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  Casting Doubt on Video Game Violence Studies  
 
 
Posted 2007-02-20 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
GamePolitics.com reports on a meta-research paper that casts doubt on links between violent game play and violent behaviour. The paper, entitled "Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review," may be downloaded from this page (temporarily, at least), and has been accepted for publication in an upcoming edition of the Aggression and Violent Behavior journal.

Author Christopher J. Ferguson told GamePolitics.com that his study found that overall, violent games do appear to increase aggressive thoughts, "but do not appear to increase aggressive behavior." The study also found that "better measures of aggression are associated with lower effects," and that studies which indicate a link between violent games and violent behaviour are more likely to get published than studies which do not indicate such a link.

Last month, a Canadian coalition of parents and educators cited its "grave concern" about the potential harmful effects of media violence on children. Coalition member Dr. Peter Jaffe said that the effects of entertainment violence on children "are measurable and long lasting." I sent an email to Dr. Jaffe requesting more information about his claim, but he hasn't yet responded (it's been about 4 weeks). In light of Ferguson's study, I'm even more curious about Dr. Jaffe's system of measurement and his sources. Dr. Jaffe, if you're out there, my email inbox is always open.

Meanwhile, my father took some time out to email me: Dr. Richard Walsh-Bowers is a Professor of Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, and is one of three co-authors of a forthcoming History of Psychology textbook to be published by a well-known University Press. He writes: "There are no 'facts' in Psychology or any science; only data and interpretations of them. Everything is contestable especially in Psychology where there have been decades of weak studies that nevertheless became advocacy platforms for authors' pushing their positions. Apparently, Jaffe is coming from a 'scientistic' [quasi-religious faith in science] perspective. The common scientistic rhetoric is 'Research shows that ...', as if the research were purely objective."
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
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