Fox News Offers Two-Part Feature on the Bad Influence of Violent Video Games

September 12, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Fox News can't seem to get enough of trying to connect the dots between real-world mass shootings and violent video games. Part one of a two-part report on the subject gathers the usual suspects to try and say definitively that video games played a central role in inspiring some of the worst shootings in the last decade or so including Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, Adam Lanza, etc.

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.

Dr. Gentile Goes to Washington

August 16, 2012 -

Update: We have added a brief statement from Professor Douglas Gentile below.

Next week Iowa State University psychology professor Douglas Gentile will be at the White House to discuss how video games can be used to enhance and improve education. He will lead the discussion on a special policy conference to be held at the White House on Wednesday, August 22. The policy conference will examine how games can be used effectively in the broadest sense to improve health, education, civic engagement and the environment.

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

Gentile: Pathological Gaming = Impulse-Control Disorder

January 25, 2011 -

Do you lie awake at night wondering why Professor Douglas Gentile conducted his latest video game addiction study in Singapore?  Well get ready for a good night’s sleep at last because that and other pressing questions have been answered in a recent interview with Gentile by PlayStation LifeStyle.

5 comments | Read more

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 Compares Game Addiction to Yesteryear’s Alcoholism

August 23, 2010 -

While videogame addiction still isn’t recognized by the American Medical Association, an article on the subject in the Dayton Daily News features quotes from Iowa State researcher Douglas Gentile in which he continues to make the push that videogame addiction is real.

The article begins with a mention of Quinn Pitcock, the ex-NFL player attempting a comeback with the Seattle Seahawks following a bout with depression, which, he claims, led to excessive videogame play. From there the article evolves into a discussion on the subject of game addiction itself.

Sarah Greenwell, a Pediatric Psychologist from the Children’s Medic l Center of Dayton, kicks off the piece by stating that, throughout her years of service, she has come across only two kids that were genuinely addicted to videogames.

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

FPS Gamers Less Likely to Help Pick Up Spilled Pencils

February 10, 2010 -

Jo Frost, best known stateside as the principal in the show Supernanny, has a new show airing in the UK and in its debut episode she attempted to tackle the issue of violent videogames.

The Guardian has a run down of the program (Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance), in which Frost, with the assistance of Iowa State University’s Dr. Douglas Gentile, conducted an experiment on 40 boys.

In one experiment, the boys were split in half, with 20 playing a football game for 20 minutes while the other 20 played a first-person shooter for the same amount of time. Following their game play session, all 40 boys watched violent news footage and had their heart rate monitored. Boys who played the FPS were found to have slower heart rates while watching the violent on-screen reports versus those who played the sports game, leading to a voice over that declared, “Shockingly, just twenty minutes of violent gameplay was enough to densensitise the boys.”

Author Keith Stuart took the methodology to task, writing, “I'm no neuroscientist, but with the biological stress response recently engaged, surely it's no surprise that in the few minutes after violent gameplay, test subjects react differently to violent stimuli?”

Stuart continued:

So really, what does this all say about the long-term effects of exposure to violent videogames? I would suggest very, very little.

An additional experiment, in which Gentile knocked over a can of pencils in front of each boy individually, was supposed to measure empathy. Reportedly only 40.0 percent of the boys who played the FPS helped to pick up the pencils, versus 80.0 percent of those who played the football game.

The combination of the two tests, and the resulting conclusions, were a bit too much for Stuart to take:

Cognitive neuroscience is a complex field - it is perhaps not something to be prodded and poked at during a piece of realty TV voyeurism masquerading as documentary material.

He added:

…if just 20 minutes of exposure is enough to turn normal boys into desensitized monsters, our streets should be filled with violence. They're not.

Researcher: Puzzle Test Not a Valid Measure of Aggressive or Helpful Behavior

June 19, 2009 -

On Wednesday GamePolitics reported on a study which linked players of violent games with aggressive behavior while claiming that those who played games with prosocial themes were more likely to be helpful. Prof. Brad Bushman of the University of Michigan and Prof. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State were among the study's more recognizable authors.

Yesterday we reported on Texas A&M Prof. Chris Ferguson's reaction to the Bushman-Gentile study. Ferguson slammed the research methodology involved, including a somewhat academic foray into concepts like multicollinearity, which made our brain hurt just a bit.

So, in the interest of keeping things simple, we went back to Ferguson with a follow-up question concerning the methodology used in one portion of the Bushman-Gentile research. 161 U.S. college students served as test subjects:

After playing either a prosocial, violent, or neutral game, participants were asked to assign puzzles to a randomly selected partner. They could choose from puzzles that were easy, medium or hard to complete. Their partner could win $10 if they solved all the puzzles. Those who played a prosocial game were considerably more helpful than others, assigning more easy puzzles to their partners.  And those who had played violent games were significantly more likely to assign the hardest puzzles.

Given the uniqueness of the methodology, GamePolitics asked Ferguson whether, in his opinion, the "puzzle test" was a valid measure of aggression or a reasonable predictor of violent behavior. Ferguson quickly said that it was not:

No, not even remotely.  It is worlds apart from any real world aggressive or helping behavior on many levels.  Unfortunately this is a typical ad hoc outcome with no validity.

9 comments

Researcher Disputes Study Equating Violent Games w/Aggression & Prosocial Games w/Helpfulness

June 18, 2009 -

Yesterday GamePolitics reported on a study detailed in the current issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin which found that violent game players displayed aggressive behavior while those who player more prosocial games exhibited helpful behavior. The study actually encompasses three seperate research projects which took place in Japan, Singapore and the United States.

But a researcher from Texas A&M disputes those findings. Prof. Chris Ferguson, who has frequently studied video game issues, commented on yesterday's report which was authored by, among others, University of Michigan's Brad Bushman and Douglas Gentile of Iowa State.

Of the Bushman-Gentile study Ferguson told GamePolitics:

You know trouble is brewing right in the beginning as they start with the false premise that there is an established relationship between video games and aggression. The authors engage in what's called citation bias, which means they only cover research they like and ignore anything they don't like. This is just not good science. Since this literature review is so slanted, that worries me about how they collected and analyzed their data.  

In [one study] they note that there is a high correlation between prosocial exposure and violent game exposure. This suggests that these may be some of the same games that have both kinds of content! They then suggest that there wasn't a problem with multicollinearity (basically means if you include 2 predictors that are too similar it can screw up your results), yet they only say they had no VIF less than 10...yet even something as low as 4 or 5 is pretty high. So multicollinearity may have been a bigger problem than the authors try to suggest.  Therefore, there may be some serious problems with their analyses here.  

[Also] the authors say that prosocial exposure and violence exposure were very highly correlated and then claim they have completely opposite effects. That is just highly unlikely.

In [another study] the standardized coefficient between playing prosocial games and prosocial behavior... suggests that playing prosocial games had almost no overlap with prosocial behavior one year later. Here we have yet another example of a "significant" finding being touted even though it's so small you'd never notice it in the real world. They also assert causality from correlational data which they can't do no matter how they analyze it.

The final study is probably the best of the three, but it's also the most artificial. Indeed, a fair number of their participants express suspicion about what went on. These kinds of studies have a high risk of "demand characteristics" In other words, students will give you the results they think you want and they won't admit to it afterward. Also the resultant effect sizes are all pretty small.

So, at best, a mountain is being made out of a molehill here, and at worst there are some pretty serious flaws in all analyses. I do worry about the "tone" from this research group. They do not comprehensively cover the literature honestly, and appear to have a hypothesis that they favor from the get-go. That tone would lead me to question their objectivity and, as such, the quality of their analyses.

Bottom line  - I doubt you'd see prosocial games solve the world's ills anymore than violent games have caused any outbreak of youth violence. 

28 comments

Research: Violent Games Correlate with Hurting Others, Prosocial Games Correlate with Helping

June 17, 2009 -

A report published in the current issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin maintains that playing pro-social games increases helping behavior by participants while playing violent games increases hurtful behavior.

GamePolitics has previously reported on the research, which combines the results from three separate studies conducted in the U.S., Japan and Singapore. But a press release issued today by the University of Michigan offers new insight about the methodologies used by the researchers involved. These include UM's own Brad Bushman (left) and Roland Huesmann as well as Douglas Gentile of Iowa State. Said Bushman:

These studies show the same kind of impact on three different age groups from three very different cultures. In addition, the studies use different analytic approaches---correlational, longitudinal and experimental. The resulting triangulation of evidence provides the strongest possible proof that the findings are both valid and generalizable...

