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Do violent video games and movies lead to aggression?
Posted: 02.14.2013 at 2:53 PM
This week marks two months since the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
In the aftermath, we learned the shooter, Adam Lanza was obsessed with violent video games.
The vast majority of American parents, 9 in 10, say violence in video games is a problem. But can playing violent video games result in violent behavior?
In the gaming world, death is often celebrated. Players receive points for kills and head-shots, but does violence on screen lead to aggression in real life?
Martin Bourgeois, a Ph.D, at Florida Gulf Coast University says, "I think the research has pretty consistently established that relationship is there."
Dr. Marty Bourgeois cites studies going back to the 1970's. "They pretty consistently show that kids who play more violent video games tend to be more aggressive."
However, Doctor Bourgeois is quick to point-out limitations to the research. "We can't say that that individual because we know he played violent video games, we can't say that caused that behavior. that's not the way science works."
Psychologist Chris Ferguson, from Texas A & M University, sits on the Vice President's task force on gun control. He says there are too many unknown variables among players and games that blur the question, do games cause violence.
How the game is played has been trending toward single player shooters. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages teenagers to play games involving two players. warning, 'too much time absorbed in violent fantasy may foster social isolation'.
While science studies group patterns, individual action is unpredictable. yet there is one thing researchers agree on: "Any human behavior whether it's helping someone cross the street or engaging in a school shooting, there's no one cause for any human behavior" says Dr. Bourgeois.
Last month, President Obama laid out his plan for reducing gun violence. In this 15-page document is a section calling on Congress to spend $10 million for the CDC to conduct more research focused on the relationship between video games and violence.
Articles about video games and gamers.
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