Indiana University for Video Games the Bad News Is Good News Articles Summary Hi. Attached are three articles I need you to summarize. This is due in 14hrs from now. The summary should be short and to the point. No required length. CYBERPSYCHOLOGY, BEHAVIOR, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING
Volume 20, Number 12, 2017
ª Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
For Video Games, Bad News Is Good News:
News Reporting of Violent Video Game Studies
Allen Copenhaver, PhD,1 Oana Mitrofan, MD,2 and Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD3
News coverage of video game violence studies has been critiqued for focusing mainly on studies supporting
negative effects and failing to report studies that did not find evidence for such effects. These concerns were
tested in a sample of 68 published studies using child and adolescent samples. Contrary to our hypotheses, study
effect size was not a predictor of either newspaper coverage or publication in journals with a high-impact factor.
However, a relationship between poorer study quality and newspaper coverage approached significance. Highimpact journals were not found to publish studies with higher quality. Poorer quality studies, which tended to
highlight negative findings, also received more citations in scholarly sources. Our findings suggest that negative
effects of violent video games exposure in children and adolescents, rather than large effect size or high
methodological quality, increase the likelihood of a study being cited in other academic publications and
subsequently receiving news media coverage.
Keywords: video games, news media, publication bias, child development
hether violent video games cause aggression and
the extent to which this is so has been a sore spot of
contention in the academic literature for decades.1 Despite
extensive research, there is no consensus among members of
the academic community on the reality of the relationship
between violent video games and aggression.2 The evidence
consists of a conflicting series of articles, some suggesting
violent video games are likely to cause aggression3 while
others refute such claims.4 With such a conflicting evidence
base, it is worth exploring avenues by which existing research
may inform public opinion.
Researchers have more recently started to examine the
various social and political processes which could contribute to the general publics understanding and interpretation of the potential link between violent video games and
aggression (as well as crime). Findings suggest that publics
understanding is based on a variety of factors, including
an individuals subjective interpretation and own biases
concerning the topic,5 ideological positions of professional
organizations,6 opportunistic actions of politicians,7 and
epistemological problems inherent to the field.8 This article
aims to add to this newly scrutinized area of video game
research by examining several important contributors to, and
specific predictors of the news media coverage of published
violent video game effects studies.
Research on effects of violent video games
To better understand newer research on the social and
political influences on the publics perception of the link
between violent video games and aggression, it is worth
summarizing the academic debate. Among various potential
effects of exposure to violent video games, aggression has
been the most studied.9 Both, some individual studies10 and
meta-analyses,3 have linked violent games to aggression.
Some academics have made unsupported claims in linking
violent video game play and criminal behavior. For example,
when commenting on how serial killers criminal urges
influenced their future behavior, Hickey11 stated using
alcohol, pornography, or other such types of graphic literature may be useful in expediting the offenders urge to
kill(p113) and that video game research has yielded some
additional insights into aggressive behavior.(p133) He then
cited several studies on the relationship between violent video games and aggression, none of which were conducted on
samples of serial killers.
A growing body of evidence contradicts these claims
and points toward important methodological flaws in these
Division of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Studies, Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, Kentucky.
University of Exeter Medical School, Child Health Unit, Exeter, United Kingdom.
Department of Psychology, Stetson University, DeLand, Florida.
studies. Ward12 noted that the association between violent
video game play and fighting in adolescents was only modest
and not statistically significant once additional demographic
variables were controlled. Ferguson and Kilburn13 pointed
out that the abovementioned findings by Anderson et al.3
relied heavily on bivariate correlations instead of more
sophisticated multivariate analyses. Anderson et al.s3 own
analysis produced considerably weaker effect sizes when
controlling for one or two variables. Ferguson4 highlighted
several pervasive problems in previous research, including
the use of mismatched games and failure to pretest the participants levels of aggression in experimental studies, the
use of nonstandardized aggression measures and extrapolating findings based on nonclinically relevant measures to
explain mass shooting incidents. Other problems included
failure to control for third variables, selective interpretation of findings, selection bias in literature reviews, and lack
of generalizability to real-world violence.14 Some studies
even showed a decrease in real-life violence.15
Authors have argued that since homicide rates in countries
such as the United States have declined with the rise of violent video game play, other societal factors should be
considered.16 Adachi and Willoughby8 found that the competitive nature rather than the violent content of video game
play predicted aggression. Waddell and Peng17 similarly
found that competitive game play was associated with aggression, whereas gaming that was cooperative by nature
increased cooperation among players. Some players begin
playing violent video games with already higher-thanaverage trait aggression.18 Research in potentially at-risk
populations such as individuals with neurodevelopmental or
psychiatric conditions did not support the hypothesis of
their vulnerability to video game violence effects.19,20 Any
association between violent video game play and players
aggression thus appears less straightforward than previously suggested; single explanations such as desensitization21
Politics and video games
Violent video games have become a source of political
capital for politicians and professional agencies with an interest in taking a stance against violent games.22 In other
words, politicians oppose violent video games because,
elected public officials are politicians who may capitalize
on the news to further their political agendas and to gain
support of voters.23(p3) Politicians often make use of symbolic crimes14 by blending rhetoric and symbolic policy
initiatives (which are also popular with the public) to ease
public fear of crime.24 Copenhavers7 qualitative document
analysis of bills proposed since the early 1990s found politicians propose bills designed to regulate or address the
perceived problems associated with violent games, for example, taxation of violent video game sales and warning
labels stating violent video games cause aggression; such
proposals continued even after the Supreme Courts 2011
ruling in Brown vs. Entertainment Merchants Association.
Media effects on publics understanding
The news media plays an important role in shaping the
publics understanding of, and facilitating political stances
on crime.23 This role is often understood in the academic
COPENHAVER ET AL.
literature through the interpretive sociological notion of social constructionism.25 According to this theory, human beings create their social realities through processes of social
relationships and communication; this created reality often
diverges from objective reality.14 Potter and Kappeler26
highlighted many instances where the news media were used
to construct crime problems and shape the publics understanding of the reality of crime. Ferguson6 also pointed toward the consequences of the politicians use of research on
violent video games effects that had actually been discredited within the academic community.
An additional concern is that of accuracy in todays
American journalism. The financial pressures faced by
newspaper companies and decreases in newspaper sales27
contribute to news media attempts to capture readers attention with intriguing constructions. News agencies are
responsible for determining what types of stories exhibit
newsworthiness, therefore, journalists would select those
elements more likely to generate public interest and lead to
increases in revenue.27 Arguably, it would be more difficult
to attract public interest in reading articles that did not immediately lead the reader to believe violent video games
have dramatic negative influences on players. The publication bias in the relevant literature4 adds to this by potentially
limiting the amount and quality of scientific evidence to
which journalists have access.
The current study
This study examined articles published in academic
journals that reported on the effects of exposure to violent
video games in children and adolescents. The following
hypotheses were tested:
H1: Studies with a large effect size were more likely to
receive newspaper coverage compared with studies with a
small or null effect size.
H2: Studies with a large effect size were published in high
impact compared with low-impact journals.
H3: Studies with a large effect size were published in highimpact journals independently of study quality.
The 68 studies included in the present analysis had been
previously included in a recent meta-analysis of the effects of
video game use on a range of outcome variables in child and
adolescent samples.4 We selected those studies that specifically examined exposure to violent video games as the predictor variable, as opposed to general video game use. Initial
screening was done by reading the abstract (initially 750
hits), with confirmation coming once the entire article was
scrutinized for methods. One hundred one studies on a
variety of video game issues were reduced to the current
sample once focused on the issue of violence in games.
Aggression was the outcome variable in the majority of
studies (86.76 percent); other outcome variables were prosocial behavior (11.76 percent) and depression (1.47 percent). Studies were published between 1984 and 2014, with
the majority (57, 86.82 percent) being published in the 2000s
VIDEO GAME VIOLENCE RESEARCH IN NEWS
(c) In addition, lastly, the control of gender, trait aggression, and prior aggression in correlational/longitudinal
studies.4 Such controls are considered essential to
isolate the potential effects of violent video games
from other, third variables.
All included studies were examined for whether they had
received newspaper coverage using the LexisNexis database,
which includes coverage from over 1,600 newspapers. For
each study, we conducted searches by using the name of first
author, title of the journal, publication year, and the topic
video games. Studies were coded as Yes/No for whether
they had received newspaper coverage. Data for the study
can be found at: christopherjferguson.com/NewspaperStudy
.xlsx. A full list of studies included is available on request.
FIG. 1. Frequency of violent video game studies published by year.
and only a small number in the 1980s (seven studies) and
1990s (four studies). Figure 1 presents data on studies published by year.
Studies were coded for several variables, including outcome, effect size, the presence of citation bias, year published, and the impact factor of the journal in which the study
was published. Citation bias occurs when authors only cite
prior studies that agree with their hypotheses, failing to inform readers of controversies or inconsistencies in the field.
Impact factor was not available for five studies as they were
published in books, book chapters, or other similar outlets.
For those studies with multiple outcomes, the effect sizes
were combined into a single effect size (as per standard
Study quality was assessed by using a best practices
coding employed in the original meta-analysis. A full accounting of this procedure is provided in the original article
and was not deviated from here. Of the studies included, 18
(26.5 percent) met these criteria for best practices. The best
practices criteria were designed to consider recent controversies over measurement and internal validity in video
game experiments. Studies had been assessed on the following criteria:
(a) The use of well-validated, standardized outcome measures. Many studies employ unstandardized, poorly
validated measures, increasing the potential for Type
I error. Measures, whose use change without explanation from one study to another, including within the
same research group, and which have not been validated against clinical measures of aggression, would
be examples of poor measures.
