Scientists Are Finally Realizing Most Anti-Video Game Studies Are Garbage

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If you want an education in how not to run a psychological study, any look at video games will probably fit the bill. For years, we’ve been criticizing the sloppy work, questionable funding, abuse of the peer review process, asinine study designs, blatant failures to follow the scientific method, and stupid conclusions that plague studies conducted on video games. Especially vile is the “meta-analysis” that uncritically collects all these badly run studies and gives them a veneer of respectability. The most recent meta-analysis, though, went too far for some.

The American Psychological Association recently put out one of those aforementioned meta studies. Normally, when this is put out news networks crow about it to their elderly audiences to prove those damn kids should be locked up and forced to listen to real music or whatever, and then they move on to the next puff piece. But this time, 200 scientists have put out an open letter criticizing both the meta-analysis and its conclusions. One important aspect they bring up is the elephant in the room; violent crime rates have been on a steady decline, especially among youth, for decades, even as video games of all kinds have gone mainstream. This has been a problem with video game studies for decades: The research does not square with the actual data.

To be entirely honest, these studies are increasingly moot. Video games are protected free speech, and the standards imposed by the Supreme Court to change that will never be met. Anti-gaming politicians are either retired or convicted; anti-gaming lawyers like Jack Thompson have been disbarred. The political will to support this intellectual fraud is all but gone; the desire of the scientific community to support it above common sense should join it.

(Via Geeks Are Sexy)