 

[The research] suggests there is an upward spiral of prosocial gaming and helpful behavior, in contrast to the downward spiral that occurs with violent video gaming and aggressive behavior...

 

Taken together, these findings make it clear that playing video games is not in itself good or bad for children. The type of content in the game has a bigger impact than the overall amount of time spent playing.

Perhaps the most interesting experiment involved 161 U.S. college students. From the press release: 

After playing either a prosocial, violent, or neutral game, participants were asked to assign puzzles to a randomly selected partner. They could choose from puzzles that were easy, medium or hard to complete. Their partner could win $10 if they solved all the puzzles. Those who played a prosocial game were considerably more helpful than others, assigning more easy puzzles to their partners.  And those who had played violent games were significantly more likely to assign the hardest puzzles.

Bushman discusses the study in this brief video.

VG Researcher has additional info...

UPDATE: Here is the UM press release.

48 comments

Survey Says: One in Twelve Gamers Addicted

May 26, 2009 -

One in 12 gamers shows signs of addiction, according to a study being presented this week at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Congress.

Prof. Vladan Starcevic (left) of the University of Sydney told New Zealand's NZTV that his team reached that conclusion after conducting an online survey of nearly 2,000 worldwide respondents:

Their whole lives revolve around this activity and there certainly seems to be a problem there - there is an addiction. And it seems to us that these people seem to... have other mental health issues, and it seems excessive video game playing is a manifestation of these underlying problems.

Problem gamers identified by the researchers were more prone to being socially isolated, at increased risk of depression and more likely to engage in compulsive behavior. Most seemed to play four or more hours per day and preferred MMOs like World of Warcraft. On the other hand, Starcevic noted that 92% of gamers displayed no problems with their gaming:

Most people who play video games are not problem video game players, to put it in simple terms, they're not addicted to video games. It is a minority of people who seem to have a problem.

As GameCulture notes, the 8% figure arrived at by Starcevic is remarkably close to the 8.5% game addiction rate Iowa State Prof. Douglas Gentile reported in a study released jointly with the National Institute on Media and the Family last month. As GamePolitics has reported, Gentile's research was criticized by ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer and Harvard's Dr. Cheryl Olson, author of Grand Theft Childhood.

42 comments

NIMF Game Addiction Stats Not Convincing to Poll Respondents

May 19, 2009 -

Late last month, GamePolitics reported on a study jointly published by Dr. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University and the National Institute on Media and the Family which claimed that approximately one in twelve kids show signs of being addicted to video games. Those results were determined by comparing the gaming habits of 8-18-year-olds to symptoms of gambling addiction. Video game addiction is not currently recognized as an official mental disorder.

Shortly after the study’s release, NIMF launched a poll on its website asking: “Do you think that video game addiction is a real problem?” Here’s the national breakdown of the voting as of Monday afternoon.  Of 3,169 respondents:

  • 74% - No
  • 19% - Yes
  • 7%  - Not Sure

Minnesota, where NIMF is headquartered, is the only state with a majority of Yes votes at 51%. The state with the highest percentage of people who don’t think video game addiction is a real problem?  Nevada, at 96%.

Go figure.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics correspondent Andrew Eisen...

UPDATE: The poll remains open. As of posting time, the numbers have changed a bit. Vermont, with 38%, has joined Minnesota as the only state currently where the Yes votes are in the majority.

28 comments

Game Addiction Study Prof Fires Back at ESA Boss

April 30, 2009 -

The recent claim by Iowa State Prof. Douglas Gentile (left) and the National Institute on Media and the Family that "nearly one in ten" 8-18 year-olds shows signs of video game addiction was challenged this week by ESA CEO Michael Gallagher, who questioned Gentile's methodology.

Yesterday, NIMF boss David Walsh defended Gentile's research to GamePolitics. Gentile himself has now waded into the fray, telling incgamers that the ESA's attack on his sampling methodology was a "trick."

And that's not all Gentile had to say:

The ESA are trying to give the perception that there was something wrong with the study... [the ESA's criticism of the sample is a] trick the ESA is trying to get you to pick up on...

 

We're talking about pathological implications [of addictive gaming], we're measuring it on how it damages people to function in a healthy way, and how they start to injure their family and social relationships, their school work or their occupational work, and when we measure it that way (the same we would measure pathological gambling), you can't just have one of the symptoms, but rather more than half of the symptoms. There are 11 symptoms, and you have to report up to six of those symptoms.