(b) Careful matching of video games and careful control
of game content in experimental studies. Recent analyses8 have indicated that many experiments introduced confounds and potential false positives by
failing to match video games on variables other than
violence. Matching a highly competitive first-person
shooter game with strong characters and narrative
with a relaxing puzzle game without these features
would be an example of poor matching of conditions.
To test the first hypothesis, a binomial logistic regression was employed using newspaper coverage as the dependent variable, with study effect size, publication year,
journal impact factor, and best practices as predictor variables. However, this model proved to be highly unstable
given collinearity between effect size and the other predictor
variables. As such, a comparison analysis of studies with and
without newspaper coverage was conducted using t test with
effect size as the outcome. Among the studies considered, 18
(26.5 percent) had received some newspaper coverage. Results indicated that effect sizes were nearly identical for
studies with (M = 0.0879, standard deviation [SD] = 0.107)
and without (M = 0.0773, SD = 0.099) newspaper coverage
[t(66) = 0.380; p = 0.707].
Although it no longer included our main predictor variable (i.e., effect size), we nonetheless ran the binomial logistic regression with the remaining predictor variables,
which did not result in an unstable model. This exploratory analysis resulted in a significant regression model
(v2 = 17.86, p = 0.001; Nagelkerke R2 = 0.359). Only publication year (B = 0.208, standard error [SE] = 0.103; Wald =
4.099 p = 0.043) was significantly associated with newspaper
coverage: recent studies were more likely to be covered by
newspapers. There was an inverse although nonsignificant
relationship between best practices and newspaper coverage
(B = -1.401, SE = 0.751; Wald = 3.479 p = 0.062). As noted
earlier, 18 studies (26.5 percent) met best practices criteria.
To examine the other two hypotheses, we employed
stepwise regression with journal impact factor as the outcome and effect size, best practices and publication year
as predictors. The resultant model was significant [F(1,
61) = 4.77, p = 0.033; adjR2 = 0.057.] Again, only publication year was significantly associated with journal impact
factor (b = 0.269, p = 0.033). Neither effect size nor best
practices were significantly associated with publication in
Exploratory follow-up analysis
Although not part of our original hypotheses, we also
obtained data on the number of PsycINFO citations for each
study. Predictor variables included effect size, publication
year, journal impact factor, and best practices, with results
run in a stepwise model. The resultant model was significant
[F(2, 58) = 5.53, p = 0.006; adjR2 = 0.131.] In this model, the
number of citations was negatively associated with publication year (b = -0.323, p = 0.010). The number of citations
was also inversely related to best practices (b = -0.277,
p = 0.026).
This article aimed to add to the existing literature by examining a number of potential contributors to, and specific
predictors of the news media coverage of published studies
on the potential effects of violent video games exposure in
children and adolescents. By controlling for a range of variables we were able to identify factors predictive of whether
news media outlets would inform the public about particular
studies published in academic journals.
Contrary to our hypotheses, study effect size was not a
predictor of either newspaper coverage or publication in
high-impact journals. It is worth noting that all included
studies were conducted on children and adolescents and
could therefore have smaller effect sizes compared with
similar studies in a population of young adults such as
Our findings of an association between study publication
year and both newspaper coverage and journal impact factor
indicate that research on the effects of violent video games
exposure in children and young people has gained increasing
attention from both the academic field and the news media
coverage in recent years. It is worth noting that the great
majority of the studies examined in this article were published in the 2000s, suggesting that video game violence
exposure in children and adolescents became a hot topic
for researchers at that time. High-impact journals appear to
recently publish more studies in this field, suggesting a potential trend. It is therefore worrying that neither effect size
nor the overall methodological quality of such studies seems
to predict publication in high-impact journals. These findings
contradict the belief that high-impact journals publish better
research articles in this field, and suggest that other factors
play a role in ensuring publication success. This would also
warrant further exploration in future studies. The inverse
relationship between publication year and the number of
PsycINFO citations could be explained by the fact that recent
publications were unlikely to have received a high number
Although study quality did not predict publication in
high-impact journals, poorly designed studies (those not
meeting best practices criteria) were more likely to be cited
by other academic publications and potentially receive
more news media coverage. The inverse relationship between best practices and newspaper coverage suggests that
newspapers were potentially more likely to cover poorer
quality studies. We note that the interpretation of results
with p-values above 0.05 is difficult and Type I error rates
become higher. However, the effect size of this result was
fairly high and the reduced p-value was likely due to study
power. Furthermore, we found a similar, inverse relationship between best practices and number of PsycINFO
citations that indicated that studies of poorer quality received more citations. Although the result of tentative
analysis and thus requiring cautious interpretation, these
findings would be worth further, more detailed exploration
in future studies.
COPENHAVER ET AL.
The greater attention that poorly designed studies potentially receive from both academics and the public is a worrying issue and definitely requires clarification. This is more
so as previous research has indicated that poorly designed
studies were more likely to show negative effects of violent
video games exposure.4 This seems to suggest that findings
of a negative effect of violent video games exposure, rather
than a large effect size or high methodological quality, increase the chances for a study to receive attentio…
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