Friday, December 08, 2006

The Stink, Verified

Remember when I said the latest study by Dr. Vincent Mathews about video game violence and it's affect on teenagers had a whiff of stink? If you don't, it's here.

My concern was "The Center for Successful Parenting," the "Don't Let Your Kids be Gamewashed" people. Here, take a look at the front page of their website.

Exactly. They're extremists--not because of what they believe, but because of the sensationalistic nature of their advocacy. They represent the polar opposite of objective scientific research.

So who is front and center on the "studies" link of their website? Why, it's Dr. Vincent Mathews and his previous study (also discussed here a few weeks ago)--which was funded by The Center for Successful Parenting.

Oh, and guess what? So was this latest study. From an MSNBC article that appeared this morning:
Larry Ley, the director and coordinator of research for the Center for Successful Parenting, which funded Mathews’ study, says the purpose of the research was to help parents make informed decisions.

So the two studies about brain activity and "violent" video games that have received, by far, the most media coverage, have both been funded by a group with basically a 100% bias. Mathews is their poster boy, scientifically, and they're funding his research.

Does this mean that Mathews' research is biased? No, not implicitly. Does it mean it could be biased, and that the source of his funding makes it legitimate to ask that question? Yes. It's certainly reasonable to subject the methodology and results of this study to extreme scrutiny because of the funding source--and I'd do the same if the Entertainment Software Association was funding studies on the same subject.

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