Scholars Ask US Psychologists to Stop Demonising Video Games

/ 8 years ago

video game violence

A recent study by the American Psychological Association suggests that there is a connection between video game violence and real-world violence. The inflammatorily-named “Task Force on Violent Media” paper, released by the APA, states:

“The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-social behaviour, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.”

The APA, however, has a sordid history of attacking video games, and by using less than scientific methods to facilitate its smears. Thankfully, a group of 230 academics have been paying attention, and have written an open letter to the APA asking it to stop its biased attacks on video games, calling its accusations “misleading and alarmist”.

The letter accuses the APA of cherrypicking data to support its pre-existing position, a trick that is not only unethical but fundamentally unscientific:

“The entire article of studies absolutely ignores all the contrary studies – something that seems wildly ethically unsound. It’s certainly relevant to gather together studies on the subject, but such selective choosing implies something else is afoot.”

Amongst the ‘papers’ cited by the APA study, very few were related to its conclusion, while one wasn’t even a scientific paper but rather a parents’ guide to Christmas shopping for their kids. The objecting scholars also attack a 2005 paper published by the APA, entitled “Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media”, which served as a jumping off point for “Task Force on Violent Media”:

“We express the concern that the APA’s previous (2005) policy statement delineated several strong conclusions on the basis of inconsistent or weak evidence. Research subsequent to that 2005 statement has provided even stronger evidence that some of the assertions in it cannot be supported.”

The letter, though polite and non-confrontational (the writers don’t play video games, obviously), absolutely owns the APA, exposing its bias, poor science, and unethical behaviour, and all without writing a paper called “Being a Member of the American Psychological Association Makes People Lie”.

Thank you Rock, Paper, Shotgun for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of GameSkinny.

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