Eight and a half percent of the surveyed gamers, across the sample, reported up to six of those symptoms, which, in medical terms means that they are pathological gamers.

incgamer also cites a letter from Iowa State to the ESA which defends Gentile's methodology. The researcher did admit to a mistake in his report which incorrectly tabs the survey's margin of error at 3%.

29 comments

NIMF's David Walsh Defends Game Addiction Study

April 29, 2009 -

As GamePolitics readers know, a study released last week by Dr. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University and the National Institute on Media and the family suggested that "nearly one in ten" 8-18 year-olds showed signs of video game addiction.

The research has been under fire, however, from the video game industry as well as from less biased critics such as Harvard's Dr. Cheryl Olson and ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer.

Yesterday game publishers lobbying group the ESA released a letter in which CEO Michael Gallagher criticized the study for a sampling error that has been acknowledged by Gentile. Gallagher also bemoaned the wide coverage which the flawed study has received from mainstream media outlets.

GamePolitics asked the National Institute on Media and the Family to respond to the ESA's criticism; we've just received this statement from NIMF President Dr. David Walsh:

Everyone knows at least one child who has struggled with balancing healthy game playing with academics and family life. Unfortunately, as Dr. Gentile’s study suggests, some children have more significant problems with gaming.  Regardless of whether you agree with the exact statistics in Dr. Gentile’s study, it provides the gaming industry, medical experts, and public policymakers with a new opportunity to have a thoughtful conversation regarding the effects of video games on kids.

One study will not determine if gaming is addictive for some kids. Again, additional research is required to determine if video games are as ‘addictive’ as gambling and alcohol. With this additional research, the medical community can make an educated decision on video games and addiction.

We look forward to leading the conversation with the industry, policymakers and parents on this important public health issue.

GP: Walsh discusses the research in the video at left. To be clear, the video does not address the sampling issue raised by the ESA.

ESA Targets NIMF Addiction Study

April 28, 2009 -

Last week the National Institute on Media and the Family along with Iowa State University Prof. Douglas Gentile released a study which claimed that 8.5% of 8-18 year-olds displayed signs of video game addiction.

The research, published in the journal Psychological Science, was quickly challenged, most notably by Harvard's Dr. Cheryl Olson (co-author of Grand Theft Childhood) and ABC News polling director Gary Langer.

Citing Langer's report on the study's flawed research methodology, game publishers' lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association yesterday sent a letter to the editor of Psychological Science, Purdue University Prof. Robert Kail. ESA CEO Mike Gallagher questioned the validity of the NIMF/Gentile findings and complained that their alarming assertions regarding video game addiction received wide coverage in the mainstream media.

It is safe to say that the sole reason the [Gentile] study generated the kind of media attention it did was due to the inclusion of specific numbers that would appear to have been based on scientific research. In fact, the numbers reflected no such thing. Because of the composition of the group studied, neither the overall figure, nor the cited sampling error is supported by the data Dr. Gentile presented. 

 

We accept Dr. Gentile’s [subsequent] admission of [sampling interpretation] error at face value, although it is hard to understand how a researcher would base a scientific study upon an assumption about the nature of the group he was studying. It is not that Dr. Gentile did not have time to make sure that the group was a truly national representative sample: the data was collected in January, 2007...

Gallagher concluded by asking Kail to advise Psychological Science readers of the discrepancy between the sampling reported by Gentile and that upon which the study was actually based. For a detailed explanation of the sampling issue, see Gary Langer's ABC News post.

5 comments

ABC News Polling Guru Slams NIMF Game Addiction Data

April 22, 2009 -

On Monday Prof. Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Media and the Family released the results of a new study which suggested that one in twelve 8-18 year-olds displayed symptoms of video game addiction.

As GamePolitics reported, the methodology behind the ISA/NIMF research was almost immediately called into question by Harvard's Dr. Cheryl Olson, co-author of Grand Theft Childhood and Oregon psychiatrist Dr. Jerald Block, an expert of the topic of video game addiction.

A report today by ABC News polling director Gary Langer (left) goes a step further, questioning Gentile's study for its claim of being "nationally representative within 3% [margin of error]."

