More Than 200 Scientists Call For Objective, Data-Driven Review of Media Violence Research

EntertainmentSoftwareLogo (1)A letter was submitted to the American Psychological Association (APA) urging them to use an objective, scientific process during their upcoming review of media violence research.  228 psychologists, researchers and academics had signed the letter.

Concern was expressed by these scientists that previous research as well as APA analysis and policy positions had been marred by methodological flaws, ideological biases and conclusions drawn from weak evidence.  The letter that was sent urged the APA to take into consideration the “differences in data, theories and beliefs” during their review of violence in the media.

“Much is at stake regarding the way scientific information is communicated to the general public, the way in which policy statements can set scientific agendas and the credibility of the field as a careful and objective science,” they wrote, adding: “We appreciate the APA’s efforts to revisit the topic and believe that, given the scientific progress in the field, there are unprecedented opportunities to develop a solid basis for a careful and nuanced communication of research findings to the general public.”

“Fundamentally,” the letter concluded, “we are of the belief that the task force has a tremendous opportunity to change the culture of this research field to one which is less ideological and open to new theories, data and beliefs.”

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) welcomed the letter and has noted that a growing body of research has found no link between violent crime and media violence.  As a matter of fact, research has shown that since the increase in popularity of video game violence in recent years, there has been a decrease in youth violence in the United States to a 40 year low.

“A host of respected researchers and numerous authorities – including the U.S. Supreme Court – have examined the scientific record and found that it does not establish any causal link between violent media and real-world violence,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. video game publishers. “We agree with these experts that additional APA’s analysis must be objective, fact-based, and peer-reviewed, and must comprehensively examine all relevant factors.”

Those that wish to view the letter and read it in it’s entirety can do so here.

About This Post

  • Lisa Bowen

    With regard to the American Psychological Association’s position on video game
    violence, the APA Board of Directors appointed a seven-member task force in
    April to evaluate its Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive
    Media. That policy statement was adopted in 2005, based on science published
    before that date. A review of research published in the intervening eight
    years is appropriate and will help determine if changes to the policy statement
    are needed.
    APA’s goal in forming the task force was to create a blue ribbon panel with expertise in research and methodology. Members of the APA task force have experience and expertise in meta-analysis, child development, learning, digital media, multicultural psychology and aggression. In addition to its own review, the
    task force will invite input from content experts within the scientific
    community, especially for data relevant to questions and concerns.

    The task force has begun its review and anticipates making final recommendations
    regarding the 2005 resolution sometime next year.

    • Will Anderson

      Thanks for the additional information Ms. Bowen!