We are forever reporting on scientific reports that claims that video games increase violence - and we're forever recommending large pinches of salt. So, we're going to do the same with a recent scientific paper that claims that opposite.
A heavily weighted report in the Daily Telegraph
, which mentions an apparent "spate of high profile murder cases have heard evidence that various games were 'to blame' for a string of killings", also mentions the US-originated report.
"The report, by Benjamin Engelstätter, of the Centre for European Economic Research, Scott Cunningham, of Baylor University in Texas, USA, and Michael Ward, of the University of Texas, argue that gamers are 'too busy' playing to cause much trouble in the real world."
The report itself claims that, "...to date, though there is evidence that violent video games cause aggression in a laboratory setting, there is no evidence that violent video games cause violence or crime.
"We argue that since laboratory experiments have not examined the time use effects of video games, which incapacitate violent activity by drawing individual gamers into extended gameplay, laboratory studies may be poor predictors of the net effects of violent video games in society.
"Consequently, they overstate the importance of video game induced aggression as a social cost. "
It concludes, "Overall, violent video games lead to decreases in violent crime."
This doesn't stop the mainstream media though. Certainly not. Remember that 'spate' of violent crimes that the Telegraph mentioned?
Here they are:
"Sailor Ryan Donovan turned into an 'automaton' and went on a shooting spree - killing one and injuring another - on a nuclear submarine in April this year" - 2011.
"Norwegian killer Anders Breivik - who shot 69 people dead - was said to have planned the attack by using Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a 'training simulator'... He was also hooked on the game World of Warcraft.." - 2011
"The 1999 Columbine High School massacre by teens Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold." - 1999
"1994 Warren Leblanc, 17, was jailed for life after killing 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah in Leicester after getting addicted to the game Manhunt, in which players earn extra points depending on the viciousness of their killings." - 1994
All terrible. All vaguely related to games but also to mental health issues. But a 'spate'? The time spread there is four violent events in 17 years. Given the murder rate in the UK in 2010 was 619 over the last year, its lowest level for 12 years, that's not a basis for stats or criticism.More here.