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Quartz reports that two studies that suggested a link between playing video games translating to real-world violence have been pulled.

The first study was titled Boom, Headshot! and originally published in the Journal of Communication Research in 2012. Patrick Markey, a psychology professor at Villanova University, discovered inconsistencies in the study’s data according to Retraction Watch. Upon discovering that the results seemed to be positively skewed, Dr. Markey and a colleague subsequently alerted Ohio State University, the university where the research for the study was conducted. The study’s lead author Professor Brad J. Bushman e-mailed an official the university suggesting that the allegations surrounding data inconsistencies with the study were part of a smear campaign by Dr. Markey. The original research was not available to double-check the study’s data, and ultimately a Committee of Initial Inquiry at Ohio State University recommended that the study be retracted.

The second study Effects of violent media on verbal task performance in gifted and general cohort children (also conducted by Professor Brad J. Bushman along with others) faced similar issues. Joseph Hilgard, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, thought that the data in the study was outside of typical ranges one would expect in normal psychology research. Hilgard found that Professor Bushman, Ohio State University, and others he contacted regarding the study were helpful and forthcoming but they were unable to provide the specifics of the data collection process. The author who was tasked with gathering the data resided in Turkey and had since fallen out of contact with the people running the study following the recent coup attempt in that country. As it was impossible to verify the integrity of the study without the original data, Gifted Child Quarterly retracted the study last week.

Although two studies from Professor Bushman have been retracted, he still has other work on this particular topic published in journals such as Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific LiteratureHe currently teaches four courses at OSU including Social Psychology and Violence in Society and Violence in the Media.

Do you think that playing video games leads to increased violence in the real world? If it turned out that they did increase violence in some fashion, do you think that some sort of regulation should be established as a result of these findings? Let us know in the comments below!


Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!