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Videogames and Aggression...

BranniganSeppBranniganSepp Swiss Burrito EnthusiastPSN: ExMaloBonumRegistered User regular
edited August 2015 in Debate and/or Discourse
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPQEXKdmFtw

A recent study by the APA has found links between Videogames and Aggression. In its aftermath, the discussions on the topic have again flared up. I feel compelled to share my opinion.

I'm neither a scientist, nor a genius, but it takes neither for me to conclusively show the link between Videogames and Aggression. Keywords? Competition and Frustration. Competition and aggression go hand in hand, and of course videogames do cause aggression in players. Sore salty losers are a thing too, which surprises absolutely no one. Frustration is equally self-explanatory. Who hasn't angrily flung a book of math problems into the waste bin in frustration? The point being, if you go looking for a link between aggression and videogames, of course it is to be found.

As for violent subject matter in videogames, and if there is a link beween aggression and it, as well as an aggression-heightening interplay with the factors of competition and frustration, that's a more complex problem. There might be. I get more angry doing badly at playing Battlefield, than I do when losing in Rocketleague. I've also punched walls over shitty mechanics and bad balancing, regardless of subject matter. That's just anecdotal evidence of course, and what the heck do I know.

In the end, the question that society needs to answer is, regardless of scientific findings, should videogames be more regulated or not? Personally, I'm all for declaration of content, as well as parental advisory. Prohibition of any kind however, even circumstatial ones, like the AO rating, is ridiculous and counterproductive, as practically all punitive prohibition is.

I don't doubt videogames can be the trigger for horrendous events, but so can anything. Certainly more people have died a violent death because of an amorous dalliance than because of videogames, and nobody calls for the prohibition of love (well, at least in the West). Clearly the base causes for pretty much all tragedies are personal, social, socio-economic, (geo-)political and religious, and literally anthing can trigger tragedy stemming from these underlying much deeper and way more complicated conflicts. Blaming any tragedy on videogames, rather than on the downfalls of the human condition, that's as childish a behaviour as it gets. So know this, any politician using videogames as a scapegoat does not have my vote.

The betterment of society lies in the correction of its most fundamental injusticies, and the awareness that if we don't take care of one another, there will be more tragedy in this world than otherwise. Punitive prohibition is nothing else but systemic societal neglect dressed up as care. It's a fallacy, and I only hope that's not where this is going, as it has with so many things before violence in videogames, like recreational drug use and prostitution. Luckily violent videogames are less sensitive and complicated than those matters, so I'm hopeful we won't get thrown into the Dark Ages of Prohibition anytime soon.

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Posts

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    It's worth studying ways to negate harmful side effects of otherwise beneficial things. Same goes for TV and fraternities.

  • BranniganSeppBranniganSepp Swiss Burrito Enthusiast PSN: ExMaloBonumRegistered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    It's worth studying ways to negate harmful side effects of otherwise beneficial things. Same goes for TV and fraternities.

    Certainly. Scientifically identifying risk inherent to videogames is a good thing. I just loathe the concept that any risk related to videogames (and most other things) is compelling reason to call for prohibition, which is where the public discussion always seems to be going.

    I'm not fearful of the science, just of what politicians will make of it.

    BranniganSepp on
  • QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    I don't have much of an issue with video games or any other activity being linked to increased aggression. I imagine other competitive activities see similar trends. Aggression in itself isn't a bad thing at all. Just how it gets expressed.

    That said, the question of whether video games should be government regulated has already been answered. It was no. And they've only grown more ubiquitous since then with a far more powerful political lobby so I doubt that's going to change.

  • reVersereVerse Attack and Dethrone God Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    I seem to remember that majority of the studies indicate that video games do increase your aggression/excitement levels, but no more so than exciting movies, and the effect only lasts while engaged in the activity and a very short while after. Doesn't sound like a huge problem.

    edit: RPS has some stuff to say on the subject of APA.
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/08/18/apa-studies-video-game-violence/#more-308437
    In fact, just as we concluded in 2011, the 2013 open letter observes that the APA is leaving out studies that do not find a link between gaming and violence, or those that fail to replicate the claims of previous studies.

    In a surprising twist, when you leave out data that doesn't support your conclusions, your conclusions suddenly seem like the unanimous majority.

    reVerse on
  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Just as a personal anecdote, I've been a gamer for my entire life. I can no longer play competitive games with my friends because I dislike the person I become when I play them.

    In a competitive PvP environment I just become nasty to the people around me when we're losing. So I just don't play those games now. I play MMOs, casual stuff like Hearthstone, basically anything that isn't super competitive. What's interesting is this doesn't happen to me in a competitive PvE environment, like a raid or dungeon in an MMO. It's only when I have a team of friends playing against a team of human enemies that I get stressed and take my stress out on the people around me.

    I definitely disagree with the assertion that video games can cause something like a mass shooting. I can see how competitive games might be linked to aggression, because I've had to change my gaming habits due to it. My response is to not play those games and play something that doesn't stress me out, like an MMO or something.

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  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    I think that video has a really good overview of a lot of the problems with this. Definitely worth a watch.

    I want to make one GIGANTIC caveat here: The APA defines aggression to include "a noise blast to a confederate, and self-report questionnaires... insults...and other forms of verbal ... aggression." It does also look at physical aggression, but the research shows that violent video games are associated with calling Danny a dick for being a camper, not going on a hatchet murder spree at a local kindergarten.

    This research arguably shows a link between children being aggressive (to include just being mean) in a lab, but does not demonstrate an epidemiological risk for violent crime. Now, while good data sets and good study design is going to be necessary to find the exact link, you need extraordinary evidence to conclude that two things which are moving in completely inverse directions are meaningfully correlated. The US homicide rate has fell by half since Doom came out, so get your grains of salt handy at suggestions of a causative relationship between playing violent video games and violent crime. That doesn't mean there isn't a link, but as a first look, it doesn't look good.

    It's also worth noting that the moral panic of "violent video games" may be missing the point. Some evidence, like Przybylski et al 2014, suggests that difficulty is the predictor, not the artistic presentation of the game. People dislike being frustrated and losing games, they don't learn to collect skulls for the skull throne for the violent depiction.

    This actually tracks with research that suggests misogyny in gaming is correlated with being shitty at video games. Garbage players insult women because they suck at games, not because of an universal culture of said game. Look at the graphs from the last link. This also tracks with anecdotal experience, but, you know, anecdotes. Still, I think the "frustration" hypothesis may turn out to be very robust, and it would help explain why games where failure is punished so harshly, and where you aren't allowed to quit, like MOBAs, are well known for having absurdly toxic communities. I'd love to see a study of this, but I'd bet my entire reputation as a data guy of various stripes that easy cooperative games have nicer communities than difficult competitive games with high consequences for failure.

    In conclusion, people should be extremely wary of accepting even limited claims in this area at this time, but especially the popular media conception of violent video games leading to homicide. Now, @Feral @Arch may have a different POV, and both have mentioned this recently.

    Sources:
    http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/violent-video-games.pdf
    http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/106/3/441/
    http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-04-15/violent-video-games-dont-make-you-aggressive-but-tetris-might
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0131613

    programjunkie on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    At this point, I honestly think that violent video games are a symptom rather than a cause. Maybe we should be looking at how our culture glorifies aggression and violence to the point that people want to play electronic combat simulators to the near exclusion of other game types.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • FANTOMASFANTOMAS Flan ArgentavisRegistered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Video games and agression? Its just the new "Rock & Roll is the music of satan", and let me tell you how it will go, because this already happened with music as it became a huge profit industry.

    Government wont be able to ban a lot of things in video games, so you will get a private organization to rate games and put them a label. While this label is not an official, government issued rating, you could ignore it, but the big distribution system will refuse to sell your game, unless it has been rated, JUST like what happened with music. And circumventing any real laws, censorship WILL WIN.

    From Wikipedia:

    The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines, and ensures responsible online privacy principles for computer and video games in the United States and Canada. The ESRB was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (formerly the Interactive Digital Software Association), in response to criticism of violent content found in video games such as Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, and other controversial video games portraying excessively violent or intense sexual situations.


    So, you already have the conservative bunch making sure that your product gets to see the light of day or not, based on their private preference, what else do people want with this ridiculous conversations about WHAT originates violence in our society, and someone pointing at the PRODUCT of a society, as its source?

    EDIT: to anyone interested on checking what happened when this exact same conversation took place in the past, but about music, look for the Frank Zappa Senate Hearings on Censorship (or Rock Lyrics). They are available in diferent cuts and qualities on youtube.

    FANTOMAS on
    Yes, with a quick verbal "boom." You take a man's peko, you deny him his dab, all that is left is to rise up and tear down the walls of Jericho with a ".....not!" -TexiKen
  • CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    I bet this thread was caused by the rap music.

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  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    At this point, I honestly think that violent video games are a symptom rather than a cause. Maybe we should be looking at how our culture glorifies aggression and violence to the point that people want to play electronic combat simulators to the near exclusion of other game types.

    If you think about it, violence is naturally suitable to competitive gameplay, particularly in fictional settings. You have inherent conflict, clear consequences for success and failure, and a wide variety of mechanics which are both mechanically interesting, and make artistic sense. Hitting someone on the head for a stun effect in a MMORPG is often both the expression of a deeply considered gameplay mechanic, but is immediately relatable in a way more abstracted mechanics might not be. If you look at board games, you see a bit of a conflict between strongly thematic "Ameritrash" games vs. more Euro style worker placement as represented by wooden cubes and circles too. And honestly, the latter is extremely popular as well, with games like Agricola, a game about being a medieval farmer with no violence or even failure state, being well rewarded and one of the highest ranking board games of all time on boardgamegeeks.com .

    It is worth noting that sports games, Minecraft, and the Sims are some of the most popular games / franchises of all time, so while sure, there is Call of Honorable Medal Duty of Conflict, people love non-violent games. City: Skylines sold a million copies in a month on PC alone without a big name behind it.

    This right here is worth reviewing:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_game_franchises

    Violent video games are a big part of the industry, but people love non-violent / minimally violent video games and spend billions upon billions of dollars on them. If you look at 50 million + copy franchises, the majority of them are non-violent or minimally violent. Honestly, we'd all be worse off without violent video games, because they have done a lot to advance the industry and many have tons of gameplay or artistic merit, but we also shouldn't overestimate how prevalent they are, because Mario is a better representation of the video game industry than space marines are.

    Edit: When we're talking about the violence of society in general, it should be in the context of violent crime falling in the United States and much of the world, sometimes by an amazing amount.

    programjunkie on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    I definitely agree that violent premises are natural for competitive games. Even most direct competition sports serve as some kind of combat analog.

    Violent conflict inherently brings action, easily understood goals and drama. There's a reason that it has featured predominantly in a huge portion of the stories we've told since we started telling stories.

    Fear of increased violence which, as pointed out, is false, creates a need to explain the supposed cultural degradation that caused it. When realistically, if you graphed per capita videogame use and violent crime on top of each other against time, you'd see an inverse relationship. Not necessarily a causal one, but it should put the lie to the idea that videogames create superpredators.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • FANTOMASFANTOMAS Flan ArgentavisRegistered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    I don't have much of an issue with video games or any other activity being linked to increased aggression. I imagine other competitive activities see similar trends. Aggression in itself isn't a bad thing at all. Just how it gets expressed.

    That said, the question of whether video games should be government regulated has already been answered. It was no. And they've only grown more ubiquitous since then with a far more powerful political lobby so I doubt that's going to change.

    I have to disagree with you on this Quid, because games are already regulated, but by a self-governing agency, and while their labels could be ignored, the pressure is such that you risk your product not being distributed, unless you comply with this private, self-regulating agency that has the power to make a product shine, or to hide it from everyone.

