Earlier today GamePolitics reported on a study published in the journal Pediatrics which details U.S. and Japanese longitudinal studies suggesting that violent video game play leads to increased aggression in children.
Of the research, Iowa State professor Craig Anderson, whose work constitutes the American segment of the report, said:
We now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents.
But, in a letter to Pediatrics, Christopher Ferguson, a researcher at Texas A&M International University, has called the Anderson study into question. Ferguson claims that the research contains "numerous flaws" and disputes its meaningfulness. Ferguson writes:
In the literature review the authors suggest that research on video game violence is consistent when this is hardly the case. The authors here simply ignore a wide body of research which conflicts with their views…
The authors fail to control for relevant "third" variables that could easily explain the weak correlations that they find. Family violence exposure for instance, peer group influences, certainly genetic influences on aggressive behavior are just a few relevant variables that ought either be controlled or at minimum acknowledged as alternate causal agents for (very small) link between video games and aggression…
Lastly the authors link their results to youth violence in ways that are misleading and irresponsible. The authors do not measure youth violence in their study. The [research tool used] is not a violence measure, nor does it even measure pathological aggression. Rather this measure asks for hypothetical responses to potential aggressive situations, not actual aggressive behaviors.