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