The debate over whether video games and their supposed psychological link towards violence and aggression being valid or not isn’t so much a dead horse anymore, as it is the greasy residue that said horse left after it’s been hauled off to the glue factory. It’s also a topic that exhausts a lot of gamers as they find themselves having to constantly defend their passions to opinionated people unfamiliar with the medium.
Every couple of years there seems to be a upswell in this argument that if we play StarCraft we will become infested by the Zerg Swarm and fancy ourselves the queen. Or decapitate our buddies with a hat, because Kung Lao. The latest batch of finger waving happened with a recent report from the American Psychological Association that published their findings after reviewing over a hundred studies spanning an 8 year period which, they say, affirmed a link between gaming and aggression.
However, after publication of their findings, hundreds of psychology scholars spoke out challenging the flaws in the research and many pointed out possible bias among the APA task force participants. A group of 230 such experts penned an open letter opposing the findings and one of the members, a Stetson University psychology professor named Chris Ferguson, reached out to GameInformer to explain the concerns with the APA’s approach.
“As a researcher in this field, I thought (GameInformer) might be curious to know that there are actually a lot of problems with this report, how the task force was comprised, and the basis for its conclusions on research,” he continued, “Indeed, the evidence linking violent games to aggression is honestly a lot less clear than the APA report would have one believe. There are an increasing number of studies coming out now that suggest there is no link whatsoever. Further, the task force appeared to have been selected from among scholars with clear anti-media views (two had previously signed an amicus brief supporting attempts to regulate violent video games in the Brown v EMA 2011 Supreme Court case for instance).”
Ferguson echoes what gamers have been saying since Columbine happened 16 years ago, namely, entertainment isn’t to blame for such tragedies and pointing fingers at events like that is a disservice to the victims as it distracts from the real culprit- mental health.