I would like to use my last post to edit my introduction and thesis statement.
Violent video games have been built a certain reputation as a cause for violent activity in the last 15 years. From the Columbine shooting to the Newtown shooting, every time a violent headline grabs the national media’s attention, violent media and video games in particular take a large portion of blame from political leaders and media for what spurred the suspect to do these things.
In the scientific world, the last two decades have been full of attempts to quantize just how much of an effect violent video games have on violent behavior. This issue with this is that many of these studies have been funded by video game companies or anti-violence groups that are determined to prove video games cause these violent outbursts.
This paper will outline the major arguments on both sides, as well as what many researchers who straddle this line have found when examining papers from both sides of the argument. It is expected that when adjusted for publication bias and methodological faults, the vast majority of research papers will not just discount video games role as a producer of more violent people, but will actually say that video games help reduce violent behavior in most people.
There have been many studies done on this topic in the past 15 years. Many researchers in the field are concerned that these studies are poorly done and producing inaccurate results. In 2008, Ferguson and Kilburn compiled a list of 25 articles published from 1998-2008 and examined their methods and results. They adjusted the results to account for uncontrolled variables such as personality, genes and sex. They also looked at some of the methods they used and ways they measured their results. They found that almost half of the articles they examined did not use a standardized scale to measure aggression, and in some cases simply relied on the word of individuals to measure their subject’s tendencies for violence and agressive behavior.
Another paper that Ferguson was a part of examined the effect of violent media and video games on three groups of young men: Mexican-Americans, English and Croatian. The study examined not just agression but also depression in these young men after they were exposed to violent media and video games. It is important that every control is accounted for in these studies. By looking at specific groups of young people, this controls for a lot of variables other papers do not, which makes the results that much more consistent and easier to analyze.