Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

November 5, 2008 -

Earlier this week GamePolitics reported on a new study linking violent video games to aggression in young people. The study detailed research conducted in both the United States and Japan. Of the data, Dr. Craig Anderson of Iowa State University proclaimed, "We now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents."

GamePolitics also reported on a rebuttal of sorts by Dr. Christopher Ferguson (left), whose objections were published in a letter to Pediatrics, the same journal which published the Anderson study.

PC World's Matt Peckham scored an interview with Ferguson, who expands on his objections to Anderson's work:

[Something] that they attempted to do with this study, and I think it reflects some of their irritation with the criticisms or counter-arguments that they've encountered, is this U.S., Japan comparison. People point out all the time that Japan is saturated with violent media, probably more, if anything, than the United States. They've got the hentai, the sexualized violence, and all that kind of stuff, and yet they're a very low violent crime society. So the argument is if violent media causes aggressiveness, how come it's not doing it in Japan?

 

...some of my own research that I've done, I've found that controlling for family violence exposure pretty much wipes out any relationship between violent games and aggression, so the correlation is essentially zero once you control for family violence. They didn't do that in this study, which is a significant concern for me...

I would certainly say there's an agenda here... what Craig Anderson argues in his paper, he then goes into describing youth violence, talking about how serious a public concern youth violence is. [But] He doesn't measure youth violence in his study. He doesn't measure anything even close to it. The aggression measure he uses is not a behavioral measure, it doesn't measure aggressive behaviors. It doesn't predict youth violence. So they're engaging in hyperbole that is not warranted by the results of their study, and that to me say there's clearly an agenda.

Hit the link for part one (of two) of the full interview


Comments

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

I like what he says, except for one correction.

Hentai isn't simply "sexualized violence." I can think of numerous titles that are not violent. It's just sexual, with sometimes, violence mixed in, or with some violence, but not like, really violent. Hentai is supposed to be sexual above anything, it's animated porn.

But, I get what he's saying, I just thought I'd point that out.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Matt Peckham hits the mark pretty darn close

Shobidoo, the hardcore gamer

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

I'd like to agree with Dr. Ferguson, but there's one major flaw in his rebuttal. He writes as though there was only one agression measure across the studies, when in fact there were three different ones. The measure Dr. Anderson used for his portion of the study was the observation of violent behaviour by teachers/associates of the students (if I remember correctly). The Buss-Perry measure cited by Dr. Ferguson was used in only one of the Japanese studies.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

 

Just want to add something to prove that Anderson was wrong. 

 

http://www.joystiq.com/2008/11/05/gtaiv-hijacks-top-spot-in-japan-sales-chart/

I like to see how Anderson react to this violent game being #1.

 

But next time, somebody tried to pull off this thing like Anderson did, use that link.  use the 2 game banned in Japan.  Use RE4 censored for the Japanese version.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Well, would you look at that. Controlling family violence exposure wipes out the correlation between violent games and agression. Who would have thought that the family affected a kids behavior? *eyeroll*

At least we have someone with evidence that games don't cause violent behavior.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

I guess many ppl here is missing the point

the point is not that is bad to play VGs per se but mostly focused around the physical stress condition that inevitably we all fall playng challenging games (violent or not).

since here we are all gamers we should remember how many times we felt hard neck muscle soreness after many hours on very challenging games, and that's a sign of the same kind of stress we could take working or study hard - well that kind of stress, expecially if repetitive, could damge our health, so maybe the 'science' men say lot of fuss but this is a fact that nobody can deny.

 

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Do any of you know what this study calls 'aggressive games?' I mean, are we talking about Drakensang, GTA4, COD4, or adventure games...though these games tend be leave me more frustrated than aggressive when I can't figure out the clever and cunning puzzles in them.

 

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

COD4: Adventure

You are in an German farm house. There is a table here with old food. The shelves are all bare. There is an exit to the North and windows to the East and West.

There is a Nazi here.

> shoot nazi

I don't understand.

The Nazi shoots you with his GUN for 10 damage.

There is an exit to the North and windows to the East and West.

There is a Nazi here.

> use gun on nazi

You shoot the Nazi with your GUN for 15 damage.

The Nazi is dead.

There is an exit to the North and windows to the East and West.

There is a Dead Nazi here.

> take bullets

I don't understand.

There is an exit to the North and windows to the East and West.

There is a Dead Nazi here.

> examine dead nazi

You find a GUN.

There is an exit to the North and windows to the East and West.

There is a Dead Nazi here.

> examine gun

You find BULLETS.

There is an exit to the North and windows to the East and West.

There is a Dead Nazi here.

> take bullets

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

hah pretty brainless uh? how relaxing though...

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Darn it, I was trying to switch to plain test to take out the extra line breaks that rich text and make it not take up so much space, but I think once you get replies it doesn't let you edit it.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Bloody good though mate, after the uni exams finish I'd be tempted to make that game (or something similar to avoid copyright). "First Person Shooter: The Text Adventure"...

Also: OMG! N0 Natzees in C0d4! It's terrawrists u n00b!

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Yay for learning.

Knowledge is power!

Magic Taco

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Ok, since I got the feeling that Jack Thompson is going to post in this article, I'll just say my speill now.

1. Fuck off, we don't care what you have to say nor did we ever care

2. Don't waste anyone's time with bs information that you can't prove.

3. Get back to work.. oh wait your a hobo now.

Got two essays to write and one of them has actually to do with Disbarment.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Dr. Ferguson continues to show that Craig Anderson's research is nothing but a fraud.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Solidarity for the Saints = No retreat, no surrender. 2013 = Saints' revenge on the NFL. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

The fact is that most kids naturally age out of this kind of behaviour. There are very few who actually go on to lead violent lifestyles (something like 10%).

Like this guy said, there are outside factors that keep kids from being violent. Another huge one is a supportive school environment if their family life is bad. School attachment is a huge predictor in kids ceasing delinquent and violent behaviour. Games have little, if anything, to do with it.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

To tell the truth, I don't think the original study was measuring "behavior" or "violence." I think he was mostly looking at aggressive thoughts, which everyone here has on a regular basis. HOwever, I contend that violent thought becoming violent action is more a matter of growing up in a violent environment. Even then, if the kid is strong enough he can lead a nonviolent life. My step father used to beat me, I've had welts from fly swatters, belts, and fresh cherry wood switches, I've even had a broken bone before (brother got stitches from step father). I've been considered elite in Quake III, I've watched some of the worst that Japan has to offer (even trying to learn Japanese).

And yet I'm one of the least violent people you'll ever meet. Last time I struck someone was 16 years ago, and it was in self defense (I was being lifted off the ground). I have a shotgun, but bought it for my wife for when I have to work late (or early, depending on how you see the graveyard shift). She keeps the gun.

I should be a frothing lunatic by now by their estimation, but I believe that a person is who they ARE, not who they were, not where they came from, not how they were raised. I'm responsible for my own actions, and I chose not to hurt anyone around me. Also, that's the main reason that I've never gotten drunk and never done any drugs, I don't want to lose the control that I have.

See I think that is the main difference. You grow up watching GI Joe and you get taught that no one ever get's hurt, guns aren't that dangerous, you watch Tom and Jerry and you learn that no matter what damage is done it fixes quickly, both of these have there complaints but are generally accpeted as safe children programming. They teach general rules, that later you find out are wrong. But the important thing they do is shield you from reality, whether that is good or bad is debateable. Personally I don't like it because reality is a hard pill to swallow all at once.

You watch anime, and you learn that even hitting someone too hard with your hand can kill them, and once they are dead, they don't come back. In American cartoons, they don't deal with death. In Japanese cartoons it's a common theme. For example, the second and third seasons of Digimon (of all things) deals with how different people dealt with the death of their loved ones, how divorce affected the children, and other hard hitting things that Ameican cartoons wouldn't touch without calling it a "very special episode" then moving on shortly thereafter.

Count on your fingers the number of times in American cartoons that a character shows true, deep anguish and remorse for killing someone. In Anime, it's almost a common theme. Shoot, Trigun is almost based around that theme. In DBZ Goku does everything he can to fight bad guys without killing them, and often they become good guys later. When he does have to kill someone, it is with deep regret, and he is moved to tears that he wasn't able to get through to them and make them stop without resorting to killing them.

Violence isn't something that should be hidden, it is something to be confronted. Every person has the capacity for violence and will be tempted to use said capacity throughout their lives. If you wait until they are 18 to try and teach them this, then you may already be several years too late. Understanding it and it's consequenses is more important then hiding it and pretending that it doesn't happen and will help a person to control themselves .

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

That's pretty much what I'm saying.

However, even though it didn't measure violent behaviour but aggressive thoughts, and just called it aggression in the study. The contention is going to be that aggression is equal to violent behaviour, so I'm saying that regardles of what you're measuring, most kids age out of violent behaviour just due to growing up (or some other factor... no one actually knows why).

And yes, the Japanese view death very differently than western cultures which could also be super important.

Exposure to family violence is defintiely a huge predictor of violence in life, but there are other factors that can absolutely nullify it. And hey, some people just don't become violent regardless of those facts.

Regardless, there are huge amounts of variables that were not addressed in the study, clearly.

Edit: And this study also doesn't take the James-Lange theory into account. Physiological response to stimuli comes before emotion. They can measure physiology all they want, but it's not going to tell you shit about emotion. This is exactly why lie detectors don't work.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Nobody bothers with actually studying any of this.

Oh, and that is true with Japan about violence. Detective Conan (which has graphic murder on a regular basis) is for kids in Japan but for adults in America. (It's also called Case Closed in America, but I hate the dub names and the name 'Case Closed.')

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

I like where this guy's head is at. Be comprehensive in your studies people! Isn't that what scientists are supposed to do? Cover all angles?

 

Or as they put it in Half Baked, "Would a scientist just leave the forms laying around? Well, they ARE scientists after all."

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

That's implying that Psychology is a real science.  Sure, they got some chemistry to back them up and what not, but I find it hard to call anything a science when the root of what they're trying to get at is the question "how do you feel right now?"

That said, they still seem to be more dilligent and spot on more often than either economists or climatologists.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

First, you're assuming that "How do you feel right now?" is the only question asked by psychology, which is not, and has never been true. Second, you're assuming that that is an invalid question for scientific inquiry. While it's true that observation of thought processes is dependant on the potentially unreliable individual thinking them, it's not impossible to gather useful data.


If we survey 100 or so people, with similar backgrounds, income, interests, home lives, etc and ask them to rate their happiness on a 1-to-10 scale, guess what? They'll give similar responses. We now have a baseline measure for happiness within that group and can correlate other factors with happiness by using the same survey. Yes, correlation does not equal causation, but if you apply this to enough people and find common factors, you're damn close to figuring  what the actual causes are. If we can successfully measure something as subjective as happiness, why can't we accurately measure "how do you feel right now?"?

I'm not commenting on the study with this example, just your post.

Also, I'm only an undergrad.

Finally, I love your dig at climatologists at the end of that post. I suppose you have the four years of education and the mathematical background to understand their research? Judging them on the basis of biased and dumbed down articles by reporters who don't understand the subject isn't a good way to decide on the validity of their research.

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Taking bets  on JT's return

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: Prof Questions New Violence Study in PC World Interview

Don't say such words.  We never want him to return.

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NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldEZacharyKnight : Lemme ask you a question. We have people who cling to walls, people who fire lasers from their eyes, people who can shapeshift....and yet fabric needs to be upheld to RL physics?09/17/2014 - 6:54pm
james_fudgebody paint?09/17/2014 - 5:33pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I stand corrected on the buttcrack thing. Still, I know of no fabric that actually does that.09/17/2014 - 5:05pm
Andrew EisenSo... it's unethical to discuss the ethics surrounding public interest vs. personal privacy?09/17/2014 - 4:45pm
prh99The source for the game was just released not long ago, it's at https://github.com/keendreams/keen09/17/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99An Indiegogo champagin bought the rights to the early 90's game Keen Dreams to make it open source and release it on GOG etc. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally09/17/2014 - 4:42pm
james_fudgeAlso http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite09/17/2014 - 4:29pm
Andrew EisenI read the Kotaku story. Nowhere does it say anything close to "Gamers are white bigoted sexist losers." It's commenting specifically on the crap being slung at people discussing gender issues in games. So, what's the problem?09/17/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenYeah, I can imagine Spiderwoman posed like in your second link.09/17/2014 - 4:00pm
Andrew EisenThat's not the same pose. Spiderman (who is wearing an actual outfit rather than body paint) is crouched low to the ground. Kinda like a spider! Spiderwoman has her butt up in the air like she's waiting to be mounted.09/17/2014 - 3:59pm
 

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