Game Violence Researcher Rips Grand Theft Childhood Book

While Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson’s recent book Grand Theft Childhood has given cheer to video gamers (and the video game industry), a longtime media violence researcher strongly disagrees with the authors’ conclusion that violent games aren’t all that bad for younger players.

In an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press, University of Michigan professor Brad Bushman writes:

Kutner and Olson’s advice to parents is particulary puzzling since their own data suggest that such games are linked to aggressive behavior… Although laboratory experiments can be used to establish cause-effect relationships, they quickly dismiss most lab studies as artificial and invalid.


I strongly disagree. Consider a laboratory experiment I recently conducted… Boys about 14 years old were randomly assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 minutes… Next, they completed a noise blast task, with the winner blasting the loser with a noise…


The boys were told that inflicting higher noise levels could cause “permanent hearing damage” to their partners… These boys were even willing to give another boy noise levels loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage…


Violent video games are not the only risk factor for aggression, or even the most important factor, but they are definitely not a trivial factor…

Bushman was among the authors of the American Psychological Association’s 2005 resolution which held that there is an increase in aggression following violent video game play. Bushman also participated in a 2007 study which found correlation between violent Biblical passages and aggression. He is also one of controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson’s expert witnesses in an Alabama lawsuit alleging that an 18-year-old’s murder of two police officers and a dispatcher was motivated by playing Grand Theft Auto.

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  1. desperad0 says:

    Thanks good job;

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing travesti or little and need to start saving costs. and dizi izle


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.


  2. oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  3. Anonymous says:

    those kids probly knew he was just bluffing and he wouldnt dare make them lose their hearing

  4. jccalhoun says:

    This guy has co-authored at least a dozen papers with Craig Anderson.  That automatically makes me discount anything he says.  Craig Anderson has never met a form of media that he didn’t think caused "agression" and yet he has never (as far as I’ve read) bothered to define what he means by agression. 



  5. Jack Thompson, Attorney ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Brad Bushman is correct in noting that the authors’ own data rebuts their conclusions.  

    I’m off to Utah to be with people who understand there is such a thing as truth.  Dennis McCauley, on the other hand, is stuck in Philadelphia where the youth crime rate is soaring in part because of video game play.  Poor guy, he hears the gun fire and thinks its just the Fourth of July all year round.  Duh.

    Jack Thompson, Attorney and You’re Not



  6. bpm195 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Not to side with Bushman, but the excerpt is unfair. The original article indicates the the boys who played violent video games were willing to use damaging noise blasts, but the excerpt is edits this portion out making it seem like all the boys were going to damaging levels.

  7. the1jeffy says:

    Except that once again, Asshat Bushman conveniently ‘forgets’ (for the sake of his professional reputation) that the noise blast is easily associated with the game (not video game) the kids were playing.  The primate/mammalian ‘play’ mentality sometimes is violent.  We wrestle each other, etc.  But it’s up to parents to monitor such play, and draw the line before it goes too far – thus teaching kids restraint.

    It always come back to parenting, which really just a series of teaching moments.  Yes, if you let the video game console teach your kids their life lessons, that is an issue.  But to pretend that parenting isn’t more important than video games on a developing kid’s psyche is just absurd.  And when you get into the realm of absurd, you get to testify on Jack Thompsons behalf.

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  8. Tristram says:

    Yeah, I definetly become more violent when playing games.  For instance, when I was trying to do the stupid remote control vehical missions in Vice City and San Andreas I became very violent.  Of course, this was due to frustration.  I think that any of these studies is marred by the fact that…video games are hard.  And frustrating.  And when we are frustrated, most of us take it out on those around us.  Anyone remember telling their sibling "you made me die" when they were playing super mario brothers on the NES?  So yeah, kids, especially boys, will act more agressivly after playing video games.  But no study can show that violence lasting over the course days, much less weeks or years.

  9. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Are you REALLY Jack Thompson, or just an impersonator? Who cares, either way you’re a complete troll.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Let’s disregard the videogame aspect entirely for a moment. Suppose you hand a 14 year old boy an air horn. What do you suppose he will do? Blow it as long as he can, of course, for the same reason he’d have a blast (pun intended) with firecrackers, shoot paintballs at squirrels in the backyard, or any number of things that 14 year old boys, as boys, and as 14 year olds, typically do.

  11. Jack Wessels says:

    Truth, huh? Isn’t lying partly what got you into this whole disbarment thing in the first place?

    I think the word you’re looking for is "truthiness."

    I wonder if JT will still get awards like this one after the disbarment is official. I kinda doubt it.

    Jack Wessels, Intelligent Human Being and You’re Not

  12. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    And have you yet proved that crime is up in Philadelphia or any other city for that matter because of video games?  You haven’t?  Then kindly shut the hell up until you do sweetheart.

  13. Apparently this guy never heard of the old experiments where the researcher told the person to press a button to shock somebody in another room, with lethal doses of electricity. It’s all based on authority, and kids would probably listen to a researcher much more than their parents.

    I can’t remember the name of the experiment, but I’m sure its easy to find on Wikipedia.

  14. DavCube ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    "Boys about 14 years old were randomly assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 minutes…"

    WOW. 20 MINUTES.

    Sorry for the all caps, but its just… wow. This is beyond stupid. How about you prove an effect that lasts over a DAY. ONE SINGLE DAY. Then you might actually take half a baby step towards what you’re trying to achieve.

  15. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    I’m reading Grand Theft Childhood during my commute right now. I’m in chapter 3 or 4 at the moment and the book has already managed to ridicule research that makes conclusions on how long someone blasts an airhorn after violent video game play half a dozen times.

    Me thinks this whole thing is much more about sour grapes than anything else.

    His comment about Kutner and Olson’s data linking violent video game play to aggressive behavior is a classic out-of-context quote. He conveniently omits to mention that NOT playing video games at all is also linked to aggressive behavior based on Kutner’s and Olson’s research.

    Even more to the point he (purposedly?) muddles the distinction between short term aggressive behavior (e.g. over-excited kids) and long term aggressive behavior.

    And finally he’s using a word "linked" implying "causation". He knows full well that the link can be in either direction, e.g. already aggressive children seek out violent video games or playing violent video games caused kids to become more violent, but chooses to not specifically mention that. The reader is left with an assumption that the link is of the latter kind (video games cause violent behavior).

    No wonder Kutner and Olson wrote extensively about how inadequate and misleading the existing research is.

  16. EmeraldDragon says:

    I think you should look up the Milgram Experament and the Stanford Prison Experament as well.

  17. EmeraldDragon says:

    I’m thinking this guy never heard of the Milgram Experament or the Stanford Prison Experament.

  18. DarknessDeku. says:

    You might want to fix your last line Mr. Thompson.  It should read:

    Jack Thompson, Nearly Finished Attorney

  19. black manta says:

    Yeah, I’m afraid it’s Jack alright.  There’s no mistaking that smug arrogance.  Looks like he somehow got around the ban as evidenced by the absence of "/" in his posts.

    Yeah, Jack, enjoy your time with the sheeple and your fellow douchebag Glenn Beck.  I wonder though how they’d feel when they hear you’re about to be disbarred?

    Me, I’ll be celebrating my freedom shooting off fireworks in my backyard (which are probably illegal anyway).   Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


    Black Manta, Friend to Porn Stars and You’re Not.

  20. Kincyr says:

    Brad Bushman also rips your religion Jack. Think about that! Oh, I forgot! Religion frees you of all thought.

    岩「…Ace beats Jack」

  21. TheEggplant ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Here in UTAH Jack, The only ones who believe you’re lies to be truth are the ones with their fingers stuck in their ears signing hymns as loud as they can.

    Most of us aren’t the backwards fools some would take us for.

    The light of knowlegde will illuminate the darkest of thoughts & zealots, like yourself, have been on the decline since the 16th century.

    We will not let hate and fear control our lives.

  22. shady8x says:

    Oh my god, those horrible evil boys were willing to cause hearing damage!!!

    I guess the

    Wasn’t on your curriculum?

    The majority of people will cause horrible pain and or death to other innocent human beigns if an authority figure such as a guy in a lab coat tells them to do it…

    This experiment was perfomed before any video games ever existed so to this researcher.

    Shut the hell up, obviously those kids did what you told them since kids are more easily convinced to do something then the adults in the experiment that I mentioned…

  23. Paul Kerton ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Please don’t tell me he’s using the Milgram Experiment as violent video game proof?!? Cause thats how it reads to me.

    Either he is very stupid, or he thinks we are. I am very tempted to email him and lambast him!

  24. Wyvern says:

    14 year olds are smart enough, or at least think they’re smart enough, to realise that there’s no way in hell they would be given something that could cause permenant damage and then be told it could.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I’m calling bull**** on this wannabe.  No attorney uses the word "duh", not even a deranged egotistical one.

  26. Dog Welder says:

    Wait.  This guy subjected kids to POTENTIAL HEARING LOSS for the sake of a STUDY?  Honestly here, what an absolute douchebag.  Maybe the authorities should be called for child abuse here.  (And I’m being serious on that.)

  27. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You must be new here.  Welcome.  And yes that really is Jack if you are wondering.  He uses phrases like that all the time, even in his legal documents.  If you don’t believe me look for Jack’s "Children’s book for adults".

  28. mogbert says:

    Basically, person who has staked his name on claims that video game violence causes aggression disagrees with people who says they don’t. He bases his claims by saying that his study shows they do. How about a control group that didn’t play video games? Was that in there? What kind of non-violent game? A frustrating non-violent game?

    Let’s see how those kids react to Brain Age:





    That’s it, I’m takin’ this other mutha’s hearing OUT!

    His scientific study is flawed in so many ways, his right to have his public statements taken seriously should be revoked.

  29. Haggard says:

    I bet in these studies they make them play CoD4 at the highest difficulty with a broken mouse.. that would sure increase aggression 😛

  30. Dog Welder says:


    Weren’t you just crying to Judge Tunis (yet again) that all of these court appearances meant you couldn’t spend time with your sick wife, yet here you are rushing off all the way across the country to get some meaningless award?  Where the hell are you priorities, man?  Or were you just trying to gain sympathy from the court (yet again)?

    You’re a sham, Thompson.


  31. HunterD says:

     The problem with all these "studies" is that they only test short term.

    Of course things effect you short term.

    A guy gets in an argument with his wife in the morning, he’s more likely to cut off a guy in traffic on the way to work that day.

    It doesn’t mean he’s more likely to do it the day after, and every other day for the rest of his life.

    To say games make people more violent long term is like saying if someones blood sugar is high after eating 20 Pixie Sticks, then they will be diabetic for the rest of their life.


  32. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Is that test a variation of an old psycological test about evil made years ago in what a person gives electroshocks to another one if he or she gives a wrong answer, even if they knew a strong shock would cause his/her death?

    I thouht that kind of tests were banned.

    —————————————————————————- The cynical side of videogames (spanish only):

  33. nightwng2000 says:

    Aw, poor baby!  Is your little baffoonish study that makes no intelligent sense whatsoever being dismissed?  Aw! 

    Maybe you could do one on how dogs making loud noises will make airplanes fall out of the sky next.

    I’m sure it will be epic… in your own mind.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  34. cppcrusader says:

    I remember that "study".  It was so fundamentally flawed that calling it a "study" is being gracious.  It was more like "High School Freshman BS Science Project I came up with to play videogames for homework".


  35. RJ says:

    Could it bet that teenage boys being teenage boys will play pratical jokes on each other.  So whether or not they played violent video games or not during the study, I’ll bet they still would have blasted the others with a much louder blast than required.  At 14yo all of my friends would have done the same thing too.  Oops, that would have been blamed on Pong or whatever simple game was out at that time.

  36. DarkTetsuya says:


    He is also one of controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson’s expert witnesses in an Alabama lawsuit alleging that an 18-year-old’s murder of two police officers and a dispatcher was motivated by playing Grand Theft Auto.

    So much for his credentials. 😛


  37. Krono says:

    Wasn’t that laboratory experiment of his the one where a fraction of a second increase in duration was taken as evidence of an increase in agression? Or am I thinking of a different one?

    Either way,  just by what was written in the article, I wouldn’t give his experiment much credit. He makes it out as all shocking that those boys were willing to possibly cause hearing damage, yet ignores the fact that he was the one telling to do it as part of the study, so of course they’d be willing.


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