ESA Issues Statement on New Douglas Gentile Research

January 14, 2011 -

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) came out swinging this week against what it calls a  "flawed study" that alleges a link between video games and mental health problems in children. The study will be published in the February issue of Pediatrics, and attempts to connect video game playing with mental health problems in children from Singapore, according to a separate Joystiq report.

The study was conducted by Iowa State professor Douglas Gentile, whose past studies related to video games have been picked apart by some researchers for "exaggerating" the harmful effects of video games on children.

"We commend credible, independent, and verifiable research about computer and video games. However, this research is just more of the same questionable findings by the same author in his campaign against video games," Richard Taylor, a senior VP at ESA told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

"There simply is no concrete evidence that computer and video games cause harm. In fact, a wide body of research has shown the many ways games are being used to improve our lives through education, health and business applications," he added.

Taylor went on to say that this latest study contains a significant number of flaws.

"For example, its definition of 'pathological gaming' is neither scientifically nor medically accepted and the type of measure used has been criticized by other scholars," said Taylor. "Other outcomes are also measured using dubious instruments when well-validated tools are readily available. In addition, because the effect sizes of the outcomes are mainly trivial, it leaves open the possibility the author is simply interpreting things as negatively as possible."

Taylor also pointed out that Gentile had publicly acknowledged a mistake in the methodology used for a similar study published in Psychological Science last year.

"The error - which he acknowledged to ABC News in a blog posting after publication - arises from the fact that the sample group for the study was not randomly chosen. Instead, it was a 'convenience' sample of individuals who agreed to participate in the survey, a significant factor that greatly compromises that study's purported findings."

Source: TGDaily


Comments

Re: ESA Issues Statement on New Douglas Gentile Research

I happen to have Asperger's syndrome and I am a gamer (and I think GP had an article a couple years back about how many Aspies and other high-functioning autistics are drawn to video games)...

I could imagine how critics of video games (Thompson, Yee, the usual suspects) as well as those who criticize autistic people (Sharron Angle, some of the people running Autism Speaks) would misconstrue this into some BS theory about "how video games cause autism" or "how games could reduce an otherwise normal person's mental capacity to an autism-like state"...

Re: ESA Issues Statement on New Douglas Gentile Research

I haven't read the study, so I'm just going off conjecture here, but these types of conclusions also make predictions (sometimes directly implied, sometimes not) that don't seem to pan out.

For instance, if videogames CAUSE mental health problems, then we are living in a country/world with large numbers of mentally disturbed individuals.  Just about every person under the age of 40 at this point has grown up with videogames , meaning that a huge number of people have been directly exposed to something known to cause mental health pathologies.  

This is a prediction that can be tested relatively effectively and easily.  Do people under 40 exhibit a significantly higher incidence of mental instability?  If so, do these numbers take into account any change in the scope at which such diseases are diagnosed which may skew these numbers?  Are there any other factors at play (family, genes, environment, diet, etc) that might also cause the same problems?  I haven't had time to check, but I'm sure some data like this must be out there already.

In a related note, the rallying cry of anti-games folk states that videogames cause normal youth to become violent.  The prediction these people make, by implication, is that youth violence rates MUST rise in proportion to popularity of videogames.  Since we know that youth violence rates have DECLINED, then the prediction the games=violence theory is falsified and the theory must be discarded.  Of course, the pundits won't do so, but the facts stand.

Perhaps the same can be said of the "games create mental illness" theory/hypothesis...

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Will Target Australia sell the next GTA game upon its release?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Craig R.Too many gamers were harassing and abusing long before Baldwin decided to 'legitimize' the lunatic fringe, but that term certainly made the lunatics easier to pick out of the crowd07/31/2015 - 4:58pm
Craig R.Which is why the entire GG crowd looks like a giant bad egg07/31/2015 - 4:55pm
Craig R.Irony: the people who are feeling hostility toward their 'gamer' identity are often those who are most hostile to everybody else07/31/2015 - 4:55pm
Andrew EisenIt's not about gamers at all, it's discussing the harassment and abuse that Sarkeesian and Quinn had suffered. So yeah, not a great title but not an attack on gamers either.07/31/2015 - 4:48pm
Andrew EisenI agree than many of the titles are kinda bunk though. For example, Ars Technia's "The death of the 'gamers' and the women who 'killed' them" doesn't really work for the article.07/31/2015 - 4:47pm
Andrew EisenAnd I still don't see how articles like Polygon's "An awful week to care about video games" can be construed as an attack.07/31/2015 - 4:25pm
Andrew Eisen18 total? I've seen several lists and the total has never been above 14. The most popular collection seems to be 9 on Aug. 28 then three more on Aug. 29, Sep. 2 and Sep. 3.07/31/2015 - 4:24pm
Infophile@Goth_Skunk: Your distaste for TMS is noted and given exactly the respect it deserves. The fact that you don't like a site doesn't mean they can't be right. In the linked article, they are.07/31/2015 - 4:06pm
Goth_SkunkAnd the worst volleys are the ones being fired by the kind of people who should be standing up and saying 'Hey! This isn't cool! Stop that!'07/31/2015 - 4:05pm
Goth_SkunkNow let's come full circle: One such confrontationally titled article is easy to dismiss. Within a day, nine similarly titled articles are written. Within 4 more days, nine more articles are written. This can't be ignored. This is a blatant attack.07/31/2015 - 4:04pm
Andrew EisenAnd that's totally fine. I too often skip articles and videos based solely on an unappealing title.07/31/2015 - 3:56pm
Goth_SkunkPersonally, I would not waste time reading an article with such a blatantly confrontational title.07/31/2015 - 3:52pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Depends on how the article was written and what it actually said.07/31/2015 - 3:49pm
Goth_SkunkThis is like going fishing and castign a HUGE net that captures tuna, dolphins, sharks, cod, and salmon when all you really want to capture are clownfish.07/31/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenPerm - If the specific make and model are made clear, I have no problem with the article saving space by refering to them as "these cars" or whatever.07/31/2015 - 3:47pm
Goth_Skunk... Hasbro's widening horizons..." would it not make sense that some would object there is no distinction being made between a reactionary brony and a stable-minded brony?07/31/2015 - 3:47pm
Big PermCars are being recalled because they explode. Editors Note at the end: Not all cars, only this specific make and model07/31/2015 - 3:46pm
Andrew EisenI still feel it was clear that they were admonishing a particular and very specific type of gamer. It's why I had no problem with any of the articles (especially since about half of them weren't really about "gamers" anyway).07/31/2015 - 3:45pm
Goth_Skunk@Andrew: If a columnist had written a "Bronies Are Dead" article, but in the article stated: "Note: I'm not talking about every guy who watches MLP or who self-identifies as a brony, just the type of reactionary holdouts that feel so threatened by..."07/31/2015 - 3:45pm
benohawkYou would if you didn't care.07/31/2015 - 3:43pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician