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Professor observes a large proportion of criticism of violent games come from the over 35 age demographic

Texas A&M International University professor Christopher Ferguson conducted a study and concluded there is "no significant relationship" between school shootings and playing violent video games. Highlights of the study were summarized by Gamepolitics.

Ferguson's study criticizes the methodology used by past studies that have linked violent video games to aggression. He points out for recent high profile shootings such as the Virginia Tech massacre, and the Utah Trolley Stop mall shooting no evidence of violent video game play by the perpetrator was found.  

Ferguson suggests video games are an easy target to attack for politicians, the news media, and social scientists. He also suggests self serving motivations are what drive these groups. Politicians are motivated by the need to create an appearance they are taking action against crime, for the news media negative news 'sells' better than positive news, for social scientists, it has been observed that a small group of researchers have been most vocal in promoting the anti-game message.  In comparison he states, "Actual causes of violent crime, such as family environment, genetics, poverty, and inequality, are oftentimes difficult, controversial, and intractable problems."

A very interesting observation Ferguson makes is that the majority of individuals critical of video games are above the age of 35 and have not directly experienced the game they are criticizing which some admit to. According to Ferguson, "commentators make claims betraying their unfamiliarity, such as that games like Grant Theft Auto ‘award points’ for antisocial behavior... despite that few games award points for anything anymore, instead focusing on stories." 

As an example of individuals who criticize games without verifying their claims, Ferguson points to the Cooper Lawrence, Mass Effect incident. Without playing the game Cooper Lawrence declared Mass Effect as pornography on Fox News. The resulting backlash forced Lawrence to recant her statements.

Ferguson summarized his findings stating, "The wealth of evidence... fails to establish a link between violent video games and violent crimes, including school shootings. The link has not merely been unproven; I argue that the wealth of available data simply weighs against any causal relationship."

With regards to school shootings he declares, "School shootings, although exceedingly rare, are an important issue worthy of serious consideration. However, for our understanding of this phenomenon to progress, we must move past the moral panic on video games and other media and take a hard look at the real causes of serious aggression and violence."

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Personaly ...
By Bengalboy on 1/26/2009 9:10:28 AM , Rating: 4
Why doesnt someone do some research in to the effects of Religion and Killing.

Think we have a lot more problems there than GTA Series and alike.

RE: Personaly ...
By Larrymon2000 on 1/26/2009 9:39:56 AM , Rating: 2
Why doesnt someone do some research in to the effects of Religion and Killing.

LOL by the time they complete this study, modern organized religion will be dead and gone with all the data they could bring up from the past 2000 years.

RE: Personaly ...
By rburnham on 1/26/2009 11:28:41 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Personaly ...
By Dreifort on 1/26/2009 10:08:50 AM , Rating: 1
School shootings usually involve peer pressure. Someone is perceived better than me, so I am going to shoot them to show them who is better. Almost pure jealousy or hatred toward those who outwardly show themselves as being "better".

While this same ideology could also explain extreme-Islamic violence (especially against the US), it is usually a different reasoning for Religious violence.

Violence and Religion usually pertain to difference of who is wrong or right. Not about who is better than me. You can be dirt poor or filthy rich. But if you worship a diff god, then most (not all) religions will react violently...physically or verbally.

RE: Personaly ...
By afkrotch on 1/26/2009 11:50:06 AM , Rating: 1
I wouldn't say any religion does anything. Condemn the few extremists, not the religion as a whole. Well, except for maybe Scientology.

RE: Personaly ...
By MrPoletski on 1/26/2009 11:56:47 AM , Rating: 1
I agree.

The thing about scientology is that you need to be some kind of extremist not to see through that crap.

RE: Personaly ...
By Triple Omega on 1/26/2009 3:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
Well the problem with that is that those "few extremists" can have a big influence. Enough of an influence to start entire (cival-)wars. Just look at Northern Ireland for example. It may start with a few extremists, but that doesn't mean it can't grow from there.

This is the main reason why I think organised religion is one of the worst things to happen to the world, next to religious people (trying to) enforcing there beliefs and values on non-religious people and people of different religions.(abortion, gay-marriage, stemcell-research, euthanasia, etc.) There are religions that do not have these problems, but they are a minority.

Also if you look a little farther into the past you can see that religions as a whole most definately did preform actions. Just a few hundred years ago the pope was still calling crusades and those weren't just supported by a few extremists. No, they were full blown armies. Actually they were one of the strongest forms of military action of the day.

So in the end most religions did and do try to enforce there ways onto others and have and can still start full blown (civil-)wars. So I think religion as a whole has done and will do more harm then good.

A little reading material on religious wars:

RE: Personaly ...
By Motoman on 1/26/2009 11:51:02 AM , Rating: 3
Research it? Read any history book ever published. Religion is the greatest force for destruction ever invented by man...far and away, no comparison.

But, since it gets couched in the concept of "good people are religious" you can't fight it. By the same token, when "good" people are a member of your religion, that indicates that members of other religions (or no religion) are "bad" people. Therefore installing the necessary inducement to kill them.

RE: Personaly ...
By metasin on 1/26/2009 1:29:40 PM , Rating: 2
Religion is the greatest force for destruction ever invented by man...far and away, no comparison.

Some form of idea superiority is a common connection to appalling human behavior. Not religion per se. Hitler, Pot, Tse-tung, Lenin/Stalin have destroyed more human lives than any religious movement. The justification was purely secular not religious.

The "My social ideas are so important that it justifies....." rationale is not necessarily limited to religion.

RE: Personaly ...
By Dreifort on 1/26/2009 1:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
isn't the superiority complex the same as peer pressure?

RE: Personaly ...
By Motoman on 1/26/2009 3:58:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no expert on many of those historical figures...but I can't believe you lumped Hitler in there. They basically co-opted/invented their own religion, and directly targeted Jews as the root of all their problems...??? Didn't Stalin outlaw religion?

RE: Personaly ...
By Moishe on 1/26/2009 4:26:51 PM , Rating: 3
Religious people are just humans. They have the same problems as everyone else.

Religion is a "group" of like minded people and when any group, religious or not, gets in the mind that killing is the thing to do... well then killing happens.

Nazis were a group, KKK, Hutu (Rwanda), etc, etc... You're blaming religion for basic human flaws.

Someone like you who is normally very reasonable on here surely has to admit that this is what humans do. Religion is just another type of group.

RE: Personaly ...
By kerpwnt on 1/26/2009 5:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
You're blaming religion for basic human flaws.

Before this digresses into an "evil nature of man" argument, I would would like to state that this violent nature is rooted further up in our taxonomy. We are not the only species on this planet that attacks its own kind. Chimps, gorillas, lions, and wolves seem to have tendencies similar to mankind's violent xenophobia. However, humans do have larger social groups and superior technology which makes violence easier to execute.

Religion exacerbates the issue when scripture is cherry-picked for language that supports a violent disposition. Religion on its own and as a whole is not necessarily evil, but it can be a powerful weapon in sinister hands.

RE: Personaly ...
By callmeroy on 1/26/2009 12:26:17 PM , Rating: 2
This study has been going on for thousands of years and still is today...for study updates 24/7 just turn on your local news station.

Its called the Middle East.

RE: Personaly ...
By Scabies on 1/26/2009 1:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
No no, what you refer to has nothing to do with Religion, and everything to do with Bush.

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