Iowa State University Proud of its Anti-Game Researchers

The research of Iowa State University psychology professors Craig Anderson (pictured, left) and Douglas Gentile (pictured, right), in addition to Rob West and ex-ISU professor Brad Bushman, makes up the bulk of the argument for the California side of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA in the amicus brief (PDF) filed by State Senator Leland Yee earlier this year.

Yee’s brief referenced nine studies from the ISU researchers, while Anderson, Gentile and Bushman also helped in authoring the brief’s Statement on Video Game Violence. Nevertheless, Gentile and Anderson, in an ISU press release trumpeting the pair’s achievements, wanted to emphasize that while they contributed scientific “evidence,” they do not necessarily endorse the California law.

Gentile, who last month likened videogame addiction to the state of alcoholism 40 years ago, stated:

Scientific research can demonstrate that something can be either beneficial or harmful, but that does not immediately mean that the law should either require it or not require it of people.

The court is the expert on the law, but they’re not scientific experts on this topic. Therefore, our responsibility is to help the court by providing our expert summary of the science so that the justices can use it as one part of the larger puzzle they will be examining.

Anderson added, “We do not allow our personal values and political beliefs to intrude upon our scientific expertise.”

In another statement, Anderson seemed to be preparing for a backlash from critics, saying:

Although there are a few individuals with some scientific credentials who claim that the research is inconclusive, virtually all reputable experts in this area agree that violent video games are one risk factor for aggression.

One such critic is Texas A&M International University researcher Christopher Ferguson, who has taken exception to the research of Anderson and Gentile on multiple occasions.

In an opposing brief submitted by eighty-two researchers (including Ferguson) just last week, the research of Anderson and Gentile (among others) was called “rife with methodological flaws,” and billed as “no help to California.”

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