Researchers at Villanova University and Rutgers University have confirmed what avid gamers have known for years; that it’s bullshit when violent games get chastised for influencing violent behavior in the real world.
We’re all familiar with the story: some nutjob goes on a murderous rampage, police investigate the perpetrator’s home and discover that he loves playing Call of Duty, and then the “A-ha” moment comes when scared people needing a reason beyond the fact that the guy was crazy blame violent games for having an influence. Video games aren’t alone in this type of condemnation; music has been blamed for influencing less-than-Christian morals since ‘n’ roll was born in the ‘50s and movies, particularly slashers, have been blamed for inciting real world violent behavior.
The study,Violent Video Games and Real-World Violence: Rhetoric Versus Data, was recently published in American Psychological Association’s official journal, Psychology of Popular Media Culture, and used four separate data analyses to observe popular trends in the video games industry, including monthly/annual video games sales, alongside specific keyword search volume in Google Trends, and compared them to crime rates in the real world.
The results found that there is no evidence that violent video games have a positive correlation to real-world violent crime rates in the United States.
Here’s the official study summary:
Annual trends in video game sales for the past 33 years were unrelated to violent crime both concurrently and up to four years later. Unexpectedly, monthly sales of video games were related to concurrent decreases in aggravated assaults and were unrelated to homicides. Searches for violent video game walkthroughs and guides were also related to decreases in aggravated assaults and homicides two months later. Finally, homicides tended to decrease in the months following the release of popular M-rated violent video games.
And to confirm that there’s a gamer involved in the study (I’m kidding; I have no idea if a gamer was one of the researches), this statement was also attached to the study:
Finding that a young man who committed a violent crime also played a popular video game, such as Call of Duty, Halo, or Grand Theft Auto, is as pointless as pointing out that the criminal also wore socks.
So, do you believe the research? Do you think it has legs to stand on? Or do you think violent video games affect everyone differently?
Rock Hard \m/