Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 55

June 10, 2013 -

In Episode 55 hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest GamePolitics poll, a video game researcher's testimony at a mass murder trial, the Xbox One, the Ouya, and some discussion on the upcoming E3 press conferences. Download Episode 55 now: SuperPAC Episode 55 (1 hour, 37 minutes) 89.5 MB.

Video Game Expert Can't Sway Jury in Mass Murder Trial

May 31, 2013 -

A man who murdered an entire family with a tire iron in 2009 in their Beason, Ill. home tried to use video games as part of his defense earlier this week. After one day of deliberations a jury delivered a stinging verdict.

Iowa State Researchers Find Link Between Juvenile Offenders and Playing Violent Video Games

March 27, 2013 -

A new study by Iowa State researchers claims that (wait for it) there is a "strong connection" between playing violent video games and youth violence and delinquency. Backed by the usual suspects at the university that continues to publish studies saying that video games are basically responsible for everything wrong with children today, this particular study was conducted by Matt DeLisi, a professor of sociology at the university.

Research: Parents Can't Rely Solely on a Game's Rating

May 18, 2012 -

A new study out of Iowa State University, seemingly the nexus of anti-video game research, has found that children who play prosocial games are more inclined to be helpful while those who play violent games demonstrate more hurtful behaviors.

13 comments | Read more

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.

7 comments | Read more

"Violent Games Lead to Rape" Doc Cites Sources

February 15, 2011 -

This Valentine’s Day, a girl gave me something I honestly wasn’t expecting.  Granted, she also gave it to everyone else in her address book but hey, I’m not jealous.

Yes, yesterday, Carole Lieberman finally provided the blogosphere with “examples of research linking video games to real life violence (including rape).”  Do the various studies, papers, and opinion pieces she provided actually back up her claims?  I’ll leave that to you.

-American Psychological Association’s Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media

-How Fantasy Becomes Reality (Karen Dill)

-Attorney General's Commission on Pornography (1986)

15 comments | Read more

Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

October 29, 2010 -

A pair of opposing editorials appear on the USA Today website, delivering two distinct takes on Schwarzenegger vs EMA.

Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer penned a piece opposing the game industry, stating that the showdown “pits the profits of a multibillion dollar video game industry against the best interests of kids.”

Steyer, whose organization backed California with an amicus brief of its own (PDF), went on to cite American Academy of Pediatrics research to back his choice of sides, research which “declared the connection between game violence and aggression nearly as strong as the medical association between cigarettes and lung cancer.”

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.

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.

6 comments | Read more

Study Indicates Gaming (and TV Viewing) Could Lead to Something

July 6, 2010 -

Playing videogames and watching television are linked with attention problems in kids, at least according to a study authored by Edward Swing, David Walsh, former head of the National Institute on Media and Family, and Iowa State University’s Craig Anderson and Douglas Gentile.

Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems (PDF) is published in the latest edition of Pediatrics and sampled 1,323 “middle childhood participants” across a 13-month session. A second sample of 210 adolescent and early adult participants was utilized as well.

The study began by offering, “Many video games seem to share many features (eg, high excitement, rapid changes in focus) that have been identified as potentially relevant to the television association with attention problems, making a similar association between video game playing and attention problems plausible.”

10 comments | Read more

NPR Discussion on Violent Videogames

April 29, 2010 -

NPR’s Diane Rehm turned her focus to violent videogames yesterday in a radio show that featured California State Senator Leland Yee, Grand Theft Childhood co-author Dr. Cheryl Olson, the Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) Richard Taylor, Eugene Volokh, Professor of 1st Amendment Law at the UCLA Law School and researcher Craig Anderson from Iowa State University.

The nearly hour-long show began by discussing the Supreme Court’s decision to review California’s violent videogame law with Yee, before moving on to Anderson, who mentioned his recent research. Rehm then indicated that she watched “a bit” of Grand Theft Auto in order to become familiar with the subject, before asking Taylor to explain how popular “these games” are, who is playing them and what the effects are.

AU Politician Fears Technology

March 22, 2010 -

No, not the soon to be ex-South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, but Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor (pictured).

The Labor Party member, speaking at a Sydney conference put on by the Australian Council on Children and the Media and Macquarie University, which examined the impact of violence and sexualized media on children, expressed concern over motion-sensing controls for videogames, saying, “Computer game manufacturers encourage users to put down their control pads and participate physically in a game through motion-sensing technology.”

This led O’Connor to proclaim:

These interactive features are set to increase the impact of the material being enjoyed by consumers.

 

We need to consider how increased interactivity will impact on children and what this means for content regulation.

21 comments | Read more

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!

12 comments

Study: Non-violent Games May Enhance Pro-social Behavior

April 8, 2009 -

While researchers Douglas Gentile (left) and Craig Anderson have often been critical of violent video games, a new report from the Iowa State University professors indicates that non-violent games may enhance pro-social behavior in chidlren.

As reported by isciences, an Iowa State reasearch team led by Gentile and overseen by Anderson studied school children in Singapore, Japan as well as college students in the United States:

College students... who were randomly assigned to play prosocial games (Chibi Robo and Super Mario Sunshine) behaved more prosocially... in a subsequent task than those who played either neutral (Pure Pinball and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe) or violent video games (Ty2 or Crash Trinsanity). Those who played the violent games engaged in more harmful behaviors...

"Video games are not inherently good or bad," wrote the researchers in the paper. "Video games can have both positive and negative effects.

"Content matters, and games are excellent teachers," they continued. "Violent content in video games can lead people to behave more aggressively. Prosocial content, in contrast, can lead people to behave in a more cooperative and helpful manner."

VG Researcher has more. Read the study abstract here.

23 comments

Study: Violent Games Make Players "Comfortably Numb" to Suffering of Others

February 19, 2009 -

Call it the "Pink Floyd Effect."

A just-released research report claims that playing violent video games makes players "comfortably numb" to the pain and suffering of others.

The study, conducted by University of Michigan professor Brad Bushman and Iowa State University professor Craig Anderson, appears in the March 2009 issue of Psychological Science.

Both Bushman and Anderson have previously published research with negative findings about violent games. A press release describes the research methodology employed in the new report:

320 college students played either a violent or a nonviolent video game for approximately 20 minutes.  A few minutes later, they overheard a staged fight that ended with the "victim" sustaining a sprained ankle and groaning in pain.

 

People who had played a violent game took significantly longer to help the victim than those who played a nonviolent game---73 seconds compared to 16 seconds. People who had played a violent game were also less likely to notice and report the fight. And if they did report it, they judged it to be less serious than did those who had played a nonviolent game.
 
In the second study, the participants were 162 adult moviegoers. The researchers staged a minor emergency outside the theater... The researchers timed how long it took moviegoers to [help]... Participants who had just watched a violent movie took over 26 percent longer to help than either people going into the theater or people who had just watched a nonviolent movie.

Prof. Bushman (left) commented:

These studies clearly show that violent media exposure can reduce helping behavior. People exposed to media violence are less helpful to others in need because they are 'comfortably numb' to the pain and suffering of others, to borrow the title of a Pink Floyd song.

118 comments

Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

November 5, 2008 -

Earlier this week GamePolitics reported on a new study linking violent video games to aggression in young people. The study detailed research conducted in both the United States and Japan. Of the data, Dr. Craig Anderson of Iowa State University proclaimed, "We now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents."

GamePolitics also reported on a rebuttal of sorts by Dr. Christopher Ferguson (left), whose objections were published in a letter to Pediatrics, the same journal which published the Anderson study.

PC World's Matt Peckham scored an interview with Ferguson, who expands on his objections to Anderson's work:

[Something] that they attempted to do with this study, and I think it reflects some of their irritation with the criticisms or counter-arguments that they've encountered, is this U.S., Japan comparison. People point out all the time that Japan is saturated with violent media, probably more, if anything, than the United States. They've got the hentai, the sexualized violence, and all that kind of stuff, and yet they're a very low violent crime society. So the argument is if violent media causes aggressiveness, how come it's not doing it in Japan?

 

...some of my own research that I've done, I've found that controlling for family violence exposure pretty much wipes out any relationship between violent games and aggression, so the correlation is essentially zero once you control for family violence. They didn't do that in this study, which is a significant concern for me...

I would certainly say there's an agenda here... what Craig Anderson argues in his paper, he then goes into describing youth violence, talking about how serious a public concern youth violence is. [But] He doesn't measure youth violence in his study. He doesn't measure anything even close to it. The aggression measure he uses is not a behavioral measure, it doesn't measure aggressive behaviors. It doesn't predict youth violence. So they're engaging in hyperbole that is not warranted by the results of their study, and that to me say there's clearly an agenda.

Hit the link for part one (of two) of the full interview

24 comments

ECA Issues Statement on New Video Game Study

November 3, 2008 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued a statement regarding a new video game violence study which appeared today:

For the better part of the past decade we – game consumers, makers, sellers and creators – have been waiting for the results of an unbiased, longitudinal and comprehensive study to be done which will inform us about the potential harmful effects of entertainment products on our children. Unfortunately, with the report published in the latest issue of Pediatrics, we remain waiting,” said Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), the non-profit organization which represents the rights of video and computer gamers.

 

One of the ways in which our stance is likely very different from others in the discussion on the subject is that the ECA would encourage more and better research on the matter. The problem has been, and apparently continues to be, that the agenda of the researchers supersedes our want and need for inclusiveness of all media… not just games – for the overtly sensationalistic spin that will inevitably be employed – to the exclusion of music and movies. We remain optimistic that longitudinal research that is truly comprehensive, objective and inclusive will be performed and shared, but sadly that day has not yet come.

The ECA statement references GP's report on the study by Iowa State University's Dr. Craig Anderson and two Japanese research teams as well as a letter from Texas A&M's Dr. Christopher Ferguson which disputes Anderson's finding.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

45 comments

Texas A&M Researcher Disputes New Game Violence Study

November 3, 2008 -

Earlier today GamePolitics reported on a study published in the journal Pediatrics which details U.S. and Japanese longitudinal studies suggesting that violent video game play leads to increased aggression in children.

Of the research, Iowa State professor Craig Anderson, whose work constitutes the American segment of the report, said:

We now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents.

But, in a letter to Pediatrics, Christopher Ferguson, a researcher at Texas A&M International University, has called the Anderson study into question. Ferguson claims that the research contains "numerous flaws" and disputes its meaningfulness. Ferguson writes:

In the literature review the authors suggest that research on video game violence is consistent when this is hardly the case. The authors here simply ignore a wide body of research which conflicts with their views...

The authors fail to control for relevant "third" variables that could easily explain the weak correlations that they find. Family violence exposure for instance, peer group influences, certainly genetic influences on aggressive behavior are just a few relevant variables that ought either be controlled or at minimum acknowledged as alternate causal agents for (very small) link between video games and aggression...

Lastly the authors link their results to youth violence in ways that are misleading and irresponsible. The authors do not measure youth violence in their study. The [research tool used] is not a violence measure, nor does it even measure pathological aggression. Rather this measure asks for hypothetical responses to potential aggressive situations, not actual aggressive behaviors.


111 comments

Report Links Game Violence to Aggression in U.S. and Japan

November 3, 2008 -

A new report links violent video games to aggressive tendencies in children in both the United States and Japan.

According to the Washington Post, the report published in the journal Pediatrics examines research conducted by Dr. Craig Anderson (left) of Iowa State University as well as work by a pair of Japanese researchers. All three studies are of the longitudinal variety. From the WaPo:

Anderson said the collaboration with Japanese researchers was particularly telling because video games are popular there and crime and aggression are less prevalent. Some gamers have cited Japan's example as evidence that violent games are not harmful.

Yet the studies produced similar findings in both countries, Anderson said. "When you find consistent effects across two very different cultures, you're looking at a pretty powerful phenomenon," he said. "One can no longer claim this is somehow a uniquely American phenomenon. This is a general phenomenon that occurs across cultures..."

 

"We now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents," Anderson said.


Anderson also told the WaPo that video games are only one of a number of influences on a child's behavior:

A healthy, normal, nonviolent child or adolescent who has no other risk factors for high aggression or violence is not going to become a school shooter simply because they play five hours or 10 hours a week of these violent video games... [Extreme forms of violence] almost always occur when there is a convergence of multiple risk factors.

The Des Moines Register has additional comments from Anderson:

The [Japanese] culture is so different, and their overall violence rate is so much lower than in the U.S. The argument has been made - it's not a very good argument, but it's been made by the video game industry - that all our research on violent video game effects must be wrong because Japanese kids play a lot of violent video games and Japan has a low violence rate.

By gathering data from Japan, we can test that hypothesis directly and ask, 'Is it the case that Japanese kids are totally unaffected by playing violent video games?' And of course, they aren't. They're affected pretty much the same way American kids are.

Anderson's study was previously detailed in his 2007 book Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research and Public Policy.

Full report available here.

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IanCWelp, twitch is going to suck now. Thanks google.07/25/2014 - 6:30am
Sleaker@MP - Looked up hitbox, thanks.07/24/2014 - 9:40pm
Matthew WilsonI agree, but to me given other known alternatives google seems to the the best option.07/24/2014 - 6:30pm
Andrew EisenTo be clear, I have no problem with Google buying it, I'm just concerned it will make a slew of objectively, quantifiably bad changes to Twitch just as it's done with YouTube over the years.07/24/2014 - 6:28pm
Matthew WilsonI doubt yahoo has the resources to pull it off, and I not just talking about money.07/24/2014 - 6:15pm
SleakerI wouldn't have minded a Yahoo purchase, probably would have been a better deal than Tumblr seeing as they paid the same for it...07/24/2014 - 6:13pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's the golden age of Hitbox, I guess.07/24/2014 - 6:08pm
Matthew Wilsonagain twitch was going to get bought. It was just who was going to buy it . Twitch was not even being able to handle the demand, so hey needed a company with allot of infrastructure to help them. I can understand why you would not want Google to buy it .07/24/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew Eisen"Google is better than MS or Amazon" Wow. Google, as I mentioned earlier, progressively makes almost everything worse and yet there are still two lesser options. Again, wow!07/24/2014 - 5:43pm
Andrew EisenI don't know. MS, in my experience, is about 50/50 on its products. It's either fine or it's unusable crap. Amazon, well... I've never had a problem buying anything from them but I don't use any of their products or services so I couldn't really say.07/24/2014 - 5:42pm
Matthew WilsonGoogle is better than MS or Amazon.07/24/2014 - 5:33pm
Sleaker@AE - I've never seen youtube as a great portal to interact with people from a comment perspective. like ever. The whole interface doesn't really promote that.07/24/2014 - 5:28pm
Andrew EisenNor I. From a content producer's perspective, almost every change Google implements makes the service more cumbersome to use. It's why I set up a Facebook fan page in the first place; it was becoming too difficult to connect with my viewers on YouTube.07/24/2014 - 4:50pm
Sleakerwonder if anyone is going to try and compete with google, I'm not a huge fan of the way they manage their video services.07/24/2014 - 4:41pm
Andrew EisenIt happened. Google bought Twitch. http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/24/googles-1b-purchase-of-twitch-confirmed-joins-youtube-for-new-video-empire/07/24/2014 - 4:28pm
MaskedPixelanteI hope Nintendo actually follows through with the DS Virtual Console, that sounds like it could be cool.07/24/2014 - 2:15pm
james_fudgePeople don't deny it persay, they bristle at the idea that it's a "problem" that nneds to be "fixed."07/24/2014 - 2:15pm
Papa MidnightRacism and Misogny are heavily prevalent in the gaming and online arena. Getting people to actually admit that, however...07/24/2014 - 11:42am
Papa MidnightThat very thing is somthing that anyone who has been subjected to racial-based targeting online could actually state that they've experienced.07/24/2014 - 11:41am
Papa MidnightPerfect example: "I have yet to talk to a man who has had to call a police officer due to a stalker, only to be told nothing can be done until they are physically assaulted."07/24/2014 - 11:40am
 

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