October 29, 2010

Psychologists Available to Discuss Supreme Court Case on Children’s Access to Violent Video Games

Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association et al.

EDITORS NOTE: As of December 2012, the 2005 resolution on violence in video games and interactive media is under review. The APA Board of Directors plans to appoint a task force to review the literature published since the policy statement was adopted.


With the high court prepared to hear arguments in the above case on Nov. 2, you might be interested in exploring the debate surrounding the psychological science regarding whether video games lead to violent behavior. A large group of research psychologists believes that the evidence is clear that people who play violent video games have more aggressive thoughts, beliefs and behaviors than people who don't. They base their conclusions on decades of research in the laboratory and the real world, capped off in March with a meta-analysis in Psychological Bulletin  (Vol. 136, No. 2) (PDF, 128KB).

Other psychologists say the early research on the issue had design flaws and question whether the findings are strong enough for the court to consider impinging on a constitutional right.

The American Psychological Association weighed in on the question in 2005 when it passed a resolution (PDF, 89KB) concluding that the research suggests a link between violent media and aggressive behavior.

The following experts are available for interviews on this topic. Please contact APA Public Affairs if you need more information.

Experts and topics

Jeanne H. Brockmyer, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Toledo. Dr. Brockmyer is a clinical child psychologist and has been conducting research on video games since 1990. She can address children’s vulnerability to negative effects from exposure to violent video games.
Phone: (419) 530-4392

Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD,  Associate Professor of Clinical and Forensic Psychology, Texas A&M International University. Dr. Ferguson has published widely on video game violence effects and is a leading expert on the influence of media on youth violence. He recently served as guest editor for the APA's Review of General Psychology special issue on video games. Dr. Ferguson's research can discuss the influence of video games on youth, youth violence trends and methodological problems that have limited existing research.
Phone: (956) 326-2636

Douglas Gentile, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Iowa State University. Dr. Gentileis a developmental psychologist and a leading expert on the effects of media on children, adolescents and adults. His experience includes more than 20 years’ conducting research. He has also written and edited several books on this topic. He can discuss his research into the positive and negative effects of video games on children as well as the validity of the American media ratings.
Phone: (515) 294-1472

Richard Ryan, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Education, University of Rochester. Dr. Ryan is a researcher who can talk about what motivates people to play video games.
Phone: (585) 275-8708