Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent Video Game Law

May 21, 2011 -

We’re all on pins and needles waiting for the Supreme Court to finally release its decision on Brown v. EMA, so why not relieve some tension listening to an academic offer his less-than-impressed analysis of the evidence supporting the violent video game law authored by California State Senator Leland Yee.

Dr. Paul Ballas is a Philadelphia psychiatrist who deals with examining psychiatric illnesses in children and one of dozens who signed an amicus brief in support of the EMA.  At the recent Games Beyond Entertainment conference in Boston, Ballas examined whether Yee's evidence supported his argument that playing violent video games is a harmful thing for the kiddies to do.

Believing that any law based on research-backed harm has the responsibility to prove that it will actually alleviate said harm, Ballas looked at three studies Yee used to support his law.

The first was Douglas Gentile’s 2004 study that surveyed 607 eighth and ninth graders, asking them what types of video games they played, how violent the games were, what the students’ hostility levels were, etc.  Ballas pointed out that none of this self-reported data was corroborated.

"I've worked with 14-year-olds long enough to know that if you give them a long list of questions, and they're bored, and there's no downside to making up stuff, they'll just make up stuff," Ballas said. “What's fascinating is that there's stuff that [the study authors] could have absolutely double-checked, like grades. But they didn't do that. They didn't send requests for report cards in this study.”

The second study was covered in Craig Anderson’s 2004 book “Violent Video Game Effect.”  It measured the blood pressure of 130 college students after they had played a violent video game.  The obvious problem is that this study didn’t look at kids so it’s not applicable as evidence in the first place.  Also, Ballas wasn’t impressed by the increases in blood pressure the students experienced.

“Blood pressure goes up when you do lots of different things,” Ballas said, citing that musicians often report a rise in blood pressure whenever they perform. “It doesn't mean that they should stop performing, it just means that they were excited to do that activity.”

The third study (Jeanne Funk, 2004) measured the empathy levels of 150 fourth and fifth graders after they had played a violent video game.  While Ballas found the measures used in the study reasonable, the study’s conclusion doesn’t do much to support the need for Yee’s law anyway.

“The authors stated at the end of the study, however, that the relationships identified between the source of violence exposure and indicators of desensitization did not necessarily translate into causality. The authors further noted that children with lower empathy scores, and pro-violence attitudes, may simply have just been drawn to violent video games. The study also had a small sample size with no control group for pertinent variables like deviant peer influence and family violence.”

While it’s always fun to watch someone in the know eviscerate a law most of us actively dislike, the big question remains: what does the Supreme Court think?  We’ll find out sometime in the next month or so.  At least, as long as the world doesn’t end today.

Stay tuned...

Via: Gamasutra

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent ...

Dr. Ballas should have been the one giving our amicus brief.

This is it. If the SCOTUS rules in our favor, it's not just CA that wins, but every state that still has some law banning or restricting games has to revoke those laws, because they will be, finally, declared 1rst Amendment protected!

But if Yee wins, everybody looses. Cause every state can pass whatever they want. But we don't back down. We keep fighting, never give up, and never back down.

"This is America. We go in, making bribes and threats until we get what we want!" Jimmy Hopkins

 

Re: Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent ...

Not to mention that they likely won't stop there and might begin going after other forms of media.

Re: Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent ...

I recently read through a report on the Comic book hearings back in the 50s. The evidence and research they gathered actually felt more compelling and reasonable than the crap CA has been pushing out.

Re: Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent ...

Any examples?  Wertham WAS actually a good psychologist (he gave expert testimony in Brown v Board) but to the best of my knowledge his evidence against comics basically came down to the fact that juvenile delinquents all read them -- which wasn't exactly useful information in an era where ALL children read comics.

Re: Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent ...

A lot of testimonials from criminals. It was mostly about the sexual stimulation they got from reading comic books. That's all I can remember off the top of my head.

Re: Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent ...

SO in a nut shell his evidence was pretty much the same as the evidence agaisnt games now.

Re: Psychiatrist Examines Studies Supporting CA's Violent ...

The world hasn't ended in Autralia, where they lack R-18 ratings for games. So we'll find out soon enough.

On that note- Harold Camping can suck it.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=35311/24/2014 - 9:46am
WonderkarpDay 4 of my Amiibos. Still Unopened. Now pegged too a wall. I just love the packaging too much11/24/2014 - 8:12am
PHX Corp@Jessy I actually saw it on gamespot, seems that Nintendo accidently turned Samus into a Badass11/23/2014 - 9:28pm
Jessy HartAnybody else see the Samus Amiibo with 2 arm canons?11/23/2014 - 9:10pm
Andrew EisenNeo - If you're not bleeding then it's probably not you who needs to go to the doctor.11/23/2014 - 5:45pm
Wonderkarpgood. that kind of behavior is unnecessary.11/23/2014 - 5:44pm
WonderkarpGeorgina Young - Are Video Games Sexist? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX9LV4GuG9E11/23/2014 - 5:43pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://deadspin.com/starcraft-player-says-hell-rape-opponent-is-booted-f-1662346891/+Fahey11/23/2014 - 5:40pm
Wonderkarphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4a9tMGSTG411/23/2014 - 5:32pm
WonderkarpDan Vavra of Warhorse Studios at the Nordic eCommerce Summit 2014 on Game Journalism and why ethics are important11/23/2014 - 5:27pm
WonderkarpGame Dev Ashley Ross on the Block/Blacklist https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2n603f/thoughts_on_the_recent_igdaggautoblocker_incident/11/23/2014 - 5:25pm
Wonderkarpwhich is interesting cause this the first one 100% made by 2k games after the THQ buy11/23/2014 - 4:17pm
Wonderkarpbleh. the more I play WWE 2k15 on PS4, the more I get disappointed.11/23/2014 - 4:09pm
Neo_DrKefkaIt happened around 1030 this morning. I was not blooding because blood was on my hands11/23/2014 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenThat depends on a lot. Were you bleeding at the time you requested to leave or did you want to leave work to go to the doctor over an incident that happened on a different day that you didn't file an incident report for?11/23/2014 - 3:21pm
Neo_DrKefkaThat would be a major OSHA violation correct?11/23/2014 - 1:54pm
Neo_DrKefkaOff topic but I was at work and went over to the first aid kit to get some eye drops. I look at my hand and noticed blood on my hands. My employers said their is no incident report and they won't send me to see a doctor and that I am abandoning my job.11/23/2014 - 1:54pm
MaskedPixelanteThe more I hear about AC Unity being rushed out, the more I think Ubisoft was telling the truth about why they couldn't add female co-op models.11/23/2014 - 1:14pm
IanCI wouldnt say the 360/PS3 version were superior. They were different games.11/23/2014 - 11:49am
MechaTama31It's hard to rank my top 5 against eachother, but they would include Ghostbusters, Back to the Future (all of it), Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Princess Bride.11/23/2014 - 11:09am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician