Is there a Correlation between Violence Video Games & Violent Behavior?

There’s quite a considerable amount of debate about whether or not playing violent video games can lead to violent behavior. My goal here is to summarize some of the research that’s out there and put it up on this blog so that readers can evaluate the available information on their own. I’d like to present the material as neutrally as possible so that everyone can decide for themselves.

My first post on this subject will be a summary of an article published by the American Psychological Association (APA) titled, “APA Review Confirms Link Between Playing Violent Video Games and Aggression.” If you would like to read the article in it’s entirety, please click this link for the American Psychological Association.

To begin, it is important to mention that the article confirms a link between playing violent video games and aggression, not criminal violence; a very important distinction.

The report was published by the APA Task Force on Violent Media, which examined research literature on violent video game use that was published between 2005-2013. All in all, the task force reviewed 150 research reports that were pre-2009, and 170 articles that were published between 2009-2013. The task force concluded, “The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-social behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.”

Mark Applebaum, Ph.D, who was the chair for the APA Task Force, stated that there is little research addressing the question about whether or not playing violent video games can lead to committing physical violence. However, Applebaum did state that the link between violent video games and increased aggression is, “one of the most studied and best established in the field.”

The report went on to say that aggressive and/or violent behavior is the result of the accumulation of various risk factors and not the result of the presence of any one particular risk factor. However, within the spectrum of risk factors that can lead to aggression and/or violent behavior, playing violent video games is a factor.

Please come back again tomorrow as I look to find information that might refute the APA Task Force’s conclusions.