Streams

Violent Video Games

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cheryl Olson, public health researcher and co-author of, Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Dodiscusses why she thinks violent video games aren't so bad for kids.

Guests:

Cheryl Olson

Comments [69]

Gerald from Tokyo

I'd like to see a follow-up on the comment that more harm may come from the news reporting of real violence than from fantasy violence in games. It seems to me young minds may suffer more harmful influence from the grisly almost pornographic details that are reported almost nightly about rapes, murder, and psychopathic mayhem. Take all the stories about pedophile priests, for instance. Might not a person with real pedophile tendencies be encouraged by these stories while most of us are repelled by them? The real world offers a lot more support for bad behavior than computer games.

Jun. 29 2011 07:27 PM

Hi. Sorry to come back at such a late time and I don't mean to sneak in another post. I had to leave earlier and I want to reiterate that even Andy's own site linked to a study by 8 scientists that concluded effected behavior by violent video games. Besides, that link, if one google's "violent video games effect" the top of the first page has several studies leading to the same conclusion. It's not correct that there is no one or no evidence on the other side of the guest's.

Jun. 28 2011 10:12 PM
JLS

Gary, the BL Show is not exclusively a debate program, and I tried to emphasis Andy's point about why this particular topic did not need or would have a hard time providing an expert with a counter-argument (while also taking you to task for dismissing Andy's opinion based on his national origin and venting a bit about the "lazy book club" atmosphere in the comments up until then). You never addressed this argument itself, only repeated your support for and assumptions about debate in general. Meanwhile, no one said that the "case was closed" on the matter of violent games and children and that is not what having one guest on a topic means, even if that were the claim the guest was making. This is a news and opinion show, not a party rally; we are all free to disagree, seek out other opinions, etc.

There is not anything elitist about encouraging laypeople to see for themselves what evidence there is for the claim that video games are dangerous to children -- if anything, it is elitist not to trust people to understand it themselves. If you want that information provided in policy debate form then you can get it in the amicus curae briefs and Supreme Court opinions for Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

Andy, I had already seen some, maybe all of the papers you mentioned. Besides the weak link between aggressive behavior and violent games, the things they use to measure aggressive behavior are always... well amusing at least, but not very well connected to violent or criminal acts.

Jun. 28 2011 04:19 PM
Andy from UK

@ Elizabeth

Stay cool, nature and science will find a way.

@ gary from queens

It does sound like you find debating and characterizing others very important. It is therefore a deep and abiding regret that this will be my last response to you. Sadly, I have a very full evening of BBC-based brainwashing ahead this evening so I'll have to cut this short. You see, this is essential because I am an idiot who confuses the scientific method with theological dogma and I need more thought structuring. Sometimes I can't grasp even simple arguments because I share too many topical features with the 911 truthers, climate change deniers, and biblical literalists you've thrown down with in the past. Let's just all hope I'm not someone who prescribes medication, conducts civil engineering stress tests, or writes high-volume trading software for hedge-funds (PROTIP: I may or not be one of these, or it may or not actually matter).

With my head so far up my butt I predictably get overly focused on namedropping seminal writers in the philosophy of science in order to sound like a provider of truth, making sure I have an iron grip truth is important (see what I did there?). In doing so I naturally risk misunderstanding things you want to share about debating and philosophy. I no doubt imagine they are important in some way, but alas, I cannot use causal language correctly so I may never know. I promise you that I will work everyday to expand my learnedness on this one subject and maybe others (I recently learned there are heated debates in other scientific areas like stem-cells). With this aim in mind I will embrace the chance I will be corralled into a higher sphere of enlightenment the betterment of mankind.

I honestly wish you the best in life and share a grave warning about the effects of MMR vaccination. Did you know the MMR has a 0% -> 100% chance of causing autism? You better not vaccinate your offspring just in case. No seriously, if you got this far reading down this post you should probably write Laura Walker a strongly worded letter by certified post threatening to pull your pledge dollars unless Brian is tortured to death for an abhorrent breach of professional conduct.

Jun. 28 2011 02:50 PM
gary from queens

Dear "Andy from UK"

You're a smart fellow. i can't believe you're not grasping my point.

I'm not asking scientists to stray from the science to get into "philosophy". They should debate the science. Peter Duesberg interpreted that same data differently than the CDC cited, and published in PNAS. You debate your differing interpretations.

Senators debated the science of pluripotency in the senate floor in 2006. The truth of each study they cited was part of the debate. That was proper. what was not proper was for Democrats to demogogue the issue: to use Republican opposition to the science (ie- the supposed efficacy of embryonic stem cell research) to allege that they were anti science (for opposing the consensus), and against progress in finding cures for children's diseases etc. Don't confuse the two. A good debate can reveal which side is comparably better. Truth doesnt mean absolute truth. We rely on relative truths more than we can identify absolute truths. That's how we decide on public policy.

You are learned on this one subject. I need to see to what degree you are. another scientist with an opposing interpretation, and perhaps one who cite studies you neglected, would convince me one way or the other. I know many scientists. When they are the only one in the room, they sound like the sole truth teller. And they know it. Just like you "know" it here.

And all I'm telling you is to get your head out of your butt. Understand now?

Jun. 28 2011 01:49 PM

Hey guys, gotta run to work. Hugs to you both.

Jun. 28 2011 01:17 PM
Andy from UK

@ Elizabeth

Darn, you're seducing me to delay my walk outside!

I was making light with the if-then logic that's used by researchers who stick very close to social learning theory - this wouldn't be too out of line for some of them. I am not aware of any commercially available videogame that has that has such an offensive act as an objective - it is covered voyeuristically in news reports and more than a handful of lifetime channel movies. Given that comment was call-in hearsay I don't think it's right to conclude it's true or is representative of violence in games - anymore than lifetime movies or broadcast news.

On your second point, no, I don't think Anderson has changed his mind, I think he signed onto the case with California, which is actually the reason I am commenting on this story at all. Conclusions seem to be sated boldly in this area (more so than emotion/relationships/motivation) and seem to drift *very* far away from what the actual studies show empirically. The researchers that are referenced in the 2003 paper y ou reference are all social learning theorists coming directly from a research tradition forged by Huesmann, if you're interested you can look into their advising/citation tree.

If you really are pressed for time, the Sherry 2007 meta-analysis is pretty accessible, I think it was a book chapter.

@ gary

I'm not coming into this or hanging my hat on this as a scientist, nor am I being elitist - be fair. I think scientists can wander away from quality philosophy of science when they weigh in on policy topics and that the results make this very problematic on this topic. I don't think Dr. Olson has done this. If you look carefully how studies are done by those whose main interests are in media and aggression you will find strong opinions and weak evidence for gaming and when you look at those who "stumble" on the research area you get nonexistent (null evidence) and a lot of head scratching. The latter can lead to awesome research and the former can lead to prohibition.

Jun. 28 2011 01:10 PM
gary from queens

Dear "Andy from UK"

You can post those studies you claim that debate doesnt get at the truth. But you are a scientist, and you are being very sloppy and casual about your terms.

There is no debate in the scientific method. In the actual study. You are testing a hypothesis with a method that does not include "debate". You arrive at "a truth" in the process. One truth, based on the conditions of the study. It answers one question, and it needs verification thought repeated testing.

THAT is not the kind of "truth" i refer to. I'm referring to advocates who interpret the results. They should debate, if they interpret results differently. Debate is our tradition. It is part of our political system for candidates to debate policy. it is the basis of our court system. The adversarial process allows laypeople the best alternative short of reading studies, which few have the time to do. The shortcut of debate, provides the abstract needed for us to make comparisons.

Stop being an elitist. Subject scientists to the rigor of debate----when it affects public policy

Jun. 28 2011 12:51 PM

@Andy, I appreciate your appreciation for science. I am a scientists myself. If I had more time I would read more of the sites you provided. I did notice that one of the studies that you provided, (Anderson, C.) had found in 2003 that "The most recent comprehensive review of the literature on media violence effects— coauthored by eight leading media violence researchers—documents the “unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts” (Anderson et al., 2003, p. 81). Did he change his/her mind?

Jun. 28 2011 12:44 PM
Andy from UK

@ dboy

I agree that it would be excellent if children had less exposure to violence, and I am pretty sure the guest would also agree on that point.

I swear what follows is not a troll: My experience growing up in the tri-state area (now 10 years in the past) was that it was about as hard to personally get ahold of an r-rated movie as a GTA-type game at Blockbuster. If the ruling had been upheld it would have been criminalized more like how hard it was to get booze/smokes/porn -- something that adolescents never get ahold of in NJ before the age of 18 in America.

I will take your suggestion for getting outside, drizzle is letting up and my corgi is itching for a walk in the English countryside... I hope no one indoctrinates me with the BBC, which brings me to:

@ JLS

You need to calm down a bit mate (see what I did there?) and chill with some Karl Popper. Read some of the meta-analyses I linked and take dboy's suggestion to go for a walk.

Jun. 28 2011 12:44 PM

The examples of mushrooms, turtles and masonry misrepresents the topic of this site. The discussion is about, among other examples, a video game in which a player can manipulate an animated character into a hospital to shoot a pregnant woman. It's offensive. If R rated movies are not legally allowed to be viewed by minors, that law should be extended to this media.

Jun. 28 2011 12:31 PM

@ Andy from UK.

Thanks.

I'm wondering, is there something in the title of this episode; VIOLENT Video Games and the issue of CHILDREN that leaves much to deliberate about?

I'm not suggesting we need government to regulate this for us. Parents, on the other hand need to be present enough to make healthy decisions for the children they have been charged to protect.

I would argue that in American culture, in particular, children need less exposure to extremely violent activities rather than more.

It's not really rocket science nor does it require a PhD to figure out.

Jun. 28 2011 12:30 PM
gary from queens

Dear "JLS"

I have not used ad hominens as you allege. But now I am. you are an IDIOT.

1. There is no contradiction in my "conditioned" - "one truth" observation. reread it and employ reading comprehension, if you can muster it.

2. You do not teach science in a HS science class by debating science issues. You teach the orthdoxy in class. You teach the consensus view. We are not discussing what goes into a HS science curriculum. We are discussing what SCIENTISTS should do, and the public forums they should do it in!

Jun. 28 2011 12:27 PM
Andy from UK

@ Elizabeth

Nice :-) … and that's a good question. As I understand it games are reviewed and labeled in a way similar to passive media (non-pornographic). The CA law would have treated games differently.

At the end of the day I hope the science (not opinions) will rule the day. Does playing Mario lead to taking mushrooms/stomping on turtles/plumbing, does Tetris lead to masonry, and GTA to GTA? Some may think so, but their perspective is based on conjecture, not based on the best evidence collected so far.

Jun. 28 2011 12:19 PM
Andy from UK

@ dboy, though was lulzed by your trolling I can answer your serious question: "How much data does one need to confirm an unhealthy activity??"

Depends on whether you think all unhealthy activities exert a uniform negative influence and the extent to which you believe government regulations should be scaled the the negative influence they exert. Given the scientific evidence collected by those who are worried about negative influences goes something like this: Heroin > A bunch of stuff > Violent Movies > Violent Games. It is reasonable to expect violent games get the same style of government regulation for now -- until there is better evidence to the contrary.

Jun. 28 2011 12:03 PM
JLS

You know what, I'm gonna walk myself back a little bit.

I don't know if there is an editorial stance on the matter at the show or station but I am positive that it would be outrageously difficult, if not impossible, to find a credible guest to argue that videogames are dangerous to the youth.

Jun. 28 2011 12:03 PM

@Andy, thank you for your response. I think the question at this point, is why are some forms of media illegal for minors to be exposed to while some are not. Insufficient evidence on the effects of other forms of media is not sufficient justification for the recent ruling. Legislation is routinely decided on precedent. In this case, it was not.

Jun. 28 2011 12:01 PM

There is such a thing as common sense. How much data does one need to confirm an unhealthy activity??

Jun. 28 2011 11:50 AM
Andy from UK

@ Elizabeth

There are most assuredly views on the otherside of this debate, in point of fact they all come from a theoretical perspective called Social Learning Theory. You can look at the friend of the court briefs to find their names.

Who they are (and their theory) really isn't the point though. You can use their research to back-calculate values that show their counterpoint isn't necessarily valid on this point.

The guest wasn't saying violent games are good for people, she was saying that we don't know who they're terrible for. The evidence presented (by those researchers who favored the ban) did not support their conclusion.

Jun. 28 2011 11:39 AM
Andy from UK

@ gary from queens

I think there is pretty interesting scientific evidence in evolutionary biology that suggests "debate" isn't actually a good way of getting to truth. That said, I really suggest reading the actual articles (I've suggested a few by scientists on both sides) or doing a few of your own studies. Unfortunately, the peer review system is stacked against publishing null results so I would not suggest doing this.

@ Elizabeth, I am sorry for arguing by analogy, but sure. My analogy was about violence, not sex. There are only a *very* small handful of studies about sex and games that show results (a likely file-drawer effect).

Both of these meta-analyses are conducted by scientists who have concluded that violent media is bad and violent games are worse. You can compare the effect sizes / covariability between exposure and aggression. From this you can calculate their relative sizes and you find that food Y (games) are less nutritious (incite aggression less) than food X.

food X

Huesmann, L.R., & Eron, L. (1986). Television and the aggressive child: A cross-national comparison. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate

food Y (0-4%)

Anderson, C. (2004). An update on the effects of playing violent video games. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 113-122.

Jun. 28 2011 11:37 AM

WNYC -why didn't you get a guest with an opposing viewpoint? Is JLS correct that there are none? Out of all the people in universities in the U.S. , that's hard to believe. What up WNYC?

Jun. 28 2011 11:35 AM

HAVE A CONVERSATION!

Jun. 28 2011 11:34 AM

A culture of device-adled, isolated zombies...

Jun. 28 2011 11:34 AM

UNPLUG... TUNE-IN!

Jun. 28 2011 11:32 AM
JLS

To be clear: I don't speak for WNYC, I'm just making an observation.

Jun. 28 2011 11:30 AM
JLS

Gary, that is some outrageous ad hominem bull. You even argue with yourself within a single sentence, voicing the assumption that all people from the UK are "conditioned" in a particular manner while decrying the idea that "there is solely ONE truth all the time."

The point is that WNYC made an editorial decision based on the fact that there is no credible opposing argument on this issue. Based on your logic, science teachers would have to "teach the controversy" of evolution and other such nonsense. Some people probably still believe in orgone accumulators, homeopathy is a booming business, but I would expect WNYC would dismiss those things on sight.

The rest of you holding that games are obscene: You probably aren't reading this, you apparently didn't even carefully listen to the segment, but the reason this woman is an expert is because she has spent tons of time and money studying the effect of violent video games on the children who play them. If all you have to argue with that is "I don't see how" or "I don't believe" then you don't have squat.

Jun. 28 2011 11:25 AM

America is a puritanical culture that insists on having a strong defense.

Jun. 28 2011 11:25 AM

@Andy, is your food comparison about the comparison between materials of sexual materials vs. violent materials? Can you explain why one is banned and the other is not? Can you provide any studies stating that kids "absorb more calories" from one rather than the other?

Jun. 28 2011 11:22 AM
Andy from UK

@ Charles Harris from isa

On your education point, here ya go:

http://minecraftteacher.net/

Jun. 28 2011 11:22 AM
gary from queens

Dear "Andy from UK"

I believe in science. Science requires debate. That is the nature of the method of science----to advance by challenging the orthodoxy. it is not the responsibility of the media to pick sides in a dispute in science, anymore than they should select a winner in public policy debates.

Example: I think the 911 truthers are nuts, and their "evidence" is one sided half truths and a lot of fabrication without checking the facts. So how can I favor debate on that subject?! Because debate is the only crucible, or forum, that best yields the truth.

Jun. 28 2011 11:20 AM

RIDE A BICYCLE!

Jun. 28 2011 11:14 AM
Andy from UK

@ Elizabeth, on Olson's funding - it was made clear her studies are funded by NIH/NIMH

@ Valerie, dboy, lesterine

The point isn't that games are bad, it's that they're not so much worse than other forms of media (such that they deserve a different regulatory framework).

Right, let's imagine there are only two kinds of food, food X and food Y. Empirical research shows that for every 100 units of food X you eat you absorb 11 calories. Now let's imagine that the people who did the research that showed there is this kind of connection also studied food Y. Their research on food Y shows that for every 100 units people eat of that they absorb 0 to 4 calories. Do you think that food Y should be regulated more stringently than food X?

Jun. 28 2011 11:13 AM

A female spokesperson for the gaming industry would be more effective than a male spokesman, correct?

Jun. 28 2011 11:12 AM
Laura from Brooklyn

This woman was absolutely infuriating to listen to. I don't believe these games are an outlet for violent behavior, I think they only aid fantasies and in some cases plant them in the youth. When I have children I want them to have a sensitivity for humanity.

Jun. 28 2011 11:11 AM
Charles Harris from isa

How about making video games educational. If there is a war ofra chase a great chance to build in a geography lession or a history of how and why the war--give points for the right answer.

Actually we are opting for polution of the young mind. A video game is not a free speech issue.

Jun. 28 2011 11:09 AM

PLAY A SPORT!

Jun. 28 2011 11:07 AM
lesterine from manhattan


i don't have children, but there is NO WAY IN HELL that my children would ever be allowed to use ANY violent video game in my home. ever, period.

i agree with jgarbuz on some important points. especially that contemporary american families are very weak units consuming and then discarding everything they want without regard to it's consequence and meaning.

as if americans aren't satisfied with bombing and killing LOTS of people all over the world, some for good cause but still killing many innocent people, they have to ENTERTAIN themselves and their children at home with it.

it's a gross way to get some momentary jollies, regardless of whether it's constitutionally protected.

Jun. 28 2011 11:07 AM

We've tried to remove sex and violence from film, TV, and video games. In each and every case, the "solution" was for each industry to implement some ratings system - AND YET sex and violence still exist in all three.

Give me a break.

This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or freedom of the press, but everything to do with freedom of pleasure (a right not guaranteed in the Constitution) - and clearly the vox populi favors sex and violence.

Jun. 28 2011 11:07 AM
Valerie from NYC

I don't understand how you can divorce video game behavior from real life. I have a 17 year old and I argued with him for years about video games and the types of things video games allowed him to do. He was allowed to play RPG videos but nothing with guns. Why would anyone think it is "funny" or "entertaining" to shoot, rape or maim? That is my problem with video games. Do parents not discuss this behavior with their kids and the larger issue of acceptable behavior and ethics in real life and our society?

Jun. 28 2011 11:07 AM

I'd rather have my kid looking at porn!

This stuff is GARBAGE!

Jun. 28 2011 11:06 AM
Andy from UK

@ Nicole

Here you go.

Sherry, J. (2007). Violent video games and aggression: Why can’t we find links? In R. Preiss, B. Gayle, N. Burrell, M. Allen, & J. Bryant (Eds.), Mass media effects research: Advances through meta-analysis (pp. 231-248). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Jun. 28 2011 11:05 AM
Andy from UK

@ gary, WNYC adds the "from" to link my name to the field "location" I'm not a UK native.

I want to be clear that I don't think violent games are good but there isn't really an empirical case here for calling for a ban like the CA law. Unlike climate change, the dominant view has been (likely incorrect) that there is a critically important link. If you read past the abstracts on articles in this literature (and I encourage you to) there really isn't evidence to have a debate.

Jun. 28 2011 11:04 AM

@Em - excellent point. The only rationale I can think of why this violence is legally available to kids while sexual material is not; is that American culture promotes violence for defense reasons. Either make porn legally available to kids or make these violent games illegal. OR, make porn legal and make the violent games illegal because what is worse, sex or murder?

