Grand Theft Childhood Authors Respond to U of Michigan Prof's Criticism

June 30, 2008 -

In the preceding GamePolitics article we covered University of Michigan Professor Brad Bushman's criticism of Grand Theft Childhood.

The book, written by Harvard researchers Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson, downplays the effects of video game violence on adolescent behavior.

We also contacted the authors for comment on Bushman's attack on Grand Theft Childhood. Dr. Cheryl Olson shared these thoughts (and provided several of the links):

I don’t mind other researchers criticizing my work as long as they don’t engage in personal attacks... Brad Bushman is absolutely entitled to air his views.

 

Unfortunately, Dr. Bushman has some of his facts mixed up. In the 2001 Surgeon General’s report on youth violence, exposure to TV violence was actually near the bottom of the list of influences on real-world violence – so low that it was relegated to an appendix!

 

He theorizes that teens are more likely to identify with video game characters than TV or movie characters. That’s plausible, but I could just as easily argue the opposite; boys told us repeatedly in focus groups that they enjoying taking the bad guy role in a video game specifically because they don’t want to behave that way in real life. Also, because video games require active control and participation, players are constantly reminded that the game is merely a game.

 

Dr. Bushman’s statement that video games directly reward violence is only partly accurate; anyone who actually plays video games knows that players are not always rewarded for acting violently, and in fact are often penalized immediately or later on (even in parts of Grand Theft Auto IV). The content and consequences in video games are extremely varied, which is one reason that studying their influence is so difficult.

 

Finally, regarding his experimental study of Dutch teenagers playing a game for 20 minutes in a lab: Those teens are fully aware that no researcher will allow them to act in a way that causes permanent physical harm to someone. Dr. Bushman may be a bit too credulous – a view that is supported by a quote from that Surgeon General’s report.

Co-author Dr. Lawrence Kutner added:

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Game Violence Researcher Rips Grand Theft Childhood Book

June 30, 2008 -

While Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson's recent book Grand Theft Childhood has given cheer to video gamers (and the video game industry), a longtime media violence researcher strongly disagrees with the authors' conclusion that violent games aren't all that bad for younger players.

In an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press, University of Michigan professor Brad Bushman writes:

Kutner and Olson’s advice to parents is particulary puzzling since their own data suggest that such games are linked to aggressive behavior... Although laboratory experiments can be used to establish cause-effect relationships, they quickly dismiss most lab studies as artificial and invalid.

 

I strongly disagree. Consider a laboratory experiment I recently conducted... Boys about 14 years old were randomly assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 minutes... Next, they completed a noise blast task, with the winner blasting the loser with a noise...

 

The boys were told that inflicting higher noise levels could cause “permanent hearing damage” to their partners... These boys were even willing to give another boy noise levels loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage...

 

Violent video games are not the only risk factor for aggression, or even the most important factor, but they are definitely not a trivial factor...

Bushman was among the authors of the American Psychological Association's 2005 resolution which held that there is an increase in aggression following violent video game play. Bushman also participated in a 2007 study which found correlation between violent Biblical passages and aggression. He is also one of controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson's expert witnesses in an Alabama lawsuit alleging that an 18-year-old's murder of two police officers and a dispatcher was motivated by playing Grand Theft Auto.

42 comments

GP Book Review: Halo Graphic Novel

September 26, 2006 -



Halo Graphic Novel

-reviewed for GamePolitics by Matt Paprocki

Transcending the world of video games, Halo is a cultural phenomenon.

While the days of seeing video game characters plastered on boxes of kiddie cereal are becoming less common, their more grown-up progress into other mediums is becoming commonplace, like movies and books. Thankfully, the Halo Graphic Novel exists in a realm free from director Uwe Boll’s influence.Entrusted to the hands of comic masters Marvel, this beloved Xbox franchise is in the best of hands.