    While I dont see any particular wrong doing with he current labeling, (havent heard about blackmails, bribes, or political/religious power play on the medium) the idea of a group of people who answer to no one, have no obligation to anyone and hold an incredible power over products that are worth millions in investment and billions on profit, is a scary scenario for me. Id rather have the government set labeling patterns, or if labeling of art products turns out to be inconstitutional, then the government should prevent private organizations effectively curating (and censoring) what the general population gets to consume.

    Or maybe Im just one step away from wearing a tin foil hat and hiding in the closet?

    Yes, with a quick verbal "boom." You take a man's peko, you deny him his dab, all that is left is to rise up and tear down the walls of Jericho with a ".....not!" -TexiKen
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    PvP is to blame for everything.


    I keed.

    Sometimes the computer is a cheating ass cheater cheater and makes you throw the controller.

    But mostly it's that human v. human competitive play. Number of times I've gotten furious playing a game of civilization or anno? I don't think... ever.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    PvP is to blame for everything.


    I keed.

    Sometimes the computer is a cheating ass cheater cheater and makes you throw the controller.

    But mostly it's that human v. human competitive play. Number of times I've gotten furious playing a game of civilization or anno? I don't think... ever.

    Someone has never had an entire map declare war against them for absolutely no fucking reason.

  • ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    There's a lot of studies about children and aggressive behaviour, The one conclusion that a lot of experts come up with is that "Behaviour is learned, from peers, parents and people around them. It can also be unlearned." Naturally people associate people around children to what they see on TV or in Videogames as being a form of behavioural influence when a lot of these studies show that physical people around them are the biggest causes.

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    PvP is to blame for everything.


    I keed.

    Sometimes the computer is a cheating ass cheater cheater and makes you throw the controller.

    But mostly it's that human v. human competitive play. Number of times I've gotten furious playing a game of civilization or anno? I don't think... ever.

    Someone has never had an entire map declare war against them for absolutely no fucking reason.

    I don't think that's ever happened to me, no. There's always a reason, even if it's just "you the player are clearly winning so the computer players decide to try to stop you".

    In any case, losing a turn based game isn't especially angering. Typically you see failure in your future long before it actually happens and scrub the game early.

    It's nothing like playing a fighting game against a human opponent where there is shit talking and such.

  • QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    FANTOMAS wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    I don't have much of an issue with video games or any other activity being linked to increased aggression. I imagine other competitive activities see similar trends. Aggression in itself isn't a bad thing at all. Just how it gets expressed.

    That said, the question of whether video games should be government regulated has already been answered. It was no. And they've only grown more ubiquitous since then with a far more powerful political lobby so I doubt that's going to change.

    I have to disagree with you on this Quid, because games are already regulated, but by a self-governing agency, and while their labels could be ignored, the pressure is such that you risk your product not being distributed, unless you comply with this private, self-regulating agency that has the power to make a product shine, or to hide it from everyone.

    While I dont see any particular wrong doing with he current labeling, (havent heard about blackmails, bribes, or political/religious power play on the medium) the idea of a group of people who answer to no one, have no obligation to anyone and hold an incredible power over products that are worth millions in investment and billions on profit, is a scary scenario for me. Id rather have the government set labeling patterns, or if labeling of art products turns out to be inconstitutional, then the government should prevent private organizations effectively curating (and censoring) what the general population gets to consume.

    Or maybe Im just one step away from wearing a tin foil hat and hiding in the closet?

    Movies seem to be doing well enough. I'd rather the industry do it itself than the state. And I don't agree with it not happening at all since plenty of people want to know a media's content.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Everything causes aggression and violence. Heck, 500 years ago the horrors of puppet shows could incite riots.

    Real issue here is that people need to stop gettin' mad at [PLACEHOLDER]

  • AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    Anecdotally the most aggravated i've become recently while playing a video game was during The Talos Principle, and not because of the puzzles, but because of some of the philosophical bullshit that the characters within it were spouting.

    Really, video games just have the same effect any form of art does. They heighten emotions through the experience. With regards to online competitive games, though, I think the actions people take during them would be fairly comparable to any other kind of real-life competition. If someone plays soccer on an actual field with actual people in their free time, they might get momentarily angry at the other team or even their own teammates depending on the circumstance. Some might even escalate things to verbal abuse or even physical altercations. The main difference I can see is that in real life in-person competitions there are tangible penalties and consequences for those actions.

    If someone is spouting abuse, griefing or teamkilling in an online game though, all you can do for the most part is mute them, maybe ban them from your server if you have the capacity but in most cases they'd just be able to join another. There are generally not many significant consequences for acting poorly in non-professional online competitive environments. It's the same phenomenon that led to August never ending last year. We just don't really know how to deal with social interactions where consequence is mostly removed from the equation.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    The Chronicle of Higher Education recently had a big editorial about this (not publicly linkable, unfortunately) from an APA member. It starts outgoing over the facts outlined in the 2013 letter to the APA from video game violence researchers the RPS article upthread mentions - the APA cherrypicked a handful of studies that linked video game violence and ignored the larger body of studies that complicate or refute those findings.

    The writer, an academic psychologist and APA member, said what tied the issuing of the report, the APA support of torture and several other recent decisions by the organization was a pattern of APA leaders using the organization's name to attach the group to political groups and causes. This has greatly benefited the careers and finances of the organization's top members, but it has led to a crash in credibility in the academic and professional spheres.

    The TL;DR take was the APA is, at this point, completely captured by careerist professional leaders who are tying the organization's reputation to partisan political causes to win personal brownie points.

  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    The video games lead to agression doesn't track with the real world. Juvenile delinquency is way down since its peak in the early 90s, while playing video games is way up. Video games are also more realistic and complex then ever. If this tracked, we would also see more aggression from kids with the most access to video games, I.E. white middle/upper class kids. That is clearly not happening.

    Personally I would argue the contrary belief: Video games reduce aggression in society. Kids spend way less time hanging out away from the home. Time spent just wandering the streets, money spent on drugs is instead spent on video games. I am old enough to remember hanging around a playground as a teenager because there was nowhere else to be and nothing else to do.

    That's just a hypothesis on my part however.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    I think the important point here is once again we've got a study drawing conclusions, which seems to have discarded important parts of the data. Nothing else matter at the moment, even if there's an important question to get into regarding "showing an effect" and "is this even reasonable to prevent" - which frankly, in the US with legal firearm ownership, and a world where we collectively turn a blind eye to alcohol, is quite a stretch.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    I think the important point here is once again we've got a study drawing conclusions, which seems to have discarded important parts of the data. Nothing else matter at the moment, even if there's an important question to get into regarding "showing an effect" and "is this even reasonable to prevent" - which frankly, in the US with legal firearm ownership, and a world where we collectively turn a blind eye to alcohol, is quite a stretch.

    It's not even a study. It's a statement from a professional organization taking a position based on the evidence presented by its members studies.

    And several of the members who did the studies are the ones who signed the letter protesting the statement, since it cherrypicks and distorts the state of the field to make a purely political point.

  • homogenizedhomogenized Registered User regular
    The Chronicle of Higher Education recently had a big editorial about this (not publicly linkable, unfortunately) from an APA member. It starts outgoing over the facts outlined in the 2013 letter to the APA from video game violence researchers the RPS article upthread mentions - the APA cherrypicked a handful of studies that linked video game violence and ignored the larger body of studies that complicate or refute those findings.

    The writer, an academic psychologist and APA member, said what tied the issuing of the report, the APA support of torture and several other recent decisions by the organization was a pattern of APA leaders using the organization's name to attach the group to political groups and causes. This has greatly benefited the careers and finances of the organization's top members, but it has led to a crash in credibility in the academic and professional spheres.

    The TL;DR take was the APA is, at this point, completely captured by careerist professional leaders who are tying the organization's reputation to partisan political causes to win personal brownie points.
    No surprise there, my psych profs all said as much. It even creeps into the fucking DSM, one prof told me they tried to stick what was basically menopause in there.

  • KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Yeah we should be careful about talking about a "new APA study". It's a review of studies from around the last 10 years. And of course the study is way more nuanced then it's being reported, and even then the criticisms about it are valid.

    It looked at a bunch of studies and said "yeah, according to these studies, people can get angry while playing video games"

    Which like... duh. If I lose a really bad game, walk into my living room and go "Holy shit my team was really bad at League of Legends. All they need to do is not die 8 times in a row and I could carry their stupid asses" and then grab a glass of water, do something else, and completely forget about it, that would, according to many of these studies, be an increased sign of aggression. And that's true, it totally is an increased sign of aggression. But then that gets reported as "VIDJA GAMES ARE TURNING* YOUR CHILDREN** INTO MURDERERS***"

    It always gets reported as though there's some longitudinal study that shows clear, long-term behavioural changes as a result of exposure to video games, which, surprise surprise, doesn't exist

    Khavall on
  • Sir LandsharkSir Landshark resting shark face Registered User regular
    OK, so the APA is not to be trusted I guess? What about the AAP then?

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/5/1222.full
    The National Television Violence study evaluated almost 10 000 hours of broadcast programming from 1995 through 1997 and found that 61% of the programming portrayed interpersonal violence, much of it in an entertaining or glamorized manner.8–10 The highest proportion of violence was found in children's shows. Of all animated feature films produced in the United States between 1937 and 1999, 100% portrayed violence, and the amount of violence with intent to injure has increased through the years.11 More than 80% of the violence portrayed in contemporary music videos is perpetrated by attractive protagonists against a disproportionate number of women and blacks.12 American media, in particular, tend to portray heroes using violence as a justified means of resolving conflict and prevailing over others.13
    Children in grades 4 through 8 preferentially choose video games that award points for violence against others.17 Of the 33 most popular games, 21% feature violence against women.18
    After the tragic shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, President Clinton asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether the motion picture, music, and video game industries advertised and marketed violent material to children and adolescents. Working with industry-provided documents, the FTC determined that, despite the fact that their own ratings systems found the material appropriate only for adults, these industries practiced “pervasive and aggressive marketing of violent movies, music, and electronic games to children.”21
    More than 3500 research studies have examined the association between media violence and violent behavior; all but 18 have shown a positive relationship.26 Consistent and strong associations between media exposure and increases in aggression have been found in population-based epidemiologic investigations of violence in American society,27 cross-cultural studies,28experimental29–31 and “natural” laboratory research,32 and longitudinal studies that show that aggressive behavior associated with media exposure persists for decades.33–35 The strength of the correlation between media violence and aggressive behavior found on meta-analysis36 is greater than that of calcium intake and bone mass, lead ingestion and lower IQ, condom nonuse and sexually acquired human immunodeficiency virus infection, or environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer37—associations clinicians accept and on which preventive medicine is based without question.
    65Experimental studies have shown that after playing video games, young people exhibit measurable decreases in prosocial and helping behaviors and increases in aggressive thoughts and violent retaliation to provocation.66 Playing violent video games has been found to account for a 13% to 22% increase in adolescents' violent behavior; by comparison, smoking tobacco accounts for 14% of the increase in lung cancer.66

    Please consider the environment before printing this post.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited August 2015
    I was batsignaled and had multiple people PM me. I don't have time to put in a substantive post right now, but I want to put forward a few key points. Hopefully later today or tonight I'll have the opportunity to back them up if they come under fire.

    1) The evidence that violent video games cause both aggression (aggressive feelings, cognitions, and speech) and violence (physical attempts to harm another human being) is solid.
    The opposite position - that video games do not cause violence - is heterodox and is a tiny minority viewpoint. Most of the research that claims to disprove a causal connection comes from a handful of researchers, some of whom are extremely vocal.

    2) The effect size is admittedly small. It isn't enough on its own to cause violent crime on a wide scale. That doesn't mean that the effect is nonexistent.
    The following common counterargument is kind of dumb: "As video games have become more common, violent crime has gone down. Therefore, video games don't cause violence." All that means is that the effect is weak, and it is overshadowed by other effects (my favorite explanation is the lead hypothesis.)

    3) We shouldn't confuse bad policy for bad science. Jack Thompson, Leland Yee, and other anti-video-game crusaders can go fuck themselves. Games are covered by the First Amendment, and as I said above, the effect size is too small to be some kind of public safety crisis. Censorship is like swatting a fly with a nuclear warhead. But just because we hate the policies doesn't mean we should reject the science.

    4) The counterargument "correlation =/= causation" does not apply here. Despite being broadly overused in Internet arguments, it doesn't apply here because we've seen the effect across multiple controlled experiments.

    5) The counterargument "maybe it is competition and/or frustration and/or arousal" has some merit. There aren't a whole lot of studies that attempt to separate out these specific confounds from violent content, and that is a known & recognized limitation of the literature. However, there are also discernible effects that are directly relevant to hostility and violence, including desensitization and the general aggression model. It is plausible that competitivess, frustration, arousal, etc are contributory effects in addition to violent content.

    6) I strongly suggest reading the entire APA report (PDF link) ("American Psychological Association Task Force on Violent Media Technical Report on the Review of the Violent Video Game Literature", August 2015) before commenting. I've seen a lot of misconceptions fly around that are addressed directly by the report.

    7) "Scholar's Open Letter to the APA Task Force On Violent Media Opposing APA Policy Statements on Violent Media," quoted by Rock Paper Shotgun above, is a stupid letter and it shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's being picked up on by industry outlets for exactly the same reason that scientific-sounding climate change denialism is picked up on by ideologues. It sounds fancy and it confirms the bloggers' pre-existing beliefs.
    Some key takeaways about the letter: many of the "230 scholars" aren't social science researchers, they're game designers, communications majors, and other non-scientists (or scientists in unrelated fields). The letter has exactly one citation, which isn't about video games or violent behavior directly. It makes some claims that are directly addressed by the task force report, and other claims that appear to be strawmen.

    Here's the TL;DR version:

    Violent video games cause violent behavior, but the effect size is too small to justify heavy-handed public policies. It is primarily relevant to people who are already at-risk - for example, parents of children with existing behavioral disorders, or adults struggling with anger management issues. The evidence suggests both correlation and causation. Other explanations (such as frustration) are interesting avenues of research but do not by themselves explain the connection.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    The Chronicle of Higher Education recently had a big editorial about this (not publicly linkable, unfortunately) from an APA member. It starts outgoing over the facts outlined in the 2013 letter to the APA from video game violence researchers the RPS article upthread mentions - the APA cherrypicked a handful of studies that linked video game violence and ignored the larger body of studies that complicate or refute those findings.

    The writer, an academic psychologist and APA member, said what tied the issuing of the report, the APA support of torture and several other recent decisions by the organization was a pattern of APA leaders using the organization's name to attach the group to political groups and causes. This has greatly benefited the careers and finances of the organization's top members, but it has led to a crash in credibility in the academic and professional spheres.

    The TL;DR take was the APA is, at this point, completely captured by careerist professional leaders who are tying the organization's reputation to partisan political causes to win personal brownie points.

    Was it written by Christopher Ferguson?

    Here's Ferguson's MO: publish research of inconsistent quality. Complain loudly when his research isn't included in analyses and reports. Ignore the times when his research is included in analyses. Claim the APA is captured by special interests. Write editorials for mass-media outlets promoting his conspiracy theory. Get picked up by journalists looking for a token academic to represent the "anti-" side of any article on the topic.

    There is one of these guys (a highly vocal, heterodox academic) in every single scientific controversy ready to represent the minority opinion to journalists. When an academic complains loudly to mass media outlets that the scientific establishment is ignoring contrary research (where most of the contrary research is of his own authorship)... well, he isn't necessarily wrong, but you should listen to him with a huge grain of salt.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaand I have to get back to work. Have fun yall. Hopefully I'll be back later.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Okay, well, I was going to make this thread but grad school got in the way. So, let's deal with this.

    So far @programjunkie has been the only person to make arguments that are actually based on what the research says, instead of taking potshots at the APA review that...frankly don't make a lot of sense.

    I want to head off the criticism that the researchers "ignored inconvenient data" or that some of the study authors were "mad about how their research was presented." The APA report itself addresses both of these points. I'm not going into the minutia of how they selected studies for inclusion in their analysis, but it was rather comprehensive and sufficient. In addition to surveying over 140 papers (which their methods whittled down to 31 applicable reports), they also surveyed four existing meta-analyses (making this study both a meta-analysis and a meta-meta-analysis. This gets to my second statement- the APA addresses the concern about "misinterpreting the researcher's own work" directly in the study.
    Although the four meta‐analyses included some different articles and were conducted by investigators who held different perspectives on the impact of violent video game use, our review of the meta‐analyses revealed similar significant effect sizes. All four meta‐analyses reported an adverse effect of violent video game use on aggressive outcomes, with an effect size greater than zero, and a narrow range of unadjusted effect sizes (.14–.29). However, the authors’ interpretations of these results varied considerably

    It's important to set the stage here a bit more, though- there are two main "players" in the Video Game/Aggression research- Chris Ferguson and Craig Anderson. Ferguson is probably the most popular on these forums, because he doesn't tend to find a link between aggressive behaviors and video games, whereas Anderson is more likely to find a connection. Without going into depth, I tend to trust Anderson more. His methods tend to be more thorough, and he is less prone to sensationalizing his own papers with catchy titles. Admittedly this is a personal preference, but it bothers me professionally.

    In addition, we have to focus on this as a science, and not approach this as lay individuals. When discussing this link, psychologists are careful to hedge themselves, and are only investigating (mostly) the direct link between an increase in aggressive behaviors and video game playing, and not, as people have correctly said, on violent crime itself. I think this is something to repeat over and over again when you read this research. The research, in general, makes no prescriptive claims about policy decisions, nor does it discuss violent crime in depth. (This, incidentally, is why I tend to dislike Ferguson- he tends to lean towards telling people what to do with his work instead of letting it stand.)

    Shit, again the APA report says this.
    In interpreting the results, the task force kept in mind that aggression is a complex behavior with multiple risk and contributing factors. There was no expectation that violent video game use might be the only influence on aggressive outcomes or that it would necessarily be a stronger or larger influence than other known risk factors. The task force examined the research to determine whether violent video game use is a possible unique contributing factor among other known influences on aggression.  

    So before we move onto the literature itself, I want to spend a bit more time and talk about the actual conclusions of the APA report.

    Some of the main ones are listed below
    The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and heightened aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions, and aggressive affect and reduced prosocial behavior empathy and sensitivity to aggression.
    1. The research converges across multiple methods and multiple samples, with multiple types of measurements demonstrating these relations.  
    2. The recent research demonstrated that these effects hold over at least some time spans. This body of research includes laboratory experiments examining effects over short time spans immediately following experimental manipulations and observational longitudinal studies.
    3. Laboratory experiments have generally found a significant impact of exposure to violent video game use on aggressive outcomes. The experimental method increases confidence in the causal impact of violent video game use, but the controlled environment of most experiments reduces their ecological validity.

    These findings seem, to me at least, non-controversial. So why the hoopla? I think it is perhaps the unfortunate result of people like Jack Thompson and his ilk who want to interpret from "video games increase aggression" all the way to "and thus playing video games makes you a deviant school shooter." Obviously this is scientifically inaccurate. However, I'm professionally stating that claims that violent video games don't influence short- and long-term aggressive cognition states is also scientifically inaccurate. Any review of the literature (conducted in the same manner as the APA, through keyword searches on Google Scholar or Pubmed) will lead you to this conclusion rather easily.

    "But wait!" you might think, "What if this is all just because of a publication bias in the literature!"

    Actually, this is an interesting point, and one that Ferguson brought up years ago. He found this
    Results of this analysis indicate some concerns for the extant literature on video game violence effects. Publication bias issues emerge for both experimental and non-experimental studies of aggressive behaviors. There also is some indication, although not conclusive, for publication bias in non-experimental studies of aggressive thoughts. Although other areas of research (i.e., experimental studies on aggressive thoughts, prosocial behaviors and physiological measures; non-experimental studies of prosocial behavior) appear to be more sound, an examination of the fail-safe N, and Orwin's fail-safe N reveal that a relatively small number of unpublished or suppressed studies would render the results of this meta-analysis insignificant and/or trivial.

    On the other hand, though, a critical review of this paper reveals that it is, possibly, itself biased. However, a more recent analysis dug into this problem- with the addition that they handled an even more important problem. That is, they dealt with the fact that the literature is dominated by only two researchers for the most part (mentioned above)- so they decided to see whether that had an effect on the research. Looking only at Anderson's work (i.e. that video games cause aggression) and comparing it to work not done by him, a third party found this.
    Our own meta-analytic findings revealed that the average effect of playing violent video games on aggression in experiments conducted by Anderson was r = .19 (14, .24), p < .001 (K = 11; N = 1,488). The average effect was r = .18 (.13, .22), p < .001 (K = 34; N = 1,976) in experiments reported in articles not authored by Anderson. The difference in these average effects sizes was not significantly different, Q(1) = .07, p = .79.

    I quite like this, because in the first Meta-analysis that Ferguson wrote on bias, it seems as if the entire article is Ferguson trying to disprove Anderson.

    This review concludes thusly
    Given the outcome of this analysis, we argue that researcher bias should not be considered a valid criticism of the literature regarding the causal effect of violent video game play on behavioral aggression. Moreover, the current findings seem inconsistent with Ferguson's moral panic claim, at least as it applies to the potential role of empirical contributions by violent video game-aggression researchers.

    Absent resolution to ongoing methodological and statistical debate, we suggest a conclusion that violent video game play causes more aggression than nonviolent video game play is a defensible interpretation of the current experimental and meta-analytic literatures.

    I'm going to go on a limb and make a bold statement- if your argument (as one of Ferguson's main claims is) against a scientific finding is couched only in "they did their statistics incorrectly," I'm much less inclined to listen to your arguments. While Ferguson does make some (valid!) points about choices of experimental methodology, I find arguments about statistical tests tiresome. There is no perfect test, and every test has its own risks and avenues for bias and error rates. I find this discussion boring in the light of four meta-analyses all converging on the same idea.

    As a final point, and this is a paper that @Feral sent to me recently, one of the common claims is that video games increase aggression....but why don't we talk about sports? Or other things? Why don't we just focus on the fact that it is the competition that is causing aggressive thoughts?

    Well, in a rather ingenious experiment, Anderson addresses this comment.

    They investigated this concern
    The competition hypothesis maintains that competitive situations stimulate aggressiveness. According to this hypothesis, many previous short-term (experimental) video game studies have found links between violent games and aggression not because of the violent content, but because violent video games typically involve competition, whereas nonviolent video games frequently are
    noncompetitive.

    So what did they do? They had (in a series of experiments) people play either MLB Slugfest or general ESPN Baseball games, and then gave the subjects the same test of aggression they have used in previous studies. You would predict, if the competition only hypothesis were correct, that subjects in both treatments would score similarly on aggressive measures....except that they don't. People playing MLB Slugfest (or similar) sports games rated higher on aggression scores in all experiments, which is strong evidence that there is perhaps something unique to aggressive video games as opposed to strictly competitive games. This is similar to results from another study, where participants played Mortal Kombat with different settings on the gore slider (maximum, medium, low, and off), and found that higher levels of gore increased aggression scores.

    All of this to come back to my TL;DR- The science nearly universally supports a link between violent video games (specifically violent video games, not just competitive ones) and increase in aggressive thoughts and behaviors in the short term and long term. Whether this translates to large-scale societal effects is currently not investigated (for many reasons), but at the end of the day the APA report is a very good summation and analysis of the literature. We, as a community, are going to need to accept this fact and not react like a bunch of climate-change denialists whenever these articles surface.

    Arch on
  • FrankiedarlingFrankiedarling Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    I've always seen video games as a singular modifier rather than the modifier or the cause. I've seen people flip a Monopoly board, a chess game, spike their bike to pavement after a lost race, break their hockey stick over the boards, kick a volleyball into the freaking ocean. It's as silly to say Video games cannot or do not cause aggression as it is to say video games are in any way unique in this regard.

    Personally, I've always loved the adage that art should make you sad, glad or mad. A good PvP match with stakes to make me glad has the opportunity to make me sad or mad, a good RPG that really engages deeply with me will have the ability to make me happy or mad or unhappy as things happen to the characters I care about. As a generality, I'd say anything you care about in more than a superficial way will obviously have the capability to make you feel strongly in any number of ways. Why we assign particular attention to Computer Games in this regard is puzzling to me.

    Even your more general Call of Duty style games make for great sports comparisons. When I used to play hockey competitively I remember you'd get those adrenaline spikes, would make me want to skate faster, hit harder, etc. And then when the game's done a bit of that lingers for a time and then fades. I'd say that's not dissimilar to any action computer game, where you're really engaged in it. You get into it and get really excited, and then you're done and the rush and aggression fades. Again, not something I can understand people calling unique, dangerous, or uniquely dangerous.

    Frankiedarling on
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    DAMNIT FERAL YOU BEAT ME TO A BIG POST

    "Feral causes aggression, a meta analysis by Arch"

  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Can you link some of.the long term studies? I knew about the short term spukes in aggression, but hadn't heard of any studies showing a longer term effect.

    Steam: Polaritie
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  • KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Boy that AAP article still has... let's say innovative ways of presenting some facts. Also, you should at least link to the 2009 revision of their policy statement, which is at least a little closer to being current then the 2001 one.

    Like they state that "Trauma" is the highest risk to children and youths and... like yeah, but that's including, say, being hit by a car, or drowning in a pool, which I'm somewhat uncomfortable including in a reason that the person who was hit by a car shouldn't have played video games.

    Also, the whole "3500 research studies etc" has basically a whole chapter in "Grand Theft Childhood"(A pretty great, if somewhat outdated now, read). It's a really spurious claim that has exactly the same problems that all of the news reports about the meta-reviews of studies have: It includes things like aggressive language or loud noises as "aggression", which then gets translated as "violent behaviour" when someone wants to make a point. There's no distinction between different levels of aggression. By a lot of their metrics, kids shouting to each other while playing kickball could be considered "violent behaviour".

    Also I tried to find their longitudinal studies, and the source they linked to for them claimed that there were a bunch of longitudinal studies that it then neglected to link to or cite. That would be real interesting to read, as that's the one that actually matters at all (EDIT) in terms of critiques of the negative effects on society that again, are often implied by the way these studies are reported.

    Khavall on
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Il'd like to see a trial comparing outcomes with other recreational activities like sports, see where it fits on the list

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Can you link some of.the long term studies? I knew about the short term spukes in aggression, but hadn't heard of any studies showing a longer term effect.

    Sure! (Some of them are gated behind paywalls, so I will quote key passages)

    One up to bat from Anderson (again) is here

    His team compared long term scores of aggression in Japanese middle and high schoolers as well as aggression in American elementary school students (if I remember grade breakdowns correctly). They assessed study participant's use of violent video games and scored them for aggressive behaviors. They find
    Despite the differences between samples in measures of [violent game use], physical aggression, country, and age, each sample yielded statistically reliable positive correlations between time 1 [violent game use] and time 2 physical aggression of a magnitude that falls in the medium to large range for longitudinal predictors of physical aggression and violence

    Describing their results as such, later on in the paper
    This study adds 2 critical pieces of evidence on the issue of the potential aggression-enhancing effects of violent video games. First, it confirms that habitually playing violent video games leads to increases in physical aggression some months later in children and adolescents, relative to those who do not play violent video games. Second, it demonstrates that such longitudinal effects occur in highly individualistic cultures with high societal levels of physical aggression and violence (the United States), and in more collectivistic cultures with low levels of physical aggression and violence.

    A non-Anderson paper comes from Germany

    They find
    The findings for physical aggression provide no support for the ‘‘selection hypotheses,’’ assuming that those who are more aggressive are more attracted to and spend more time playing violent games. In contrast, the results of the path analysis clearly support the ‘‘socialization hypothesis,’’ stipulating that those who spend more time playing violent video games become more physically aggressive.

  • Sir LandsharkSir Landshark resting shark face Registered User regular
    a
    Khavall wrote: »
    Boy that AAP article still has... let's say innovative ways of presenting some facts. Also, you should at least link to the 2009 revision of their policy statement, which is at least a little closer to being current then the 2001 one.

    Like they state that "Trauma" is the highest risk to children and youths and... like yeah, but that's including, say, being hit by a car, or drowning in a pool, which I'm somewhat uncomfortable including in a reason that the person who was hit by a car shouldn't have played video games.

    Also, the whole "3500 research studies etc" has basically a whole chapter in "Grand Theft Childhood"(A pretty great, if somewhat outdated now, read). It's a really spurious claim that has exactly the same problems that all of the news reports about the meta-reviews of studies have: It includes things like aggressive language or loud noises as "aggression", which then gets translated as "violent behaviour" when someone wants to make a point. There's no distinction between different levels of aggression. By a lot of their metrics, kids shouting to each other while playing kickball could be considered "violent behaviour".

    Also I tried to find their longitudinal studies, and the source they linked to for them claimed that there were a bunch of longitudinal studies that it then neglected to link to or cite. That would be real interesting to read, as that's the one that actually matters at all (EDIT) in terms of critiques of the negative effects on society that again, are often implied by the way these studies are reported.

    I see 4 longitudinal studies clearly cited. All of the links work for me, although one is behind a paywall.

    Anderson CA, Sakamoto A, Gentile DA, et al. Longitudinal effects of violent video games on aggression in Japan and the United States. Pediatrics.2008;122

    Anderson CA, Gentile DA, Buckley KE. Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2007
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/5/e1067.full

    Hopf WH, Huber GL, Weib RH. Media violence and youth violence. J Media Psychol.2008;20 (3):79– 96
    http://econtent.hogrefe.com/doi/abs/10.1027/1864-1105.20.3.79

    Wallenius M, Punamaki RL. Digital game violence and direct aggression in adolescence: a longitudinal study of the roles of sex, age, and parent-child communication. J Appl Dev Psychol.2008;29 (4):286– 294
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0193397308000336

    Please consider the environment before printing this post.
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    a
    Khavall wrote: »
    Boy that AAP article still has... let's say innovative ways of presenting some facts. Also, you should at least link to the 2009 revision of their policy statement, which is at least a little closer to being current then the 2001 one.

    Like they state that "Trauma" is the highest risk to children and youths and... like yeah, but that's including, say, being hit by a car, or drowning in a pool, which I'm somewhat uncomfortable including in a reason that the person who was hit by a car shouldn't have played video games.

    Also, the whole "3500 research studies etc" has basically a whole chapter in "Grand Theft Childhood"(A pretty great, if somewhat outdated now, read). It's a really spurious claim that has exactly the same problems that all of the news reports about the meta-reviews of studies have: It includes things like aggressive language or loud noises as "aggression", which then gets translated as "violent behaviour" when someone wants to make a point. There's no distinction between different levels of aggression. By a lot of their metrics, kids shouting to each other while playing kickball could be considered "violent behaviour".

    Also I tried to find their longitudinal studies, and the source they linked to for them claimed that there were a bunch of longitudinal studies that it then neglected to link to or cite. That would be real interesting to read, as that's the one that actually matters at all (EDIT) in terms of critiques of the negative effects on society that again, are often implied by the way these studies are reported.

    I see 4 longitudinal studies clearly cited. All of the links work for me, although one is behind a paywall.

    Anderson CA, Sakamoto A, Gentile DA, et al. Longitudinal effects of violent video games on aggression in Japan and the United States. Pediatrics.2008;122

    Anderson CA, Gentile DA, Buckley KE. Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2007
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/5/e1067.full

    Hopf WH, Huber GL, Weib RH. Media violence and youth violence. J Media Psychol.2008;20 (3):79– 96
    http://econtent.hogrefe.com/doi/abs/10.1027/1864-1105.20.3.79

    Wallenius M, Punamaki RL. Digital game violence and direct aggression in adolescence: a longitudinal study of the roles of sex, age, and parent-child communication. J Appl Dev Psychol.2008;29 (4):286– 294
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0193397308000336

    That first one is the one I described above, FYI (for everyone)

  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    This is just a meta analysis of studies that have been available for years right

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    The Chronicle of Higher Education recently had a big editorial about this (not publicly linkable, unfortunately) from an APA member. It starts outgoing over the facts outlined in the 2013 letter to the APA from video game violence researchers the RPS article upthread mentions - the APA cherrypicked a handful of studies that linked video game violence and ignored the larger body of studies that complicate or refute those findings.

    The writer, an academic psychologist and APA member, said what tied the issuing of the report, the APA support of torture and several other recent decisions by the organization was a pattern of APA leaders using the organization's name to attach the group to political groups and causes. This has greatly benefited the careers and finances of the organization's top members, but it has led to a crash in credibility in the academic and professional spheres.

    The TL;DR take was the APA is, at this point, completely captured by careerist professional leaders who are tying the organization's reputation to partisan political causes to win personal brownie points.

    Was it written by Christopher Ferguson?

    Here's Ferguson's MO: publish research of inconsistent quality. Complain loudly when his research isn't included in analyses and reports. Ignore the times when his research is included in analyses. Claim the APA is captured by special interests. Write editorials for mass-media outlets promoting his conspiracy theory. Get picked up by journalists looking for a token academic to represent the "anti-" side of any article on the topic.

    There is one of these guys (a highly vocal, heterodox academic) in every single scientific controversy ready to represent the minority opinion to journalists. When an academic complains loudly to mass media outlets that the scientific establishment is ignoring contrary research (where most of the contrary research is of his own authorship)... well, he isn't necessarily wrong, but you should listen to him with a huge grain of salt.

    I hesitated to get into it too deeply in my post, to avoid ad hominem but this is a very good point as well. I touched on it when I discussed Ferguson's meta-analysis of publication bias. The entire thing reads like Ferguson arguing with Anderson, and citing other people as kind of perfunctory to try and distance himself from this appearance. What is funny is that the newer (third-party, i.e. not Anderson or Ferguson) meta-analysis about publication bias has an entire bit devoted to Ferguson's (non-professional, i.e. not published in scientific journals) claims that he is being "ignored".
    Perhaps bias against research that refutes the notion of a causal link between violent video games and aggression exists among most psychologists and social scientists more generally. As a result, it could be that researchers reporting contradictory results or interpretations of the empirical literature are systematically excluded from publication. However, publication patterns seem at odds with this notion. One need only look at the published work of Ferguson, one of the most vocal critics of the violent video game-aggression effect. He and his colleagues have published in a number of peer-juried, health and behavioral journals, including American Psychologist, European Psychologist, Psychological Bulletin, Review of General Psychology, and Social and Personality Compass. Ferguson (2010) was even published in a special section for which Ferguson was the section editor. If systemic bias were promoting a spurious causal effect of violent game play on behavioral aggression, then it seems unlikely that Ferguson and his colleagues would be granted so far ranging a voice in so many well regarded journals.

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