even taking these findings a face value, these are weak effect sizes without practical significance, effectively no different from zero.

The researchers concluded that the findings in the original study were “unable to support the weight that Swing et al. (2010) attempt to place on them, and give no cause for concern to clinicians, educators or parents.


Comments

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

I thought people with ADD and other disorders actually did fairly well with video games as opposed to movies and TV due to interacting with an ever changing medium that forced them to focus or fail and did it in way that most found enjoyable.

At least, I could have sworn that is what I remember reading/hearing somewhere. I might be totally wrong too.

"

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

Wait, what?

Man, how do these bad studies keep getting funding? In my case I was diagnosed with ADD years before I got into video games. We should be putting research into the underling biomechanical predispo- KITTY! =(^ ^)= Such a pretty cat!

Uh, yeah. Look for the biological predispositions first and then look into exacerbating environmental factors.

On a probably unrelated side-note: changing the channels alot doesn't mean the child has trouble concentrating, it means there is nothing good on TV. ;)

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

Bad studies get more funding because they ensure a "scientific" finding that supports the political agenda of however is paying for it.

Would you buy a candy bar if you were unsure the bar was actually in the wrapper? Likewise, who wants to pay for a study that says "I'm sorry, but your moral conclusions are bat-shit insane"?

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

' changing the channels alot doesn't mean the child has trouble concentrating, it means there is nothing good on TV. ;)'

This.  This, right here.  At least until NCIS is back on.

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With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

 This is why Science is awsome.  You get some jackasses that try and use it to fuel a political agenda, and then real scientists come in and beat the research to all hell.

"Science replaces private prejudice with publicly verifiable evidence." - Dawkins

And then there's this by Neil DeGrasse Tyson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYPgi1oUqXA

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

I think the fallout from East Anglia would dispute that, but what you post is the goal.

---

With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.
 
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InfophileOther features to become standard: The ability to remap controls however the hell I want. Quicksave at any time (especially for handheld and mobile games). Plus everything Andrew said07/03/2015 - 10:43am
InfophileRegion-freeing becomes tricky for games with a strong online component though, especially when the servers are run by different branches in different regions.07/03/2015 - 10:41am
InfophileI'm in favor of getting rid of region-locking for any purchased games. I can understand an exception for free, ad-supported games, as many ads are only relevant in certain regions, and it's a ridiculous hassle to get ads for all regions.07/03/2015 - 10:40am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/payday-2-has-been-broken-on-xbox-one-for-three-weeks-1715384186 Payday 2 Has Been Broken On Xbox One For Three Weeks07/03/2015 - 8:44am
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/3bxduw/why_was_riama_along_with_a_number_of_other_large/ here is a more complete acount of whats going on.07/03/2015 - 1:32am
Matthew Wilsonredit is on fire right now. most subreddits have been set to private.07/03/2015 - 1:24am
MattsworknameYou know andrew, those are actualy rock solid ideas, I woudl like those features a bunch ,especially with games that a cut scene heavly. looking at you kojima!07/03/2015 - 1:18am
Andrew EisenActually, "things I'd like to see become standard in video games" ain't a bad idea for one of my future YouTube videos.07/03/2015 - 1:05am
Andrew EisenYou know what I'd really like to see become standard? The ability to pause cutscenes. Rewind and skip (with "Are you sure?") would be nice too. Oh, and maybe display the duration of the cutscene when it's paused.07/03/2015 - 1:03am
Mattsworknameonly reason to do region locking now is to be dicks your consumer base. Granted, we see that ALOT these days07/03/2015 - 12:48am
MattsworknameI understand the concerns about the region locking thing, I just thing that if you buy a game legitimately, no matter where it's from or what langauge it's in, you should be allowed to play it. the argument about piracy was proven false years ago, the07/03/2015 - 12:47am
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.theverge.com/culture/2015/7/2/8888243/reddit-subreddits-private-after-ama-victoria-taylor-fired bad optics by Reddit.07/03/2015 - 12:33am
Goth_SkunkI'm in full agreement on the subtitles issue. I also believe that every game should come with a single-player component, and be playable without an internet connection. Except MMOs.07/02/2015 - 10:51pm
TechnogeekRegion locking bans seem like something that'll be very difficult to pass into law. I'm fully on board with the subtitle requirement, though.07/02/2015 - 10:00pm
MattsworknameFor example, all games with any for form of spoken dialoge should be i subtitled, and region locking in any form should be illegal07/02/2015 - 9:03pm
MattsworknameDoes anyone feel that there should be a set standard for all games in terms of certain basic features. Ie subtitles, region lock, etc07/02/2015 - 9:01pm
MattsworknameSo, now that the Article stuff is over, I want to bring up another subject07/02/2015 - 9:01pm
PHX Corphttps://trustygem.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/windows-10-insider-preview-phase-3/ My Thoughts on Windows 10 Insider Preview07/02/2015 - 6:17pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?t=18&v=CbGmrySQLIg looks like Inafune is giving capcom the middle finger.07/02/2015 - 5:05pm
TechnogeekUnfortunately, the shoutbox moves fast enough that I can't find why I got that impression, so if was indeed erroneous I do apologize.07/02/2015 - 4:34pm
 

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