Study finds no evidence to link violent games with aggressive behavior

Bully is often shown as an example of a violent gamePh.D faculty member Christopher Ferguson at Texas A&M International University’s Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences and Criminal Justice, could not find a link between violent video games and violent behavior. The researcher sent Gamepolitics information about a study he recently completed.

To quote the explanations: “I conducted a meta-analysis of studies associating violent video game exposure with aggressive behaviors. A meta-analysis involves collecting existing studies in the literature, and obtaining an over all effect size (i.e. degree of relationship) for all of the studies examined. This allows us to get a sense, not just for individual research projects, but rather for the overall result from combined studies in a field.

In the current publication, studies that examined violent video game effects on aggressive behavior were analyzed. Also examined was a phenomenon called “publication bias” which means that scientific journals are more likely to publish studies that support a particular hypothesis than those that reject it.

Results from the current meta-analysis found that there were about 25 recent studies on violent video game effects, with conflicting results.

Overall results of the study found that although violent video games appear to increase people’s aggressive thoughts (which it would not be surprising that people are still thinking about what they were just playing), violent games do not appear to increase aggressive behavior.

This as true for both correlational and experimental studies. Also it was found that studies that employed less standardized measures of aggression produced higher effects than better standardized measures of aggression. In other words, better measures of aggression are associated with lower effects.

Publication bias appeared to be a significant issue for studies of aggressive behavior. Thus it was concluded that there is little evidence from the current body of literature on violent video games that playing violent video games is either causally or correlationally associated with increases in aggressive behavior.”

New Super Mario Bros. won't make you want to kill real turtlesTo quote the conclusions: “It appears that news outlets may promote media violence in general, and video game violence specifically as a direct cause of violent behavior.

Despite the relatively young and sparse nature of the research on violent video game effects, some researchers have claimed that the evidence is conclusive… Yet a close read of the literature reveals that many of the studies used to support this link provide only questionable or inconsistent evidence.

Part of the problem may be that video game researchers have adopted unreliable methodologies from media violence research in general… Most of the research (particularly laboratory research) employs unvalidated ad-hoc measures of ‘aggression’.”

The full study isn’t available online, but can be bought for $30 at Sciencedirect.