Video Game Violence: A Scientific ‘Consensus’ Cracks

by Ronald Bailey,  Reason

For decades it has been a shibboleth among most AHsocial psychologists that increasingly violent media—violent television, movies, and video games—increase the risk of violence in society. As expressions of this alleged scientific consensus, professional societies have adopted various resolutions decrying the toxic effects of media violence on society. For example, the American Psychological Association adopted in 2005 a resolution declaring that “decades of social science research reveals the strong influence of televised violence on the aggressive behavior of children and youth.”

Two of the main proponents of the theory that violent media produces social violence are the Iowa State psychologist Craig Anderson and the Ohio State psychologist Brad Bushman. In 2001, they claimed that media violence is nearly as significant a risk factor for social violence as smoking tobacco is for lung cancer. “Research on violent television and films, video games, and music reveals unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts,” Anderson and some colleagues asserted in 2003. In 2007, the University of New Mexico pediatrician Victor Strasburger estimated that 10 to 30 percent of the violence in society is attributable to media violence.  Read the entire story.

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