Professor Christopher Ferguson, writing for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling confirms what many of us have suspected all along: despite decades of data there no significant link between playing violent videogames and school shootings. There is also no significant link between being an altar boy and school shootings, bowling and school shootings , or Bob Geldof and school shootings. Is anyone else surprised that this discussion is still going on, even given that horrific acts of school gun-violence far pre-date the invention of the videogame?
“It has been observed that a small group of researchers have been most vocal in promoting the anti-game message, oftentimes ignoring research from other researchers, or failing to disclose problems with their own research. As some researchers have staked their professional reputation on anti-game activism, it may be difficult for these researchers to maintain scientific objectivity regarding the subject of their study.”
The article is most interesting for some of the fairly pointed criticism that Ferguson directs to those who have conducted studies over the previous decade noting, among other things, that it may be easier to get grants to search for negative results.
Like news coverage, even in academia it looks like the “shock headline” is what, ultimately, pays the bills.