Writing for his The Numbers blog, Langer explains:

The problem: This study was conducted among members of an opt-in online panel – individuals who sign up to click through questionnaires on the internet in exchange for points redeemable for cash and gifts. There are multiple methodological challenges with these things... but the most basic – and I think least arguable – is that they’re based on a self-selected “convenience sample,” rather than a probability sample. And you need a probability sample to compute sampling error...

This is far from an inconsequential issue. The public discourse is well-informed by quality data; it can be misinformed or even disinformed by other data. It is challenging – but essential – for us to differentiate.

Langer also heard from the study's author who admitted the mistake in calculating a margin of error:

Prof. Gentile got back to me... He said he was unaware the data in his study came from a convenience sample... and that, relying on his own background in market research, he’d gone ahead and calculated an error margin for it. “I missed that when I was writing this up. That is an error then on my part.”

27 comments

ESA Reacts to NIMF Game Addiction Study

April 21, 2009 -

Yesterday GamePolitics reported on research data released by Iowa State University Prof. Douglas Gentile and the National Institute on Media and the Family which suggests that one in twelve people between 8 and 18 show signs of video game dependency.

We also noted that Grand Theft Childhood author Dr. Cheryl Olson of Harvard questioned the survey methodology used in the study.

Not unexpectedly, game publishers' trade group ESA has now weighed in to dispute the NIMF research. Senior VP Rich Taylor (left) commented:

This is a report more in search of media headlines than scientific truth and facts. In an interview, though not in the report itself, Dr. Gentile said, ‘It’s not that games are bad. It’s not that games are addictive.’ Medical experts, including the American Medical Association, have already rejected the fallacy of video game ‘addiction,’ and we completely agree.

Like all forms of entertainment, computer and video games should be a part of a well-rounded lifestyle that includes healthy eating and exercise. It is up to parents to determine when and how often their children should play any game. For our part, the industry already provides a wide range of tools and information, including timers and parental controls, to help caregivers ensure that entertainment software is used appropriately.

Oregon psychiatrist Dr. Jerald Block, who has been known to drop by GamePolitics from time to time, offered some additional criticism of Gentile's research, reports USA Today:

Jerald Block, a psychiatrist at the Oregon Health Science University, called the study "valuable" to the American Psychiatric Association's [upcoming] decision on whether compulsive computer and Internet use should be considered a mental disorder.

Block, an APA adviser, warns that the [NIMF] study has weaknesses. The research should be replicated because it is supported by the National Institute for Media and the Family, which he likens to a lobbying group. And the survey could have found higher game use because it was collected in January as opposed to summer. It also classifies 8.5% as addicted without a physician interview: "The people they are claiming have a problem, it's not entirely clear that they do have a problem."

UPDATE: GU Comics pokes a bit of fun at the NIMF study.

17 comments

Grand Theft Childhood Author Challenges NIMF Game Addiction Data

April 20, 2009 -

Harvard's Dr. Cheryl Olson, co-author of Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games, offered GamePolitics some thoughts on research data released today by Iowa State University Prof. Douglas Gentile and Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family.

According to Gentile and Walsh, 8.5% of 8-18 year olds exhibit behaviors similar to those that clinically define compulsive gamblers.

Olson, however, questions their methodology, which involved the collection of data via an online Harris Interactive Poll.

From Dr. Olson:

The concern here is labeling normal childhood behaviors as "pathological" and "addicted." The author [Iowa State University's Prof. Douglas Gentile] is repurposing questions used to assess problem gambling in adults; however, lying to your spouse about blowing the rent money on gambling is a very different matter from fibbing to your mom about whether you played video games instead of starting your homework.

 

It's also very questionable whether kids as young as 8 can accurately fill out a self-administered online questionnaire, especially one that uses questions designed for adults.

That said, the study is well intended, and a good reminder to discuss rules and set limits with your kids re: electronic game use.

New Study: One in Twelve Young Gamers Shows Signs of Addiction

April 20, 2009 -

A new study claims that one in twelve (8.5%) of gamers age 8-18 shows signs of being addicted to their hobby.

The research, conducted by Iowa State University and the National Institute on Media and the Family, compared the young gamers' playing habits to the American Psychiatric Association’s list of symptoms of gambling addiction.

The 8.5% of study subjects who showed addictive traits indicated behaviors such as:

•    Lying to family and friends about video game usage
•    Using video games to escape from problems or bad feelings
•    Becoming restless or irritable when attempting to stop playing video games
•    Skipping homework in order to play video games
•    Doing poorly on a school assignment or test because they spent too much time on games.

