Article of Note

I’ve often been one to scoff at the media’s suggestion that violent video games lead to violence in culture. But it turns out there is quite a lot of academic evidence linking video games to aggressive behaviour:

C. A. Anderson et al.’s (2010) extensive meta-analysis of the effects of violent video games confirms what these theories predict and what prior research about other violent mass media has found: that violent video games stimulate aggression in the players in the short run and increase the risk for aggressive behaviors by the players later in life… Yet the results of meta-analyses are unlikely to change the critics’ views or the public’s perception that the issue is undecided because some studies have yielded null effects, because many people are concerned that the implications of the research threaten freedom of expression, and because many people have their identities or self-interests closely tied to violent video games.

That’s just one. It’s also worth hitting up Google Scholar to see the number of papers on this issue. Food for thought.

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.


  1. It’s a back-and-forth thing. This references a negative review of that study. As it points out, the ultimate correlation was pretty weak anyways, on the order of 0.15. It’s got low explanatory capabilities.

  2. I love how in the comments there someone jumps in with anecdotal evidence despite being pointed in the direction of half a dozen academic papers!

  3. Though those papers might be in a back-and-forth, there are a few other more interesting ones expanding upon mechanisms and delinquent behaviour. God I sound like an old man – I don’t mean to, merely finding this subject more interesting than the black and white / media and genre lovers debate I had it out to be.

  4. I don’t see it as black and white. I’m just skeptical of this type of relationship, particularly since it could just as easily be violence-disposed children being drawn to violent video games and content.

  5. No, not saying that you were. Merely the general discussion is of this kind. (But also, that second study already looks at just violence-disposed children, and tendencies within that group re: violent video games.)

  6. Even still, as it pointed out, the effect wasn’t that large. R = 0.15 is not a lot of explanatory power.

    If defenders seem a bit defensive, it’s because video games tend to get blamed quickly here in the US whenever there’s horrific act of mass murder, whether or not it was a plausible factor in why it was committed. I’m extremely reluctant to give those people anything they’d need to engage in further scapegoating unless the evidence is very strong.

  7. An understandable position, no doubt about it. Occasionally in the UK video games get accused of such things, but the backlash is equally as questionable as the allegations in the first place.