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Another Study Attacks Violent Video Games, Claims To Be "Conclusive"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the subjective-research-is-now-conclusive dept.

Games 587

Killer Orca is one of many to tell us about a new study on the effects of violent video games on kids. The latest meta-study that analyzed research from 130 different reports claims to have "conclusively proven" that violent video games make more aggressive, less caring kids. "The team used meta-analytic procedures — the statistical methods used to analyze and combine results from previous, related literature -- to test the effects of violent video game play on the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings of the individuals, ranging from elementary school-aged children to college undergraduates. [...] Anderson says the new study may be his last meta-analysis on violent video games because of its definitive findings."

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587 comments

As always... (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322148)

As always, whenever this topic comes up, here are my thoughts on it:

http://livingwithanerd.com/violence-in-videogames/ [livingwithanerd.com]

Excerpt:

You have to allow the little monster to come out every now and then and release its frustrations. If you don't, you risk becoming a quivering mass of nervous and dangerous flesh. What better place to do this than in a simulated environment with simulated violence where the only things harmed are your eyes for staring at the screen?

Re:As always... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322264)

You know, psychology has shown that "letting it out" doesn't in fact result in your become calmer. It does rather the opposite.

I don't really think that engaging in videogame violence is anywhere near the real thing, I'm just saying that if that's your reasoning, it's flawed. If that's your excuse for playing videogames, why don't you just admit that you enjoy them, and leave it at that?

Re:As always... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322442)

you know, understanding psychology would help you understand that letting it out physically can make you less calm.

Letting it out emotionally/mentally (constructively) can result in you being more calm.

Re:As always... (4, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322504)

You know, psychology has shown that "letting it out" doesn't in fact result in your become calmer. It does rather the opposite.

I don't really think that engaging in videogame violence is anywhere near the real thing, I'm just saying that if that's your reasoning, it's flawed. If that's your excuse for playing videogames, why don't you just admit that you enjoy them, and leave it at that?

It's not my excuse...at least, not any more. There was a time (early teens) when I had an absolutely horrendous temper. I'm extremely laid back now, but back then my anger was sometimes nearly uncontrollable (seriously...there were times when I literally felt like I almost couldn't control myself. It was bad. Real bad.) Weightlifting and violent video games were the only two things I found that I could focus on rather than lashing out. In a way, violent video games were part of the reason I DIDN'T become dangerously violent in real life...they provided me with a safe way to live out the violence I wanted. To me, it wasn't venting...it was "good enough", as opposed to going through with the real thing.

Interestingly, as I've gotten older (one month shy of 26 now) and chilled out, I find myself playing violent video games less. I still enjoy them, but they are no longer therapeutic...I would rather play a game with a good story instead of, for example, taking a chainsaw to the Locust. ::shrug:: Don't know if violent video games were part of the cure, or if it was age, or maturity...but whatever it was, just about any violent emotion and feeling is completely gone in me. I'm as harmful as jello at this point (although I'm still kinda built like a 5'7" linebacker, lol)

Naturally, YMMV, this is just my own experience, etc applies.

Re:As always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322560)

Interestingly, as I've gotten older (one month shy of 26 now) and chilled out, I find myself playing violent video games less. I still enjoy them, but they are no longer therapeutic...I would rather play a game with a good story instead of, for example, taking a chainsaw to the Locust. ::shrug:: Don't know if violent video games were part of the cure, or if it was age, or maturity

Probably the weightlifting.

Re:As always... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322642)

Not likely. Weightlifting can certainly be credited with dissipating my anger, but did nothing to satiate my lust for violence.

Re:As always... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322520)

Or you, like many others, can keep you mouth shut when you don't know about the topic you are speaking. Just think to yourself "If I post this, how much does it prove I am a moron/asshole/useless talking head?" and then go out and walk in traffic...slowly.

Re:As always... (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322412)

The way I've always described the effect of violent video games:

Digital punching bag. At least for me and some of my friends, the stress release of violent video games made us LESS violent in school.

Re:As always... (1, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322656)

The punching bag claim is a classic one. However, the evidence suggests that one actually shouldn't use punching bags to try to release anger. One actually ends up as more angry than trying to keep it under control. Similar remarks apply to screaming or other aggressive acts. This is simply pop-psychology that is utterly wrong. See J. Bushman's 2002 paper in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin which has been replicated since then. This is one of many pop pysch myths discussed (and mainly debunked) in Richard Wiseman's excellent book "59 Seconds" (from where I first learned of the Bushman study).

Re:As always... (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322436)

Yea, you know a lot of psychopathic serial killers released their frustrations now and then on cats and small animals.

Because that was a better alternative at the time than on people. Sorta filled the same role that a digital city where you can kill people and cops (GTA anyone?) does.

Now, someone that isn't already twisted isn't going to become so from video games, but it's hard to deny that constantly seeing violence and gore doesn't harden one to it.

Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (5, Insightful)

SpuriousLogic (1183411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322150)

It's just another study by people with an agenda.

Re:Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (4, Interesting)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322232)

You can see the study author's bent in this quote:

"It's now time to move on to a more constructive question like, 'How do we make it easier for parents -- within the limits of culture, society and law -- to provide a healthier childhood for their kids?'" But Anderson knows it will take time for the creation and implementation of effective new policies.

Um... is it the government's job to make parenthood easier? I thought they put the kids in front of the glowing screen in order to give themselves (the parents) a break from parenting.

Re:Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322432)

Metastudies are a troubling area. What's more, particularly with this kind of work, there's a huge risk of GIGO... Even where the "researchers" don't have an agenda.

It's just bunk. Pure bunk. It comes too late to save Jack Thomas (thankfully).

Re:Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (3, Funny)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322624)

There's only one thing for it - we need to do a metastudy on this serious issue!

Re:Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (4, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322490)

What I think is more interesting is the stuff right after that:

But Anderson knows it will take time for the creation and implementation of effective new policies. And until then, there is plenty parents can do to protect their kids at home. "Just like your child's diet and the foods you have available for them to eat in the house, you should be able to control the content of the video games they have available to play in your home," he said. "And you should be able to explain to them why certain kinds of games are not allowed in the house -- conveying your own values. You should convey the message that one should always be looking for more constructive solutions to disagreements and conflict."

I really don't have a problem with that analogy (between parents controlling a kid's diet and controlling what games they play). However, he seems to be arguing that we need new policies that go beyond this. That breaks the analogy. People are already upset over the idea of the gummint telling them what they should and shouldn't eat through things like "fat taxes." Fat kids abound; instead of parents taking responsibility for their children's diets, maybe we should ban the sale of candy bars and soda pop to minors.

Re:Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (4, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322532)

I like the logic, all rapists drink water it must be the water! Time to start watering our plnts with BRAWNDO The Thirst Mutilator.

Re:Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (4, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322568)

It's only an "agenda" in the sense that it has a viewpoint you disagree with.

Here's an article done a while back by the same psychologist as the study done in the OP: http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2003/10/anderson.aspx [apa.org] . To summerize:

Video Game Violence, and media violence in general, are more than proven to increase aggression. This is not an area of "mixed results" any more than any other group of studies--there are always outliers. It's as conclusive as wifi and cell phone signals not causing cancer or being responsible for "electrosensitivity". Probably more so, since media violence has had over 40 years of research, whereas EMF health studies are relatively recent.

He also has some very pointed words about the massive overuse of the phrase "Correlation is not causation".

If you still think he has an agenda, then read this:

Media violence is only one of many factors that contribute to societal violence and is certainly not the most important one. Media violence researchers have repeatedly noted this. (Emphisis mine)

In other words, if your goal is to reduce violence in society at large, media violence, including video games, are not where you should be focusing your efforts. These studies in no way justify going to huge lengths to censor such violence. They justify parents being more attentive. Inattentive parents in various forms are probably a bigger factor in overall societal violence than any specific media violence.

Re:Just like porn "conclusively" creates rapists (4, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322590)

I'm waiting for the meta study that shows that studies on video games leading to anger make video gamers angry.

I'll shoot anyone in the face who says that I'm vi (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322164)

I'll shoot anyone in the face who says that I'm violent.

Re:I'll shoot anyone in the face who says that I'm (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322434)

Reading your comment turned me into a violent criminal.

And that's conclusive.

Funny (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322168)

I seem to remember there being plenty of violent criminals before video games were invented.

Yawn. Another academic tries to prove his pet theory. Nothing is "conclusive" in science. You can merely fail to reject the hypothesis.

It's like saying that children who participate in animal cruelty grow up to be serial killers because most serial killers have a history of animal cruelty. They fail to take into account that almost all CHILDREN have been cruel to an animal at one time or another. No, that doesn't support the point we want to make, so let's not mention it...

Maybe he's right. (5, Funny)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322170)

Just taking the viewpoint that the majority of comments will probably not take.

Re:Maybe he's right. (3, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322202)

Doubtful. Violent video games have been around for a while now, and VIOLENT CRIME CONTINUES TO DECREASE.

But don't believe me, just take a look at the DOJ website.

Re:Maybe he's right. (5, Funny)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322400)

Death's been around for a while now, an POPULATION CONTINUES TO INCREASE.

Ergo, Death doesn't decrease population.

Re:Maybe he's right. (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322456)

Came here to say pretty much this. If the argument that videogames induce/increase violence in kids had any merit then as videogames became more and more ubiqitous we would be seeing a RISE in violent crime, not a freefall starting right around the 90's.

Re:Maybe he's right. (5, Insightful)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322638)

Unless other causes had reduced violent crime, of course. For the same reason he can't assume violent video games cause violence you can't assume violent video games reduce violence.

Re:Maybe he's right. (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322318)

Well, I mean his study is conclusive. I guess that means he must be right?

Of course the article is completely fact free, with no actual methodology or conclusions other than "the effects are measurable."

Ooooo, measurable. Look out everyone, the effects are measurable. Whatever the hell they are.

Of course, they're not measurable in an upswing of violent crime, or anything like that. But gaming and puppy kicking behaviours? Strong correlation. Also, I'm told, gaming and pwning noobs is also strongly correlated.

Re:Maybe he's right. (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322556)

What would you need to change your mind that a concensous has been reached.

Re:Maybe he's right. (3, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322622)

Maybe if Al Gore said so we'd know the debate was over.

Re:Maybe he's right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322518)

Of coarse he's wrong. As a typical Slashdotter, I don't need to read this study to dismiss it out of hand.

Re:Maybe he's right. (4, Insightful)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322592)

Let's assume he's right (which I will not pass judgment on). What does that imply?

It implies that age-restricted material shouldn't be sold to minors and that parents should be more active in determining what is appropriate for their children.

Do we really need a study to tell us that?

So does living in New York (5, Funny)

Kagato (116051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322174)

You know what else makes people indifferent and uncaring... living in New York city. Nobody can ignore a bum on the street nearly as well. Should we ban living there too?

Re:So does living in New York (5, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322420)

I live in New York, you FUCKING ASSHO - ahem, I mean, you insensitive clod!

Seriously, it's usually people who've never lived in NYC that say things like this. We're as good-natured as any Americans. And when was the last time you offered a homeless guy on the street a place to stay?

Re:So does living in New York (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322612)

Lol assho

Re:So does living in New York (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322472)

nahh they should just follow Miami's lead

http://idle.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=10/03/01/169217 [slashdot.org]

stop the few people left who do care and the bum's will starve to death - making room for more non bums in NYC to pay more taxes..

am i off base? or was i wrong in thinking all laws have a money side to them?

Uh... no. (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322176)

Nothing other than a double-blind study with random selection of test subjects can truly be considered "conclusive", IMHO. All studies that I've seen thus far are hopelessly thwarted by selection bias.

Re:Uh... no. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322250)

How does one double-blind a video game violence study? The subject pretty much has to know whether or not he/she has been playing a violent video game. Unless you've got funding to include NOXIOUS AMNESIA GAS in the protocol.

Re:Uh... no. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322526)

Blind to the researcher. You need to take two sets of people, test them, then put them into a secluded environment. One set has to do something besides gaming, and the other has to do nothing but gaming, and then see if you can measure any effects after, say, 6 months.

Even this is going to be problematic, because the "something else" has a vast potential for screwing up results. If something else is watching snuff porn, you're going to get different results from a group where the "something else" is volunteering in a maternity ward, or something.

In a nutshell, human behaviour is too multifaceted to pull out a single factor. Might as well correlate behavioural changes to Mountain Dew.

Re:Uh... no. (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322602)

Might as well correlate behavioural changes to Mountain Dew.

But it is! No Mountain Dew and no TV make me something something.

Re:Uh... no. (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322650)

You don't tell the subjects what you're testing and why. They may play video games but they wouldn't know exactly why they're being told to do so. It's the standard way of doing psych studies although it can fail if the subjects are clever enough to figure things out.

Re:Uh... no. (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322652)

Maybe you can't do a double blind video game study. That's not the parent's point. The author of the study is declaring something definitive based on non-definitive work.

I wonder what the long-term effects of using NOXIOUS AMNESIA GAS on kids are?

Re:Uh... no. (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322280)

How can you have a double-blind study measuring the effects of a particular type of game? I think you're setting impossible standards.

Definitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322178)

If you're willing to call something definitive, especially something that can be considered subjective, its probably not definitive.

Same sh*t, different decade. (3, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322180)

This reminds me of the TV version of this anti-violence crusade in the 80s and 90s.

One thing that always stuck out in my mind about that last round was how the talking
heads of that movement would take things out of context and then whine about them. I
knew this because I watched the stuff they were whining about. They would show you a
little 15 or 30 second bit and then criticize it and leave out ANY of the context.

People can abuse information in any way that suits them.

Disraeli probably didn't even say it first.

Re:Same sh*t, different decade. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322428)

They did it for comic books back in the 50's and 60's. True story. The were accused of promoting communism, homosexuality, and violence. Before that I think it was jazz music?

New == scary for a certain type of person.

The D&D effect (3, Interesting)

SpuriousLogic (1183411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322646)

Anyone remember when the far right religious wing started saying that playing D&D turned people into Satanists who then ritually killed people? Same stuff, different decade. Believe it or not, Ann Coulter [wikipedia.org] of all people even called this type of reasoning BS when she said, "Consider the harmless fantasy game, Dungeons and Dragons -- which happens to be played almost exclusively by young males. When murders were committed in the '80s by (1) young men, who were (2) Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts, some people concluded that factor (2), rather than factor (1), led to murderous tendencies. [humanevents.com] "

"not huge effects" (4, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322182)

FTA:

"These are not huge effects -- not on the order of joining a gang vs. not joining a gang," said Anderson. "But these effects are also not trivial in size. It is one risk factor for future aggression and other sort of negative outcomes. And it's a risk factor that's easy for an individual parent to deal with -- at least, easier than changing most other known risk factors for aggression and violence, such as poverty or one's genetic structure."

The analysis found that violent video game effects are significant in both Eastern and Western cultures, in males and females, and in all age groups. Although there are good theoretical reasons to expect the long-term harmful effects to be higher in younger, pre-teen youths, there was only weak evidence of such age effects.

How did they rule out the possibility that children who are prone to violence might also be prone to playing more violent video games?

Re:"not huge effects" (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322248)

How did they rule out the possibility that children who are prone to violence might also be prone to playing more violent video games?

That is a common point my wife makes whenever we have this conversation with someone. None of these studies look at whether or not violent people are attracted to violent entertainment (which, logically, they most likely are). Also, violence has different effects on different people. In my case, playing violent video games and watching violent movies as a kid has desensitized me to violence in such a way that I don't flinch from it. I don't engage in it, I'm just able to view it objectively and react with a clear head.

This has come in handy in many instances...the best example being when I worked as a mechanic and a buddy had one of his fingers lopped off by a metal radiator fan (the clutch in the fan was seized, so the normal "deadning" of the fan didn't occur when his finger hit the blade.) I was able to keep my cool, get his finger in the freezer, AND clean/bandage his wound until the paramedics arrived.

Re:"not huge effects" (3, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322254)

How did they rule out that humans by nature are violent animals?

Re:"not huge effects" (4, Funny)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322392)

I would assume by killing all the dissenters.

Re:"not huge effects" (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322296)

How did they rule out the possibility that children who are prone to violence might also be prone to playing more violent video games?

More importantly, what sources does he cite to genetics and poverty being risk factors for violence?

The things that everyone "just knows" are the ones that often must be validated with facts and evidence rather than anecdotes.

Re:"not huge effects" (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322502)

Would you ask me to cite my sources if I said that Stalin wasn't a nice guy? Some things are pretty well established, the fact that poor people with violent parents are more likely to be violent is one of those things.

Re:"not huge effects" (1)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322312)

You're questioning him. Don't question him. He said it himself, it's definitive. We have to take his word on it!

Re:"not huge effects" (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322386)

You obviously didn't read the article. The guys a psychologist. They don't "rule things out"; they make a hypothesis, collect supporting data, and publish. Their findings are basically fad driven, and impossible to truly prove or disprove.

This guy has been "studying" video game violence for more than a decade: that it's taken him this long to come up with "conclusive" results is near miraculous.

Re:"not huge effects" (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322464)

You should be able to find his methods in the preprint [iastate.edu] of this paper on his university website. I haven't had a chance to read it so I have nothing more to add.

Re:"not huge effects" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322512)

I agree with that - having some anecdotes of my own I sure can't tell whether "annoying little asinine snits play video games a lot" or "playing video games a lot makes kids into annoying little asinine snits". One or the other is true for the sample size I've personally seen, but prove which one it is? How?

Pretty balanced view (4, Insightful)

monoi (811392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322184)

From TFA:

"These are not huge effects -- not on the order of joining a gang vs. not joining a gang," said Anderson. "But these effects are also not trivial in size. It is one risk factor for future aggression and other sort of negative outcomes. And it's a risk factor that's easy for an individual parent to deal with -- at least, easier than changing most other known risk factors for aggression and violence, such as poverty or one's genetic structure."

As a parent, that seems a pretty fair and balanced analysis to me. And yes, I have been known to play GTA myself. As an adult.

Re:Pretty balanced view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322370)

From TFA:

"These are not huge effects -- not on the order of joining a gang vs. not joining a gang," said Anderson. "But these effects are also not trivial in size. It is one risk factor for future aggression and other sort of negative outcomes. And it's a risk factor that's easy for an individual parent to deal with -- at least, easier than changing most other known risk factors for aggression and violence, such as poverty or one's genetic structure."

As a parent, that seems a pretty fair and balanced analysis to me.

And yes, I have been known to play GTA myself. As an adult.

Yes, take away the kid's video games so you can go back to blaming their violent ways on your shitty house or the genes your kid inherited...

Unpopular opinion? Yep, that's me.

I will not be satisfied until studiers are studied (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322194)

How can we prove that these studies are valid, without a good valid study demonstrating that it's not the categorical violence inherent in the research study that is causing these results to suggest that the kids themselves are more violent as a result of these violent video games.

Nice use of the word "Attack" by the way. As a violent video game player, I totally had a mental flash of a stack of papers beating the s^%&% out of a game console cartridge.

Definitive on what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322196)

That he's a complete loon, idiot, incompetent?
Sorry - but we grew up on ultra-violent-tv - bugs bunny / road-runner / daffy duck / elmer fudd - etc... drek-cetra - always getting shot, blown up, smashed, poisoned, etc...

Before that, it was war, television broadcasts, movie shorts, etc...

Before that it was real-life - wild-animals, bandits, thieves, scum, etc, drek-cetra

The human race is violent... The entertainment we choose is violent. Always has, always will be.

Sorry - same thing, different generation.

Re:Definitive on what? (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322564)

Would you say that humans have become more violent or less violent since we stopped living in tribes? Would you say that's a good thing or a bad thing?

Violent crime went up pretty dramatically from 1970-1990 and has been dropping since. I don't think the reason is video games, but as I prefer not to be mugged, I'd like to know why this happened so that we can install social programs to curb future violence.

Throwing up your hands and saying "violence happens" isn't helpful, because we know there are things we can do about it (like education.)

The science is settled! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322206)

The latest meta-study that analyzed research from 130 different reports claims to have "conclusively proven"

Pay no attention to the stolen e-mails. The behavior science is settled, and the scientific consensus is:

that violent video games make more aggressive, less caring kids.

Re:The science is settled! (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322320)

Do you have any evidence that they stole emails, or are you just making shit up and believing what you want to believe just like them?

Re:The science is settled! (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322382)

I wonder how biased these reports are... Usually, in peer-reviewed journal articles, there is more of a tendency to publish successful experiments and slide unsuccessful ones under the rug. So, if I report sets out to link violence and video games, and fails, it might not get published versus one that does. It seems to me like there would be plenty of confounding factors to make this meta study moot.
Besides, a study that uses meta-analysis to 'prove' something 'conclusively' makes my bullshit-meter rise.

Fucking Aye! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322488)

What do evolution, global warming and the link between video games and violence all have in common?

All three are "conclusively" proven to people pushing an agenda.

And all three are complete bullshit to anyone with half a brain.

The Only Thing Conclusive... (3, Insightful)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322212)

... is that it is very challenging to study political hot topics without bias.

Re:The Only Thing Conclusive... (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322430)

... is that it is very challenging to study political hot topics without bias.

Yet more conclusive is that political hot topics attract grant whores^W^W civic-minded scientists. From FTA:

The researchers conclude that the study has important implications for public policy debates, including development and testing of potential intervention strategies designed to reduce the harmful effects of playing violent video games.

Don't touch my video games! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322226)

If you take away my videogames, I will kill you all!

I'm dubious (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322228)

he says a new study he led, analyzing 130 research reports on more than 130,000 subjects worldwide

It (TFA is actually a link to the school that did the study) doesn't take into account that many if not most of the studies he was studying were horribly flawed and designed to give the answer the researcher wanted (in short, not real science). Few studies I've seen on the subject were the least bit reputable.

However, at the end is a bit of hope -- he calls for parents, not governments, to police the children

"From a public policy standpoint, it's time to get off the question of, 'Are there real and serious effects?' That's been answered and answered repeatedly," Anderson said. "It's now time to move on to a more constructive question like, 'How do we make it easier for parents -- within the limits of culture, society and law -- to provide a healthier childhood for their kids?'"

Re:I'm dubious (2, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322458)

It (TFA is actually a link to the school that did the study) doesn't take into account that many if not most of the studies he was studying were horribly flawed and designed to give the answer the researcher wanted (in short, not real science).

This is the real kicker. Metanalysis doesn't work by magic. All it does it attempt to lump together different studies to see if a statistically valid correlation can be found in the data. One hopes that by having larger numbers, you get better statistical power than was available from smaller studies.

The validity of these studies is critically intwined with quality of the individual research. If all they did was lump everything together, you're going to get a lump of garbage. Interestingly, TFA doesn't mention any statisticians as authors. I would have serious doubts that psychiatrists or psychologists would have enough of a background in statistics to create a quality analysis.

And the fact that he is enough of an egotistical jerk to suggest that he has "definitively" proven anything in psychiatry leads me to believe that this is just part of the 94.277% (P less than 0.001) of all research that is crap.

Re:I'm dubious (2, Interesting)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322594)

It (TFA is actually a link to the school that did the study) doesn't take into account that many if not most of the studies he was studying were horribly flawed and designed to give the answer the researcher wanted (in short, not real science).

This is the real kicker. Metanalysis doesn't work by magic. All it does it attempt to lump together different studies to see if a statistically valid correlation can be found in the data. One hopes that by having larger numbers, you get better statistical power than was available from smaller studies.

The validity of these studies is critically intwined with quality of the individual research. If all they did was lump everything together, you're going to get a lump of garbage. Interestingly, TFA doesn't mention any statisticians as authors. I would have serious doubts that psychiatrists or psychologists would have enough of a background in statistics to create a quality analysis.

And the fact that he is enough of an egotistical jerk to suggest that he has "definitively" proven anything in psychiatry leads me to believe that this is just part of the 94.277% (P less than 0.001) of all research that is crap.

A distressingly large number of psychological/sociological studies (I agree with your 94.277%) have deeply flawed statistics and/or experimental design. This meta-analytical study starts by assuming the validity of the conclusions from these broken studies and then adds another layer of potential statistical and design mistakes on top of that.

In such a fuzzy field, it would be much more useful to move in the other direction: rather than looking at tons of other studies from high overhead, very carefully examine one at a time to determine how valid it is.

Or maybe (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322238)

An attention seeking/instant gratification/short attention span culture is generating less caring, more violent children because their communication is self-centered, widely dispersed and largely meaningless between their 7000 text messages a month and their garish myspace pages with 10000 friends.

Re:Or maybe (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322426)

Except that, apparently, children are becoming less and less violent, and have been doing so for a few decades now, according to violent crime statistics in America.

Let me at 'em (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322240)

I'll pummel them I tells ya! How dare they! Video games don't make me more violent! I'll rip their throats out!!!!

To defeat terrorists take their X-Boxes (1)

ZuchinniOne (1617763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322242)

Because obviously the most violent places in the world, like parts of Africa, Afganistan / Pakistan and the Colombian drug forests have far too many violent video games. ... and where are the studies saying that Hockey, Football, etc ... cause violent behavior?

I guess we should ban that too.

videogame violence studies make researchers stupid (1)

buback (144189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322304)

I can conclusively prove that researching the effects of violent video games on children make the researchers stupider.
My evidence? http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2010/mar/vvgeffects [iastate.edu]

Video games don't make me violent... (1)

Kirin Fenrir (1001780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322306)

...studies about video game violence make me violent.

Correlation is not causation (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322336)

Yes, this is always trotted out, but I think it's applicable here. How can you demonstrate causation through a meta-analysis? Without randomizing your subjects, and subjecting them to different treatments you can't prove that any given effect is caused by that treatment and not a 3rd variable.

Also, how big is this effect compared to other things we tolerate as a society? Watching sports for instance causes an increase in testosterone, and testosterone is linked to aggressive behavior. We need this kind of context in order to prioritize how we treat these issues.

Intervention studies are expensive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322468)

...hence you will have a steady stream of researchers pretending that their latest non-randomized non-intervention non-natural-experiment study is CONCLUSIVE proof of whatever they want to get in the press over. Which it usually isn't.

Bonus points for "But we have THOUSANDS of subjects!!!11!".

PS.
Caveat: I haven't read his metastudy. Perhaps there is intervention / NE stuff in there. But usually, there isn't.

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322524)

What I find so interesting is how people on Slashdot are so willing to attack a study that comes up with an answer they don't like.
If you read the link it actually seems very interesting and well balanced.
I wonder if any study would ever be good enough for the Slashdot audience.
In that respect the Slashdot readership reminds me of creationists.
"No study can prove us wrong because we know the truth."

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322606)

I'm willing to attack any and all meta-analyses. Either the research out there is good, in which case you can just look at the results, or it's bad, in which case you need to fix it and discard it. Averaging a bunch of flawed studies is just going to give you a flawed average.

Also, I've been looking through the preprint of this paper and I'm finding very few instances of the string "causa", none of which have anything to do with how he can actually show causation.

Versus other risk factors (2, Insightful)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322338)

The article claims it's a risk factor, right?

I'd like to know how it compares to other 'risk factors' such as parents who drink, parents who smoke, or parents who are psychologists.

I move that we must first issue a ban on people who drink from having children...tricky to enforce in that many children are a result of excessive drinking

Iowa state talking about an Iowa state study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322354)

Not really the most unbiased of articles unless there's a history of Iowa State University ripping into their professors articles online.

Might be true, might be false. I'll wait for an unbiased article.

When I was kid... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322378)

The Three Stooges and Batman on TV was considered dangerous for kids. You know, poking out eyes and screaming, "Baaaaatmaaaaan!"

Re:When I was kid... (1)

chrisj_0 (825246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322460)

I used to pow, biff, bang, wallop my brother all the time after watching Batman

Violent crime descrese after first video game (3, Interesting)

Minupla (62455) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322406)

Oddly enough violent crime has been decreasing since 1992, and is now at 1960 levels. Ergo another possible conclusion: Video games decrease overall societal violence level.

Consider that the first generation of videogame kids became old enough to start committing violent acts readily in the early 90s.

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Note to parents: this also puts the lie to "we must keep our kids inside all the time, since it's a scary world out there".

Yes, I'm a parent, and yes, I'm thinking of my children!

Min

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322604)

Afterward, therefore, because of it. Same reasoning as what's used in all the studies, and just as valid.

Makes me more violent? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322470)

Pff, I don't care.

as with all statistical methods (1)

darkmalice (1746974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322474)

we use the reports and findings that benefit only what we want the result to be. as Pojut quoted we need to release the inner monster sometimes.

Absolutely true! (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322498)

But you have to use the right definitions.

"Conclusive": Of, relating to, or being a CONCLUSION.
"Conclusion": (2) The last part of something.

So they proved it conclusively, by writing it up as the last step in performing the study.

Doesn't mean they proved it irrefutably. Just that they concluded their study with a possibly-flawed statement. ;)

Obligatory XKCD reference: Nachos (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322522)

"BOOM! HEADSHOT."

http://xkcd.com/654/ [xkcd.com]

We should keep an open mind about this. (4, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322540)

For people like me who take science very seriously, I find these results disappointing. I imagine that many people here do as well. Let's remember, though, that just because we don't like the results does not make them wrong. I was really hoping that the universe would not end in a boring heat death, but I'm not about to attack cosmologists because the results of their research have dashed my hopes.

We have to examine the data very carefully, trying to look for other explanations for the correlations that were allegedly discovered. If becomes an established conclusion in the field that video games weakly cause violent and antisocial behavior, we might still decide that we don't need to do anything to regulate them beyond "M" labeling. This research result, even if confirmed, doesn't mean that the prudes won and that the state will be prying Crisis from some fat kid's cold dead fingers. We have many choices in how to react to this. But let's not get on our high-horse and yell about how this research must be tainted because we don't like the result. Fundamentalists with no respect for science do that, and we should meet a higher standard.

My evidence is much more conclusive (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322546)

The last few mass murderers I've seen have all been bunny hopping from place to place throughout their entire massacre. Where else do you pick up such skills?

Conclusively proven flawed (1)

MaerD (954222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322558)

"The team used meta-analytic procedures — the statistical methods used to analyze and combine results from previous, related literature

This just means that if *ANY* part of the previous published studies or literature on the subject is flawed in any way (bad sample size, bad methods, wrong conclusions) your study is doomed to produce the same flawed conclusion. Also, which studies were used? Did you use ones that did not support your position?

This all just points to "I want to say I've done a study without doing any real science".

Violent videogames do not cause violence - BUT - (4, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322562)

Violent videogames do not in of themselves cause violence - BUT - works of fiction (or exaggerated works of non-fiction), including videogames, with characters that exhibit extreme behavior, can warp our perceptions of what "normal" behavior is, giving us license to act in ways we'd otherwise consider extreme.

"Yeah, I'm a gangster and I've killed a few people but it's not like I'm Scarface or anything."
"Yeah, I'm not the best manager in the world, and I goof around a lot, but it's not like I'm Michael Scott or anything."
"Yeah, I've been known to give a perp a beatdown after he's cuffed, but it's not like I'm Jack Bauer or anything."
And so on and so on...

Garbage In Garbage Out (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322578)

I think that applies well. If you base your meta-study on bad studies, obviously you'll come to the same (erroneous) conclusions. I'm sure the author goes through plenty of analysis as to why his basis studies are acceptable...

Is the Actual Study Posted Somewhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31322582)

>> 130 research reports on more than 130,000 subjects worldwide

OK, tell me how you can *conclusively* make this kind of determination from surveys.

Maybe the more violent kids are drawn to video games (which skews the result to his "conclusion" that kids who play games are more violent.)

If you want to know this *conclusively* you need a random sample of adolescents which you assign to two groups. One group can't play video games at all, and the other group must play video games.

Evidently our Psychology Prof is not a scientist.

Anderson and Bushman *again*? (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322610)

How come the names of Anderson and Bushman come up so often in studies that find ill effects from playing video games? For whatever reason they seem to have quite a knack for finding exactly what they set out to look for. I understand that scientists do often manage to legitimately confirm their pet hypotheses, but why do these two manage to do so more often than other researchers who are working on the same question?

Very close to being junk science. (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 4 years ago | (#31322654)

"If a meta-analysis is conducted by an individual or organization with a bias or predetermined desired outcome, it should be treated as highly suspect or having a high likelihood of being "junk science". From an integrity perspective, researchers with a bias should avoid meta-analysis and use a less abuse-prone (or independent) form of research."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-analysis#Dangers_of_Agenda_Driven_Bias [wikipedia.org]

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