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Friday, November 30, 2007

Study links violent media to aggression and crime

On Gamespot Recent Updates [News]:

University of Michigan professor ties violent media to aggressive behavior,
says they go together like smoking and lung cancer.
Read Full Article, Study: Violent games 'public health threat'

It's really the second part that is a bit unsettling, linking media to criminal actions. The reason you should put that in highlight mode is that it is the stick certain politicians like to use to make censorship a "public safety" issue and not an "ethics" issue.

The old psych major in me, though, would argue with the methodology in the second part, though. It's an interview process, not a controlled experiment. It was a fifteen year follow-up and doesn't state a) whether these kids were watching more violent media to begin with (and if so, why) and b) what other factors might lead to the criminal behavior.

The whole "kids who watch 300 or Gladiator before playing football are more aggressive" argument feels flawed to me as well. Floor hockey is an aggressive sport. Football is an aggressive sport. Getting people pumped up before an aggressive sport is probably going to lead to more aggression in the aggressive sport. Did this guy not study basic biology? It's called adrenaline and if their dads stood yelling at them before sending them into the game - I'd bet they'd be more aggressive as well.

So maybe we should just ban that, too.

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