Monday, January 23, 2017

Violent Video Game Paper Retracted

A flawed "research" paper covering video game violence that was published by Ohio State University has been retracted. Titled 'Boom, Headshot!?,' (what a stylish name...) and published in 2012, from the get-go a number of outside research and peer review groups took issue with the paper. 'Headshot!?' claimed that through video games, one could improve their marksmanship accuracy with a gun, thus leading to more real world violence.

We've heard claims like this before, but the way the paper presented the information did not match up with logical means of disseminating that information from test subjects. AKA: The facts didn't match the paper. There was also a potential conflict of interest as the person heading the study, Professor Brad Bushman, has a history of writing negatively about video games. While that's not enough to get a paper retracted, it does cause one to start ask questions.

Patrick Markey, psychology professor at Villanova University and Malte Elson, a behavioral psychology postdoc at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany began questioning the results when Markey noticed some statistical inconsistencies. They found that the data used was skewed to fit the narrative of the paper. This has been an ongoing review since the paper was first published. Even though there was an edited version released last year, it still held a number of incorrect facts and statistics.

Why is this an issue? People could have been using this paper for years for their own research; citing it as a source while dispensing misinformation. Tailoring research and academic studies to fit your point of view goes against the nature of scholastic studies. It's important to be mindful to not believe everything you read, and to question - but academic papers are still a sacred ground that should not be trifled with. Only write the truth.


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