Violent Video Games Study Design

Thinking about the several research studies that have been done in the last decade on the impact of violent video games on levels of aggression and violence in players, I think a major stumbling block has been in the area of research design–the validity of studies has been questioned. If we really want to scientifically evaluate the hypothesis that violent video game exposure has a correlational effect on aggression/violence, it seems to me that we need a more rigorous research design. I do not think that in general violent video games cause or are correlative with violence/aggression, but it would be interesting to look at this from a research perspective and test these ideas quantitatively. Note that I am not a quantitative researcher by background, and am not fully convinced in the total efficacy of “scientific research” of whatever variety. I am convinced that it is a good idea to look into our world, and to develop hypotheses and theories that we can test, I am just not convinced that the results of those analyses are dependable as truth/facts (I don’t go for “it turns out that” research results–I do go for “it seems to us that”) , though I do believe we should act on what we believe based on justifications.

That said, I think it would be good to have groups of around 100 children of about the same age/demographic background who are given a “pre-test” on current aggression/violence measures (and have several of these groups). The first group plays no video games for one month, and is given a post-test, then plays violent video games for two months and is given a post-test again. The second  plays no video games for two months, and is given a post-test, then is given several specific violent video games to play regularly for one month and is given another post-test. The third plays no video games for three months and is given a post-test. The fourth plays several specific violent video games regularly for three months and is given a post-test. This same thing is done with non-violent games. The pre- and post-test would ask parents about violence/aggression of child, the same of peers, and the same of  the children themselves. The pre-test would also gather data about previous violent video game exposure (and try to place children in groups evenly distributed based on this). They would also be given pre- and post-test physical skills tests related to violent video games (skill level in violent endeavors like wrestling, paint-ball gun competition, shooting etc.). Then we could see better if children actually learn skills in violent video games, and if aggression levels and violence is significantly different between different groups, and between the start of the study and the end, and between no video games, video games, and violent video games.


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