Study 'proves' that violent video games make kids aggressive

But debate ain't over

Mortal Kombat, a violent video game.

Mortal Kombat, a violent video game.

A study published in the March 2010 issue of Psychological Bulletin claims that it proves a connection between violent video games and aggressive children. Study leader Professor Craig Anderson of Iowa State University said, "exposure to violent video games increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior in both short-term and long-term contexts. Such exposure also increases aggressive thinking and aggressive affect, and decreases prosocial behavior."

Anderson's study claims that regardless of age, sex or culture, violent video games increase the risk of future aggressive behavior.

"These are not huge effects," he qualified in a press release, "not on the order of joining a gang vs. not joining a gang. But these effects are also not trivial in size. It is one risk factor for future aggression and other sort of negative outcomes."

A research paper also published in Psychological Bulletin by researchers from Texas A&M International University disputes Anderson's "conclusive" findings, saying that their study "included many studies that do not relate well to serious aggression, an apparently biased sample of unpublished studies."

The authors of the research paper conclude:

There are real risks that the exaggerated focus on [violent video games], fueled by some scientists, distracts society from much more important causes of aggression, including poverty, peer influences, depression, family violence, and Gene X Environment interactions. Although it is certainly true that few researchers suggest that [violent video games] are the sole cause of violence, this does not mean they cannot be wrong about [violent video games] having any meaningful effect at all. Psychology, too often, has lost its ability to put the weak (if any) effects found for [violent video games] on aggression into a proper perspective. In doing so, it does more to misinform than inform public debates on this issue.

In other words, this debate ain't over yet.

Source:Videogame Violence Researchers Battle (Non-Violently) [GamePolitics]

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