Thursday, January 22, 2009

Video games do not lead to violence according to researcher

A researcher finds no evidence of a link between school shootings and video games:

A researcher at Texas A&M International University has concluded that there is "no significant relationship" between school shootings and playing violent video games.

Writing for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, Prof. Christopher Ferguson criticizes the methodology used in earlier research linking games to violence and aggression. He also points out that no evidence of violent game play was found in recent high-profile incidents such as the Virginia Tech massacre, the Utah Trolley Stop mall shooting and the February, 2008 shooting on the campus of Northern Illinois University.

I never thought much of the theory that video games caused violence. The New York Times did a study of rampage killers and found that very few of them even played video games. They looked at 102 rampage killers and found "in only 6 of the 100 cases did the killers have a known interest in violent video games. Seven other killers showed an interest in violent movies." School shootings are complex, to blame them on video games is naive. I am glad a researcher is making that point more clear.

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Blogger TMink said...

"I am glad that some research to show the lack of correlation is finally coming out."

Hmmm, I wonder if it is a negative correlation?????

Violent Video Games for Peace!


2:20 PM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...


A good book that kind of thinks that way is "Killing Monsters" by Gerard Jones. He thinks that video games can contribute to positive development in kids.

2:31 PM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

I know it's OT but Robert Reich's endorsement of reverse racism is blowing up all over the blogosphere. I hope you address this soon Dr. Helen.

5:57 PM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger Arcadia Iris said...

Even as a teenager, my husband has a fondness for violent video games. He also tends to enjoy games where he can play some "evil alignment" character. In the real world, he is a rational, peaceful person who treats others with great kindness and warmth. I've often suspected it's due to venting aggression and indulgin an occasional mean streak with pixel-creatures instead of the real people around him.

6:16 PM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger Danny said...

Helen- there is a Dr Brad Bushman at the Univ of Michigan's Psychology dept who studies this subject. He claims that there is positive correlation between playing violent video games and increase in violence among younger males.
I do not have the background to evaluate his findings, so I will dig up his papers and post the links here in a bit.

If you go to his Recent Publication link and his popular page link you can see/download his papers and articles written for the pop press.

9:08 PM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger Misanthrope said...

Kelly is correct in that her husband uses violent games as a catharsis. I do; the best game I ever played is the original Halo.

10:24 PM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger Terri said...

Ya know ~~ I really hate it when the truth gets in the way of a truly clever supposition :-$

~~ Terri

12:12 AM, January 23, 2009  
Blogger . said...

Kinda makes you wonder why anyone should pay for an "education."

After all, given enough time in life to develop a proper perspective, it becomes obvious that anything which is theorized or even "proven" by our esteemed intelligentsia, is usually disproven within a decade... and a decade after that, the proof that disproved the previous truth, is also proven false...

It kinda seems that going to university means that you are paying GOBS of money while learning from a bunch of idiots who learned their nonsense from another bunch of idiots, and so on... and so on...

It also seems to me that the mechanic's rule of "tighty righty, lefty loosy" holds far more wisdom that ought to be passed on than the volumes of nonsense a modern university seems capable of teaching.

Btw. If witnessing violence on TV, or playing violent video games could make one violent... well, one wonders how people like my parents, who grew up as children/adolescents in Nazi Occupied Europe, could manage to live out their lives without killing anyone - and yet, they were exposed to much REAL violence during their formative years, as were millions and millions of other children who did not turn into crackpot murderers...

But, I guess the answer to that is similar to the academic answer of why parents should not spank misbehaved children in the modern day... BECAUSE THINGS ARE DIFFERENT TODAY THEN THEY WERE BACK THEN! Now there is some academic logic for you! Of course a smacking on the bottom worked back then, because children were so different back then that they were born with green skin and six arms... pulleeze!

Thanks for the brains, Academia. Where would everone be today without your dumbing them down?

4:48 AM, January 23, 2009  
Blogger Nom de Blog said...

In related news, it was discovered that 91% of all serial killers drank water in the 24 hours before killing, indicating that water consumption may be a possible risk factor.

9:57 PM, January 23, 2009  
Blogger Montag said...

I think that it may be the case that participating in violent narratives leads to an increase of violence in narrative or story related things: more violent imagery, more plots about conflict, more imagination of fights, more ninja vocabulary...

I may also have a passive effect in the sense that when I present you with a story about violence, you may not protest its content, used as you are to violent imagery.

Overall, I get the sense that everyone expects results rather rapidly.
I should think that a generation or two is needed before the full effects of exposure to violence becomes violently clear.

6:23 AM, January 26, 2009  

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