APA media violence task force approved by psychologists

Written by David Hing

October 1, 2013 // 8:30 a.m.

Tags: #apa #media-violence #research

In an open letter to the American Psychological Association (APA), more than 200 psychologists and researchers have lent their support for an objective review of media violence research.

The letter demands that the APA's media violence task force looks into the research to ensure it is scientifically valid. It points out that previous research into the controversial subject has been damaged by 'methodological flaws, ideological biases or weak evidence'.

Following a policy statement from the APA in 2005 that came to several strong conclusions surrounding the impact of media violence on individuals, the group states that research has provided much stronger evidence that these conclusions cannot be supported.

'During the video game epoch, youth violence in the United States and elsewhere has plummeted to 40-year lows, not risen as would have been expected if the 2005 APA resolution were accurate,' reads the letter. 'this decline in societal violence is in conflict with claims that violent video games and interactive media are important public health concerns. The statistical data are simply not bearing out this concern and should not be ignored.'

The group also suggests that research finding a link between media violence and violent and aggressive behaviour is pushed because of the nature of the publication and funding process.

'Fundamentally, we are of the belief that the task force has a tremendous opportunity to change the culture of this research field to one which is less ideological and open to new theories, data and beliefs,' the letter adds. 'We believe that
the field is beginning to undergo theoretical and data-driven changes that challenge previously held beliefs. Only with the freedom for data to sort itself out can this field progress.'

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