Jun. 28 2011 11:03 AM

BUILD SOMETHING!

Jun. 28 2011 11:03 AM
Harold Goldberg

I contribute occasionally to NPR's Morning Edition and have written the narrative history of games, All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

Recently, I spoke to a group of so-called mommy bloggers about how they deal with the violence in videogames issue.

I suggested that they use the parental controls that are part of most videogames on the market today.

Most were savvy and smart and already aware of parental controls. But they didn't know that even Mature-rated games like L.A. Noire have parental controls.

It's important to know that.

Jun. 28 2011 11:03 AM
Nicole

Your guest is stating a lot of her opinion only - what are the data?

Jun. 28 2011 11:01 AM
Em

Isn't it convenient that the "ideas" in these games are actually important tools in training potential army recruits? The army itself has directly promoted certain games. This decision didn't surprise me at all. This woman is a tool, but I'm sure she's heard that plenty of times. Eve was right on the ball.

Jun. 28 2011 11:01 AM
benjoya from brooklyn

nice way to avoid that last question. that woman wrote a column for the times? this civilization is doomed.

Jun. 28 2011 11:00 AM
jm

Hahaha "good kids!"

I can definitely see both sides, and don't mind if kids have an outlet for violent tendencies (girls have them too, folks). I don't appreciate the sexist nature of such titles as Grand Theft Auto, but prefer to do my "killing" with games that offer more fantasy-based male/female avatars.

Jun. 28 2011 11:00 AM

Overall, on average, I think video games actually reduces the amount of actual teenage delinquency and violence, because it is a virtual reality OUTLET for such negative, criminal impulses.

Jun. 28 2011 11:00 AM

PLAY MUSIC!

Jun. 28 2011 10:59 AM
Aaron

Even if video games make it to total immersion- they are still a game. Games are where we can act out all of our urges (especially the ugly ones) in a safe place.
The current debate is operation on the assumption that children and adult gamers don't know the difference between fantasy and reality.

Jun. 28 2011 10:59 AM

Precisely, Brian: point on pregnant woman shooting vs. girlie mag. Unbelievable. Atrocious. No offense to your guest but is she backed by the gaming industry?

Jun. 28 2011 10:59 AM

READ A BOOK!

Jun. 28 2011 10:59 AM
Elaine from Baltimore

Mad mag for the current generation? While kids may not re-enact the violence in these "games" I think it's foolish to think we are not desensitizing ourselves and our children by viewing these images.

Jun. 28 2011 10:58 AM
John A.

Mad magazine was once restricted and had to reform itself in order to be sold.
-
Somebody, please, someday recant the Abilities states and parents have to control the morality that effects their children.

Jun. 28 2011 10:58 AM
Deb from brooklyn from Brooklyn

The courts missed making the point that video games are not the equivalent of violence in literature and fairy tales where the reader has to visualize using their imagination but that actually seeing violent acts, as in movies, over and over again blurs the the line of reality and fiction for kids who don't have strong familial role models. Children are not allowed in R rated movies without a parent. In that same vein, children should not be able to buy violent video games on their own.

Jun. 28 2011 10:57 AM
Jason from Secaucus

What about the development to the child's sensibilities? Are these games helping to desensitize them to violence?

Jun. 28 2011 10:55 AM
Brenda from Someset, NJ

My brothers have been very much into games since they were young. My parents always told them that they couldn't get the violent games, so "they didn't". They were such frequent renters/buyers that the people who worked there were their friends, and those friend would give them the games. In fact, one of my brothers dated a girl who worked there and she would get him the games. Then when the parents are not home, that is when the games are played. I do think it changes their attitude, to bad most of the time, and it makes them think that violence is cool.

Jun. 28 2011 10:55 AM
MP from Brooklyn

I haven't studied this ruling closely, but I have to say I am a bit baffled. You can't legally sell pornography to minors - isn't this almost exactly analogous? It's fine for consenting adults, but not for minors without parental consent?

