Researcher Says There's No Proof That Media Influences Behaviour

The flurry of private citizens and professional pundits opining about what role video games might have played in the awful Sandy Hook Shootings probably isn't going to stop soon. And while commentary has been ranged from inflammatory to poignant, the central issue of whether games influence behaviour is far from being a fact.

Just listen to a guy who studies these connections. Chris Ferguson -- professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M University -- writes the following for Time Magazine's website:

As a video game violence researcher and someone who has done scholarship on mass homicides, let me state very emphatically: There is no good evidence that video games or other media contributes, even in a small way, to mass homicides or any other violence among youth.

Ferguson also says that we don't have yet the specifics on the shooter's media consumption to make any links as to casuality:

At this point, we don't know much about Adam Lanza's media use history. Given that, as researchers Cheryl Olson and Lawrence Kutner note in their book Grand Theft Childhood, almost all young males play violent video games at least occasionally, it's playing the odds to say Lanza did too. But that has all the predictive power of saying that he sometimes wore sneakers or ate breakfast. In their 2002 evaluation of school shooters, the U.S. Secret Service found no evidence to suggest that these perpetrators consume more media violence than anyone else.

Ferguson cites a number of studies to make his case and provides an angle of clinical insight that struggles to get heard after tragedies like this happen. Head over to and read the whole thing.


    This level of common sense is somewhat alien to me.

    The only people that should accept blame is the parents, its your responsibility.

      I disagree with this. I am a parent. I regulate strongly wha my child plays. Parents are responsible to a point. To throw tomatoes at one group is as bad as blaming games solely. What we do know is he was mentally ill and not treated as he shouldve been. So who is at fault? Society is for the stigma it puts on mental illnesses, the govt for cutting funding repeatedly to mental health treatment, we are for shunning those with mental illness, hospitals are for having to turn away those with these.conditions.

      His family is for not tackling the issue better.

      But ultimately the only person TRULY responsible for the death he wrought... He who i will not mention, for picking up those guns and ending 25+ beautiful lives worth far more than his own.

      Its.too simple to blame one group.

        God forbid, you are not saying this person is responsible for his own actions?

          Of course he committed the atrocity. Now lets find the real reason and a real possible solution rather than joining the ranks of fox and the like who bury their heads in the sand and blame one avenue.

        if he had a mental problem his parents should have done something about it

          Its easy to say this but if theres no funding for medical programs, no doctors in the area set up to handle it etc. Its very easy to just say 'HANDLE IT'... but when you look into it realistically its not so simple.

    Yes bob some of the blame lies with the parents, the rest of it lies in the total absence of a mental health system in the US.

    kids shouldn't play violent video games? then why do you buy them the F**king game?! the number of dumb parents out there that buy there kid the game then say you shouldn't play those games is starting to piss me off, there's to many parents that just buy there kids a video game now just to shut them off so they can go on doing more idiotic things.

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