ESA Issues Statement on New Douglas Gentile Research

January 14, 2011 -

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) came out swinging this week against what it calls a  "flawed study" that alleges a link between video games and mental health problems in children. The study will be published in the February issue of Pediatrics, and attempts to connect video game playing with mental health problems in children from Singapore, according to a separate Joystiq report.

The study was conducted by Iowa State professor Douglas Gentile, whose past studies related to video games have been picked apart by some researchers for "exaggerating" the harmful effects of video games on children.

"We commend credible, independent, and verifiable research about computer and video games. However, this research is just more of the same questionable findings by the same author in his campaign against video games," Richard Taylor, a senior VP at ESA told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

"There simply is no concrete evidence that computer and video games cause harm. In fact, a wide body of research has shown the many ways games are being used to improve our lives through education, health and business applications," he added.

Taylor went on to say that this latest study contains a significant number of flaws.

"For example, its definition of 'pathological gaming' is neither scientifically nor medically accepted and the type of measure used has been criticized by other scholars," said Taylor. "Other outcomes are also measured using dubious instruments when well-validated tools are readily available. In addition, because the effect sizes of the outcomes are mainly trivial, it leaves open the possibility the author is simply interpreting things as negatively as possible."

Taylor also pointed out that Gentile had publicly acknowledged a mistake in the methodology used for a similar study published in Psychological Science last year.

"The error - which he acknowledged to ABC News in a blog posting after publication - arises from the fact that the sample group for the study was not randomly chosen. Instead, it was a 'convenience' sample of individuals who agreed to participate in the survey, a significant factor that greatly compromises that study's purported findings."

Source: TGDaily


Comments

Re: ESA Issues Statement on New Douglas Gentile Research

I happen to have Asperger's syndrome and I am a gamer (and I think GP had an article a couple years back about how many Aspies and other high-functioning autistics are drawn to video games)...

I could imagine how critics of video games (Thompson, Yee, the usual suspects) as well as those who criticize autistic people (Sharron Angle, some of the people running Autism Speaks) would misconstrue this into some BS theory about "how video games cause autism" or "how games could reduce an otherwise normal person's mental capacity to an autism-like state"...

Re: ESA Issues Statement on New Douglas Gentile Research

I haven't read the study, so I'm just going off conjecture here, but these types of conclusions also make predictions (sometimes directly implied, sometimes not) that don't seem to pan out.

For instance, if videogames CAUSE mental health problems, then we are living in a country/world with large numbers of mentally disturbed individuals.  Just about every person under the age of 40 at this point has grown up with videogames , meaning that a huge number of people have been directly exposed to something known to cause mental health pathologies.  

This is a prediction that can be tested relatively effectively and easily.  Do people under 40 exhibit a significantly higher incidence of mental instability?  If so, do these numbers take into account any change in the scope at which such diseases are diagnosed which may skew these numbers?  Are there any other factors at play (family, genes, environment, diet, etc) that might also cause the same problems?  I haven't had time to check, but I'm sure some data like this must be out there already.

In a related note, the rallying cry of anti-games folk states that videogames cause normal youth to become violent.  The prediction these people make, by implication, is that youth violence rates MUST rise in proportion to popularity of videogames.  Since we know that youth violence rates have DECLINED, then the prediction the games=violence theory is falsified and the theory must be discarded.  Of course, the pundits won't do so, but the facts stand.

Perhaps the same can be said of the "games create mental illness" theory/hypothesis...

 
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Have you visited a video game arcade in the last year?:

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MechaTama31I sure have. Dorky's barcade in Tacoma, WA.08/20/2014 - 5:56pm
Matthew WilsonI have not been to a arcade in years. I know arcades are still big in japan.08/20/2014 - 5:38pm
Sleaker@AE - Ah no it's called GroundKontrol - I was just referring to it as a Bar-Arcade.08/20/2014 - 4:39pm
Andrew EisenStill looking for confirmation that High Moon Studios (dev behind the PS3/360 versions) isn't working on it.08/20/2014 - 4:38pm
ZenGotcha.08/20/2014 - 4:37pm
Andrew EisenI already updated the story with it!08/20/2014 - 4:36pm
Zenhttp://www.gonintendo.com/s/235574-treyarch-isn-t-working-call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-for-wii-u-either08/20/2014 - 4:36pm
ZenLet me send the link for the Tweet as well...they state Treyarch is not working on it. Grabbing it now.08/20/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenWhere does it say that "NO dev is working on it"?08/20/2014 - 4:33pm
ZenHere's the link for my last comment: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/08/20/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-not-coming-to-wii-u08/20/2014 - 4:24pm
ZenWell, Call of Duty is skipping Wii U completely it seems...they updated that NO dev is working on it. Great way to just skip a market.08/20/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenYeah, Dave and Busters back in 2011 was the last time for me.08/20/2014 - 4:16pm
ZenWell, I tried lol. We just got a Dave and Busters on the beach but haven't been there yet...may go this weekend.08/20/2014 - 3:52pm
Andrew EisenIt's called The Bar-Arcade? Missed opportunity. I would have gone with Barcade.08/20/2014 - 3:25pm
SleakerThe Bar-Arcade however did have a lot of good pinball machines, they were however always taken as the place was packed..08/20/2014 - 1:17pm
Sleakerso I've been to an Arcade-Bar, not that great of a place has some okay machines, but generally over-packed. And then all the kid-friendly ones have is ticket-games nothing actually good unfortunately :(08/20/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenIf it has an area dedicated to arcade machines, I'd say it counts. Arcade machine in your house though, nope.08/20/2014 - 12:16pm
ZenDoes it count if you have actual arcade machines in your house?08/20/2014 - 12:01pm
E. Zachary KnightWith the current poll, I guess it all depends on how one defines "arcade". If Chuck E Cheese or similar multipurpose businesses count, then that is a yes for me.08/20/2014 - 11:59am
ZenLet the ax fall Sleaker...lessons MUST be learned...08/20/2014 - 11:44am
 

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