While a slender volulme, the Halo Graphic Novel is jammed with four separate stories. Multiple authors and artists contribute their work to craft this gorgeous book, including the likes Simon Bisley, Brett Lewis, and Moebius. According to his bio, Lewis doesn’t even own a TV, but was so gripped by the paperbook novelizations of the Halo universe that he ended up contributing some of the graphic novel’s most vivid writing.

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Neo_DrKefkaIn a #GamerGate Stream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd-BahVyFYQ they are too busy talking about Brianna's Wu appearance rather than her actions. Oh god our movement has become less and less about solutions and how can we can resolve these problems.10/23/2014 - 3:28pm
quiknkoldThese people are Arms Dealers selling weapons to both sides of this war, and I feel the only way anything will change is if everybody just stops. CTFO and play games.10/23/2014 - 3:28pm
quiknkoldI'm not specifically Targeting the Gamergate people on this. But There is one or two sick Freaks out there who get their jollys on this, and they are fueled by the war they are making worse.10/23/2014 - 3:27pm
prh99How much longer can the charade continue, the extremists have driven out the majority of people that thought it was about ethics. All that's left are the hooligans.10/23/2014 - 3:25pm
quiknkoldneeds to never happen again10/23/2014 - 3:20pm
quiknkoldand really I just stoped giving a damn about those articles, because the opinions of 7+ Articles does not change the fact that I am a Gamer, That I love Games, and that I am a decent hard working Human Being. And what happened to Felicia Day, who I adore,10/23/2014 - 3:20pm
quiknkold2 reasons why I originally joined gamergate. 1: I didnt like the 7+ anti gamer articles. 2 : I thought there was real newsworthy stuff pouring out of it like the stuff involving Phil Fish. As time went by, I saw no real fruiit10/23/2014 - 3:19pm
quiknkoldcalling for a #ceasefire. cause seriously, people on both sides need to just stop, step back to their corners, and relax for a little and just not deal with this. if something happens, fine, break out the bs again. But I will not stand idle by anymore.10/23/2014 - 3:18pm
james_fudgeQuiknkold: I was sad to see that happened.10/23/2014 - 3:13pm
quiknkoldthis arguement has become utter BS and I will not stand by when somebody who posts her own fears has those fears become true10/23/2014 - 3:10pm
quiknkoldWith Felicia Day's Doxxing, I am officially against Gamergate now. Calling for a #Ceasefire on twitter. This 'crap' needs to end now. Its BS that this happened.10/23/2014 - 3:09pm
Matthew Wilsoncrt's ran over 60 fps. its just publisher choosing graphics over gameplay10/23/2014 - 3:03pm
prh99MW: I'd tend to agree. When most tv's these days are 60Hz+ LCDs, a 30fps lock seems like a relic from the CRT TV days.10/23/2014 - 2:59pm
Matthew Wilsoncall me a pc elitist if you want, but I prefer 60 fps. that being said, Nintendo is one of the few developers that makes all their games at 60 fps. Platum does that too.10/23/2014 - 2:52pm
james_fudgeNeo_DrKefka agreed.10/23/2014 - 2:42pm
prh99Saddly Ubi has locked AC:Unity to 900p on consoles at least and 30fps for everything in the name of parity, and in the case of latter issue for a "more cinematic" feel.10/23/2014 - 2:36pm
PHX Corpa little PSA, Tonight is SSB4WiiU's turn at the nintendo direct at 6pm edt http://www.twitch.tv/nintendo I will be also hosting the Stream on my Twitch.tv page http://www.twitch.tv/trustygemtwitch10/23/2014 - 2:27pm
Andrew EisenBayonetta 2 allegedly banned in Saudi Arabi (but not Bayonetta 1). http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=91759010/23/2014 - 2:26pm
prh99Not surprising, it's their MO. I don't think there really much more to be said for GG's values at this point.10/23/2014 - 2:24pm
Neo_DrKefkaPlaces like TheRalphRetort are trash10/23/2014 - 2:02pm
 

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