Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

September 22, 2010 -

The research of Iowa State University psychology professors Craig Anderson (pictured, left) and Douglas Gentile (pictured, right), in addition to Rob West and ex-ISU professor Brad Bushman, makes up the bulk of the argument for the California side of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA in the amicus brief (PDF) filed by State Senator Leland Yee earlier this year.

Yee’s brief referenced nine studies from the ISU researchers, while Anderson, Gentile and Bushman also helped in authoring the brief’s Statement on Video Game Violence. Nevertheless, Gentile and Anderson, in an ISU press release trumpeting the pair's achievements, wanted to emphasize that while they contributed scientific “evidence,” they do not necessarily endorse the California law.

Gentile, who last month likened videogame addiction to the state of alcoholism 40 years ago, stated:

Scientific research can demonstrate that something can be either beneficial or harmful, but that does not immediately mean that the law should either require it or not require it of people.

The court is the expert on the law, but they're not scientific experts on this topic. Therefore, our responsibility is to help the court by providing our expert summary of the science so that the justices can use it as one part of the larger puzzle they will be examining.

Anderson added, “We do not allow our personal values and political beliefs to intrude upon our scientific expertise.”

In another statement, Anderson seemed to be preparing for a backlash from critics, saying:

Although there are a few individuals with some scientific credentials who claim that the research is inconclusive, virtually all reputable experts in this area agree that violent video games are one risk factor for aggression.

One such critic is Texas A&M International University researcher Christopher Ferguson, who has taken exception to the research of Anderson and Gentile on multiple occasions.

In an opposing brief submitted by eighty-two researchers (including Ferguson) just last week, the research of Anderson and Gentile (among others) was called “rife with methodological flaws,” and billed as “no help to California.”

Comments

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

These guys are a stain on my town of Ames, Iowa where ISU is located.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Saw these:

“We do not allow our personal values and political beliefs to intrude upon our scientific expertise.”

"Although there are a few individuals with some scientific credentials who claim that the research is inconclusive, virtually all reputable experts in this area agree that violent video games are one risk factor for aggression."

Couldn't help but feel horribly depressed by the amount of BS this guy is shoveling.  

Sorry to say, but your beliefs are the sole drivers of your studies.  You have a goal that you wish to prove, and you use scientifically tenuous methods to arrive at those predetermined conclusions.  You are not a scientist, but a wolf in sheep's clothing.  Downplaying the enormous critical backlash every single one of your studies causes does not change the fact.  Not a single one of your studies in this field stands up to scientific scrutiny.  Maybe once that does happen, you can legitimately say these things above.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Technically I don't think any human scientists can separate themselves from their values.  It's just the human condition.

But in my experience, those who go out of their way to tell you how objective they are are the least objective of all.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

If you go into an experiemtn with a goal already in mind then you are not doing science.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Hence my line:

"You are not a scientist, but a wolf in sheep's clothing."

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Having read the ISU press release, I think it's somewhat misleading to say that the University is "proud" of Anderson et al.'s research. Nowhere in my read did I find an endosrement by the Univeristy, express or implied, of that research.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Universities do not typically release press releases when they are ashamed of their professors.  I'd say a press release highlighting their role in the Supreme Court case constitutes an endoresement.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Which by your logic means that any university press release of which its professors are the subject should be taken as an endorsement.

Did you read the press release? If so, are you prepared to say that it's anything other than fair, balanced, and entirely neutral on the validity of the research? If so, please elaborate that position with something more meaningful than, "Well, they published it, didn't they?"

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Yes I have read the press release.  It talks at length about the 2 professors, their research which was cited by California and the Yee brief, and their contribution to the Yee brief.  It also gives them ample opportunity to comment on their views of the science and what a rejection by the Supreme Court would mean.

Nowhere do I see the press release discuss criticism of their work, nor does the press release mention the opposing scholarly brief signed by 82 scholars that just recently came out.  No comments from opposing scholars are included to contrast against their own.

So no, I don't think this is a "fair, balanced and entirely neutral" view...nor should it be.  The purpose of a university press release is generally to draw positive attention to the University and, in this case, to its scholars.

Although universities may sometimes have to release negative press releases to acknowledge controversies and scandals that are internal, generally a university press release indicates that the university is *excited* about the research in question and wants public attention drawn to them.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

You apparently missed the not insubstantial white space dedicated to the researchers themselves admitting the exisitence of scholarly criticism of their research findings. If the biased intent was to create a wholly positive impression of the University's scholars and their research, then any mention at all of criticism self-defeatingly serves to undermine that intent. 

And I could be wrong, but the word "exicted" isn't synonymous with the word "proud." Which brings me full circle to my original point that the press release on its face -- and contrary to GamePolitics' headline -- does not express or imply that the University is "proud" of the researchers. And I, unlike you, am unwilling to go searching the outer limits of the galaxy for inferential evidence of the contrary.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

  Here's what I read.  Quote "Anderson and Gentile suspect that the use of their research in such a high profile case will generate response from among their harshest critics.

"Although there are a few individuals with some scientific credentials who claim that the research is inconclusive, virtually all reputable experts in this area agree that violent video games are one risk factor for aggression," said Anderson, who will give a presentation titled "Grant Theft Adolescence? Do Video Games Harm Teenagers?," on Sunday, Oct. 3, at the American Psychological Association meeting in San Francisco."

So the press release briefly notes there are some critics (but doesn't say who or what the criticisms are)...and then gives them a chance to dismiss them...and note how quickly it segues into another accolade, noting his speech (talking about "harm" no less).  Surely you've heard the technique in social psychology if you want to innoculate an audience against a particular arguement, give them a "soft" version of it, then knock it down.  I think that's all that's happening here. 

I'm sorry but I'm just not seeing how this is a "neutral" press release...but as I've said, that's okay.  A university press release shouldn't necessarily be expected to be neutral.

Am I missing some "not insubstantial white space"?  Could be, don't claim to be perfect.

And please calm down a bit...we can discuss our differences of opinion without either of us "searching the outer limits of the galaxy"...

 

 

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

I'm not at all excited. My use of hyperbole as a rhetorical device shouldn't be mistaken as an indication that I am. And you did roam rather far afield. Certainly way beyond the four corners of the press release.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Totally agree Avalongod, as soon as I saw the lines you quoted I felt the university had betrayed its chance to be unbiased. That and it also shows these two researchers clearly ARE caught up in their work and will not accept evidence refuting their point.

At best, these two men are sub-par scientists and this university will look quite stupid once they're proven wrong.

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

Here is what Douglas Gentile has to say on his website about government and legislation :

"I am a researcher, not a legislator.  Governments in many countries and at many levels have, however, become involved in trying to help parents.  My personal opinion is that it's unclear what role (if any) the government should play.  The US government definitely should not attempt to dictate what types of games may or may not be created, and in fact, it never has. There could be other roles that the government could play profitably, such as by improving the ratings on media products, or by providing support for educational efforts to help parents understand the effects media have on children and why they should use the ratings, but these types of issues have yet to be explored."

Re: Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

"or by providing support for educational efforts to help parents understand the effects media have on children and why they should use the ratings, but these types of issues have yet to be explored."

LOL Isn't that what these idiots were trying to do with their "science"?

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