Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to Concentration Study

July 9, 2010 -

Remember that study from earlier this week which intimated that playing videogames and watching television were linked with attention problems in children? Texas A&M researcher Christopher J Ferguson and T. Atilla Ceranoglu, from Harvard Medical School, saw the research and responded with a scathing (for research anyway) rebuttal.

Ferguson, who has challenged the work of Iowa State University’s Craig Anderson before, and Ceranoglu, who uses games to assist in psychotherapy treatment, submitted their response—entitled Poor Measurement, Poor Controls and Spurious Results in Swing et al.—to Pediatrics, which also published the original research.

If you couldn’t tell from the title, the authors penned the response in order to “make readers aware of limitations and omissions in the methodology and conclusions of the Swing et al (2010) study of video games and attention.”

Ferguson and Ceranoglu offer four distinct weaknesses in the research in Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems:

1.  …the literature review overlooks a number of recent studies that contradict their views on the relationship between video games and aggression, as well as studies suggesting that video games are more likely to increase, not decrease, attention and cognition.

2.  …the authors puzzlingly failed to use any of the clinically well-validated measures of attention problems, such as the Child Behavior Checklist and the Conners Rating Scale. It’s also unclear why the authors relied solely on teacher reports, failing to include parent reports that arguably would be based on greater familiarity with the child, and again chose not to employ existing validated measures.

3.  …the authors make no attempt to control for other commonly measured relevant variables that may influence attention such as home environment, school quality, parent education, or poverty, genetic risk, etc. It is quite possible that any effects found are spurious, and would disappear in a better controlled study.

4.  ...all standardized regression coefficients for children in the study are less than .10. This indicates that the overlap in variance between media use and attention is less than 1%. Even taking these findings a face value, these are weak effect sizes without practical significance, effectively no different from zero.

The researchers concluded that the findings in the original study were “unable to support the weight that Swing et al. (2010) attempt to place on them, and give no cause for concern to clinicians, educators or parents.


Comments

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

I thought people with ADD and other disorders actually did fairly well with video games as opposed to movies and TV due to interacting with an ever changing medium that forced them to focus or fail and did it in way that most found enjoyable.

At least, I could have sworn that is what I remember reading/hearing somewhere. I might be totally wrong too.

"

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

Wait, what?

Man, how do these bad studies keep getting funding? In my case I was diagnosed with ADD years before I got into video games. We should be putting research into the underling biomechanical predispo- KITTY! =(^ ^)= Such a pretty cat!

Uh, yeah. Look for the biological predispositions first and then look into exacerbating environmental factors.

On a probably unrelated side-note: changing the channels alot doesn't mean the child has trouble concentrating, it means there is nothing good on TV. ;)

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

Bad studies get more funding because they ensure a "scientific" finding that supports the political agenda of however is paying for it.

Would you buy a candy bar if you were unsure the bar was actually in the wrapper? Likewise, who wants to pay for a study that says "I'm sorry, but your moral conclusions are bat-shit insane"?

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

' changing the channels alot doesn't mean the child has trouble concentrating, it means there is nothing good on TV. ;)'

This.  This, right here.  At least until NCIS is back on.

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With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

 This is why Science is awsome.  You get some jackasses that try and use it to fuel a political agenda, and then real scientists come in and beat the research to all hell.

"Science replaces private prejudice with publicly verifiable evidence." - Dawkins

And then there's this by Neil DeGrasse Tyson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYPgi1oUqXA

Re: Pay Attention: Researchers Debunk Game Link to ...

I think the fallout from East Anglia would dispute that, but what you post is the goal.

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With the first link, the chain is forged.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.
 
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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
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MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
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Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
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