Jun. 28 2011 10:54 AM
Tom from DC from DC

How are these violent video games not obscene? We is sex taboo but violence not? This is definately a cultural issue because on its face it appears hypocritical to bar one but not the other.

Jun. 28 2011 10:51 AM
Tom from Toronto

Brian, you goofed. How about rephrasing the intro "..if you are over 55 video games probably sound like this..."

Where did you pull the age 35 from??

Jun. 28 2011 10:49 AM
gary from queens

Dear "Andy from UK",

When the court is closely split along non-ideological lines, perhaps that means there is some efficacy to the opposing argument. I don't know. That is not the point. As I said, I side with the guest.

Let me make the point. Especially for someone like you who has been conditioned----with your nation's strict speech codes and government-run, behemoth "news" and entertainment agency (BBC)---to think there is solely ONE truth all the time.

The point is that the questioning of any science issue should not be deemed closed. That is when progress ends. That is when the "science" of the issue becomes dogma, like what occurred with climate change, stem cell research, vaccination, fluoridation, and the supreme example, HIV=AIDS.

Jun. 28 2011 10:47 AM
Andy from UK

@ Elizabeth, these are a few citations, between them you get an average of 0-4% (a d ~ .08) link between violent gaming and aggression across a few different metrics.

Anderson, C. (2004). An update on the effects of playing violent video games. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 113-122.

Ferguson, C. J. (2007). Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12, 470-482.

Ferguson, C. J. (2007). The good, the bad and the ugly: A meta-analytic review of posi- tive and negative effects of violent video games. Psychiatric Quarterly, 78, 309-316.

Sherry, J. (2007). Violent video games and aggression: Why can’t we find links? In R. Preiss, B. Gayle, N. Burrell, M. Allen, & J. Bryant (Eds.), Mass media effects research: Advances through meta-analysis (pp. 231-248). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Jun. 28 2011 10:45 AM

@Andy, thank you. Anwers my question precisely. Can you site the study you mentioned?

Jun. 28 2011 10:38 AM

I heard, "insightment" is one of three bases by which speech can be restricted. Can it not be proved, through psychological testing, that the violence of the video games insights violence and/or other deleterious behavior serious enough for restriction?

Jun. 28 2011 10:27 AM
Andy from UK

@ gary; There really isn't a scientifically defensible counterpoint to the work Dr. Olson was referencing. The average effect size relating passive media violence is medium-to-low (Cohen's d ~ .30) and the effect sizes for studies focused on violence in gaming conducted by scientists who sided with the rejected CA law are nearly nonexistent (d ~ .08). This empirically replicable difference undermines the basic assumption that games have a verifiable negative effect that is new.

Jun. 28 2011 10:23 AM

Video games are wonderful for seniors like myself. They are great for maintaining hand/eye coordination, and just good mental exercise with the all the puzzles, not to mention the adrenaline rushes you get under virtual reality combat. I recommend that more oldsters try to learn how to play video games, which today is a larger industry than Hollywood.

But I agree that there are certain particularly EGREGIOUS titles, such as Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and Manhunt, and others of that ilk in which the gruesome over the top violence and criminality is indeed beyond the pale, and might negatively influence low IQ children under age 18. But the same could be said for mindless movies, and I recall was said of blood-curdling comics in the '50s when I was growing up.

I do think younger children should be protected, primarily by parents who should do their due diligence. Unfortunately, families today are so weak that many just can't take the time or make the effort to keep tabs on what their kids are doing. But this is nothing new either.

Jun. 28 2011 09:58 AM
gary from queens

I agree with the guest.

But on any contentious issue, counterpoint is necessary. A moderator cannot do a decent job of rebutting an expert. You need an expert with an opposing view.

Along with the failure to provide counterpoint, my other criticism---if I can be further constructive---of the show if the rediculous fidelity to keeping to each issues' discussion to 20 min. on average.

Even complex issues that warrant the extra time, especially if there was counterpoint!

Jun. 28 2011 09:53 AM

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