TAMIU Researchers: Health Risks of Media Violence Exaggerated

TAMIU Study: Violence in Media
Has No Impact on Aggressive Behavior

A new article by two Texas A&M International University professors states that the public health risks of media violence use has been exaggerated in some past reports.

The article, “The Public Health Risks of Media Violence: A Meta-Analytic Review,” was written by Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson, assistant professor of psychology and Dr. John Kilburn, associate professor of sociology, and is in press with The Journal of Pediatrics.

The study looks at violence in games, television and other media to examine whether the impact on aggressive behavior warrants concern as a public health issue. The duo also looked at whether methodological problems have inflated the effects seen in some studies.

“The meta-analytic review shows that there is no evidence that video games, television or any other form of media increases aggressive behavior in consumers,” said Dr. Ferguson.

“We also found that methodological problems, such as the use of invalid or unreliable aggression measures tend to inflate effect sizes, possibly because some study authors are picking outcomes that best fit their hypotheses and ignoring other outcomes,” Ferguson continued.

Their conclusion states: “Results from the current analysis do not support the conclusion that media violence leads to aggressive behavior. It cannot be concluded at this time that media violence presents a significant public health risk.”

“There may be a ‘perfect storm’ of political opportunism, a union of far-right and far-left social agendas, and scientific dogmatism that has impaired the scientific community's ability to critically examine this research field,” caution Drs. Kilburn and Ferguson in the review.

“Ultimately, data from this study does not support the conclusion that media violence research is a significant public health concern. If it is the goal of society to reduce violence, scientific, political, and economic efforts would likely bear more fruit in other realms,” advise the professors in the article.

The article is currently available online at sciencedirect.com

For more information, please contact Ferguson at cferguson@tamiu.edu, 326.2474 or visit offices in Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall (CH), 302C or contact Kilburn at 326.2667, jckilburn@tamiu.edu or visit offices in CH 302H.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu