At least 90% of all psychology studies are flawed

Written by Tim Smalley

February 5, 2009 | 11:46

Tags: #flawed #gamers #psychology #study #violence

Companies: #game

Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson, a criminal psychologist from Texas A&M International University, has said that at least 90 percent of all psychological studies are scientifically flawed.

"I'll be honest with you, the quality of research in psychology generally is not very good," said Dr. Ferguson during an interview with Gamespot. "Maybe 90 to 95 percent is very bad. The way that we study questions, the way that we support our hypotheses are not very scientific, quite frankly. And social science is kind of an oxymoron, to some extent."

Unlike the UK, where we have a well regulated ratings system which, if not adhered to, can result in hefty fines for retailers, the US doesn't have a solid ratings system for game sales.

It's been a hot topic for years because violent games are constitutionally protected, meaning in some states a six year old could walk into their local game store and purchase GTA IV with no questions asked.

The lack of action from the government has led a number of states to take matters into their own hands and they have attempted to outlaw sales of games to minors based on scientific research conducted by psychologists.

Ferguson's revelation is pretty damning in that respect, but he didn't stop there - he revealed exactly how some of these studies have been carried out. He noted that existing studies have tested a subject's willingness to annoy others with loud bursts of noise after gameplay as an example of aggression - a far cry from the 'copycat' school shootings and other violent outbursts naysayers have tried to pin on violent games.

"The sad answer is it's really hard to measure aggression in the lab. We really don't have any real good measures of aggression," he said. "We can't have kids knifing each other or punching or beating each other up, of course. So we have that ethical constraint on one hand, and is it possible to create an aggression measure that functions well and is valid? I haven't seen one yet."

Even if Ferguson's revelations are true, there's still one question that remains - should minors be able to purchase violent games designed for adults? Tell us in the forums.
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