ISU Prof Douglas Gentile (left) commented on his findings:

Many parents have been worried about their children being ‘addicted’ to video games. While the medical community currently does not recognize video game addiction as a mental disorder, hopefully this study will be one of many that allow us to have an educated conversation on the positive and negative effects of video games.

NIMF president David Walsh added:

This study is a wake-up call for families. While video games can be fun and entertaining, some kids are getting into trouble. I continue to hear from families who are concerned about their child’s gaming habits. Not only do we need to focus on identifying the problem, but we need to find ways to help families prevent and treat it.

The ISU/NIMF study used data collected in a Harris Interactive Poll that surveyed 1,178 American youth, aged 8 to 18.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the study here.

GP: Perhaps a small point, but the press release for this research continually refers to "nearly one out of ten" respondents being addicted to video games. However, the 8.5% addiction result determined by the research is actually much nearer to one in twelve (8.33%); we've represented it as such in this article.

UPDATE: Grand Theft Childhood co-author Dr. Cheryl Olson offers some criticism of the study methodology employed by Prof. Gentile.

34 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.

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Craig R.Ok, my internal debate was short-lived. If Win10 is still a year out, I'm not waiting that long for an SSD, so on Win7 I will remain.09/30/2014 - 7:52pm
Matthew Wilsonits called windows 10, and I am happy to get the start menu back.09/30/2014 - 7:18pm
Jessy HartIs this stuff about Windows 10 legit? Is it actually called Windows 10 or is it just some stupid joke?09/30/2014 - 6:57pm
ZippyDSMleeSo I been trying to play Bioshock Infinite I got all the DLC,ect but do not want the extras to make your charatcer over powered from the start.....they force you to take them which is quite annoying......09/30/2014 - 6:45pm
Craig R.I need to upgrade to an SSD, still seriously debating moving to Win8.1 from 7 at the same time09/30/2014 - 6:07pm
Craig R.Win10 is probably Win8.1 with more cleanup and the Start button back.09/30/2014 - 6:06pm
Sora-ChanAhh, it's just weird seeing someone's post all of a sudden have replies from days prior before it was posted due to that.09/30/2014 - 5:49pm
MechaTama31sora: I broke the ordering intentionally, as AE's and my conversation had squeezed the text boxes down to be quite slim. I replied to an earlier post of his instead of the one I was actually replying to.09/30/2014 - 5:46pm
MechaTama31So, 9 would have been the good one, but they are skipping it to do two crap ones in a row?09/30/2014 - 5:41pm
Sora-ChanSo, judging from the poll post for #gamergate, it looks like too many thread replies breaks the ordering of posts, as seen with the recent post from Infophile.09/30/2014 - 5:31pm
Andrew EisenOr no! It wasn't Y3K compliant. Microsoft thought it best to super future proof its OS and skipped straight to 10 which is Y3K compliant!09/30/2014 - 5:01pm
Andrew EisenJust tell them it wasn't Y2K compliant.09/30/2014 - 5:00pm
Craig R.Looking forward to having to explain to coworkers down the road what ever happened to 9 *sigh*09/30/2014 - 4:57pm
Craig R.2k was crap. XP was solid, 7 is good, 8.1 is actually really good once you make it look like 7 :)09/30/2014 - 4:52pm
Sora-Chan@MP As someone who has used each version of windows since 3.1... I prefer Vista over 7 for various reasons. The only thing I give 7 over Vista is preformance. They really screwed up a bunch of things when making 7. Also, XP was a pain. 2k was better.09/30/2014 - 4:13pm
Jessy Hart@E. Zachary Knight Is that show called Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures?09/30/2014 - 3:34pm
IanCWin 8 isn't bad, it just can't decide whether to be a desktop OS or a tablet OS.09/30/2014 - 2:40pm
IanCI think its a way of getting round giving it free to Win 8 users...09/30/2014 - 2:39pm
MaskedPixelanteWindows alternates between bad and good versions. XP was good, Vista sucked, 7 was good, 8 sucked, therefore 10 will suck, QED.09/30/2014 - 2:18pm
E. Zachary KnightPerhaps they are calling it "10" because on a scale of 1-10 of how awesome it is, it is a clear 10.09/30/2014 - 2:06pm
 

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