The study was issued to 1,004 teen participants (50 percent male, 50 percent female between the ages of 14 and 15 who spend at least two hours a day, on average, playing violent video games) by Associate professor Andrew K. Przybylski of Oxford University and senior lecturer Netta Weinstein of Cardiff Universit, who predicted that "recent violent game play is linearly and positively related to aggressive behavior." Unsurprisingly, not only did the research fail to produce evidence that that was the case, it also suggested there’s no “tipping point” where playing a game could trigger aggression in someone.
The survey itself, to be fair, wasn’t exactly comprehensive. They sent a survey both to the children and their caregivers, asking them questions regarding the games they play and their behavior after playing them. It’s a fairly common technique used in other psychological surveys, and something called “linear regression molding” was used to find evidence of aggressive behavior, but none was found. Which surprised absolutely no one who’d been paying attention to this stuff in the past.
Still, as the report predicts, we’ll probably never hear the end of it anyway:
"Despite the null findings identified in the present study, history gives us reason to suspect the idea that violent video games drives aggressive behaviour will remain an unsettled question for parents, pundits and policy-makers."
Still, credit where credit is due; they had gone in there with a hypothesis, and they were willing to admit they were wrong. In this increasingly partisan world, that feels like an achievement, even if it really shouldn’t be.
Such is the way.