Longitudinal study of violent video games on aggression among American and Japanese youths (Anderson et al., 2008)

couldn't find a better picture for Bart

couldn't find a better picture for Bart, the other is Yutaka Kobayakawa of Lucky Star.

The first time I heard about this article is yesterday late afternoon, when I checked gamepolitics.com for any research-related news. Of course, I was knee-deep in lab works and I was kind of hoping that there was no new publications this week or any media attention. The article is long overdue because I wanted a psych video game study that compares between American and Japanese youths due to vastly different cultural mores and crime rate. However, I am getting the impression that the low crime rate in Japan might be a facade in that the low crime might be attributed to higher reluctance to report crime. But this needs to be checked later and by someone who knows better.


CONTEXT. Youth worldwide play violent video games many hours per week. Previous research suggests that such exposure can increase physical aggression.

OBJECTIVE. We tested whether high exposure to violent video games increases physical aggression over time in both high- (United States) and low- (Japan) violence cultures. We hypothesized that the amount of exposure to violent video games early in a school year would predict changes in physical aggressiveness assessed later in the school year, even after statistically controlling for gender and previous physical aggressiveness.

DESIGN. In 3 independent samples, participants’ video game habits and physically aggressive behavior tendencies were assessed at 2 points in time, separated by 3 to 6 months.

PARTICIPANTS. One sample consisted of 181 Japanese junior high students ranging in age from 12 to 15 years. A second Japanese sample consisted of 1050 students ranging in age from 13 to 18 years. The third sample consisted of 364 United States 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-graders ranging in age from 9 to 12 years.

RESULTS. Habitual violent video game play early in the school year predicted later aggression, even after controlling for gender and previous aggressiveness in each sample. Those who played a lot of violent video games became relatively more physically aggressive. Multisample structure equation modeling revealed that this longitudinal effect was of a similar magnitude in the United States and Japan for similar-aged youth and was smaller (but still significant) in the sample that included older youth.

CONCLUSIONS. These longitudinal results confirm earlier experimental and cross-sectional studies that had suggested that playing violent video games is a significant risk factor for later physically aggressive behavior and that this violent video game effect on youth generalizes across very different cultures. As a whole, the research strongly suggests reducing the exposure of youth to this risk factor.

I haven’t had the time to read the article thoroughly, but responses from other sources were quick. So I’ll just list them here:

  • Christopher J. Ferguson in an letter to Pediatrics.
  • John Timmer from Ars Technica.
  • Jesse Henning from gamecyte.com.
  • The comments from kotaku and gamepolitics [1] and [2]. I’ve stopped commenting in gamepolitics since there’s a persistent troll and I felt like repeating myself every time a research-related news comes up.
  • Part of one of interview by Matt Peckham with Christopher J. Ferguson and his detailed reasons for why the article is flawed. Here’s part two.

Google alert listed some news website that covered the article:

It will take some time for me to read the article and see if there’s anything of interest to talk about.

Anderson, C. A., Sakamoto, A., Gentile, D. A., Ihori, N., Shibuya, A., Yukawa, S., et al. (2008). Longitudinal effects of violent video games on aggression in japan and the united states. Pediatrics, 122(5), e1067-1072.


7 thoughts on “Longitudinal study of violent video games on aggression among American and Japanese youths (Anderson et al., 2008)

  1. Pingback: Finnish Longitudinal study on parent-child communication, sex, age and direct aggression (Wallenius & Punamäki, 2008) « VG Researcher - Psychology

  2. Pingback: An international multi-study on helping in video games and its effects on prosocial behaviours (Gentile et al., in press) « VG Researcher - Psychology

  3. Pingback: Dr. Geek: Treating Video Games like Cigarettes

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