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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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Why can't people just accept...
By FaceMaster on 1/26/2009 10:06:05 AM , Rating: -1
...that playing violent games will result in more violent behaviour? Just as doing good deeds will result in better people, driving around a city, shooting old ladies and murdering prostitutes for money, will result in more twisted and sick individuals. Just because we've got there slowly via pacman, tomb raider, metal gear solid, it doesn't mean that killing innocent civilians in games is any more acceptable.

I for one will never play a game like that because I know it's wrong and it's obviously distasteful. Violent movies are fine though because you don't do anything yourself other than watch, and as we all know, watching a crime take place is okay because you don't get involved. I also like scaring people younger than me. But that's okay too, as there's no physical damage, only mental.

RE: Why can't people just accept...
By Dreifort on 1/26/2009 10:16:31 AM , Rating: 2
but I find GTA violence funny and amusing in the privacy of my own home. But I never have the urge or tendency to go out and punch a hooker.

What about violence from playing Madden football? Just playing the CPU, the game cheats and can draw violent reactions to the game turning against you. Or if you play against someone else and you just get mad from losing.

It doesn't just have to be violent shoot'em up games to draw violence out of an individual. Just lack of real life experiences can keep ppl/kids from learning how to deal with failure.

RE: Why can't people just accept...
By FaceMaster on 1/26/09, Rating: 0
RE: Why can't people just accept...
By Moishe on 1/26/2009 11:36:32 AM , Rating: 2
...But I never have....

he IS speaking for himself.

By Dark Legion on 1/26/2009 10:31:23 AM , Rating: 2
Wow...I actually can't tell if you're serious or not, but either way that's some twisted logic.

By MrBlastman on 1/26/2009 10:33:54 AM , Rating: 3
Look, just because I got a HUGE smile on my face from playing "Paratrooper" on my 286, it has never lead to me sitting in my back yard with a mobile anti-aircraft gun blasting away into the sky just trying to knock people out of the air.

Get real.

So it is better to ignore the fact that we, as people, think impure thoughts about other people and places - and, being prudent individuals, if we never act upon these in any fashion within a game we will keep them bottled up inside indefinitely? Or, would it be better to act them out in a controlled environment (your living room on your couch) within a fantasy setting, allowing us to relieve stress in a harmless way? Psychologists agree that it is WORSE to leave stress un-dealt with rather than to find a constructive means of releasing it...

RE: Why can't people just accept...
By Moishe on 1/26/2009 11:33:22 AM , Rating: 2
Your definition of right and wrong are skewed.
Playing games is not wrong. You have a personal opinion about violent games. I accept that and I am glad you and I have the right to have opinions, but it doesn't make your opinion right, or wrong.

By nycromes on 1/26/2009 1:39:00 PM , Rating: 1
I guess we shouldn't have cars either because obviously having cars leads people to kill others in drunk driving accidents. /sarcasm off

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