Mar 25 2014

Statistical Confusion: Do Video Games Make Youths Agressive?

Published by at 9:01 am under All General Discussions

This story had me rolling because it is based on a very shaky conclusion. And yet, the media ignorantly (and yes, I chose that word carefully) report it without any comprehension of the concept of statistical linkages.

Youths who play video games are more likely to think and act in aggressive ways, suggested a study out Monday of more than 3,000 schoolchildren in Singapore.

The research, published in JAMA Pediatrics, a journal of the American Medical Association, was based on more than 3,034 children who were studied over the course of three years.

Frequent use of video games was linked to higher rates of aggressive behaviors and thoughts, according to self-reported answers to survey questions by the children.

The other possible (and probable) conclusion is aggressive kids enjoy aggressive video games, non-aggressive kids enjoy non-aggressive games.. You can naively run the same kind of  study and conclude wearing dresses makes one more likely to become female. Or playing football makes one more likely to become male (or aggressive, or large and muscular, etc).

Of course there is a correlation between aggressive games and aggressive personalities!

But I am confident if you compare those who prefer a good game of Life to those who prefer to play football, you will find and even STRONGER correlation. But it does not mean the game created the human psyche.


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