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May 4, 2011

Could violent video games actually reduce violent crimes?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this notable research available via SSRN. The article is titled "Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime," and here is the abstract:

Psychological studies invariably find a positive relationship between violent video game play and aggression.  However, these studies cannot account for either aggressive effects of alternative activities video game playing substitutes for or the possible selection of relatively violent people into playing violent video games.  That is, they lack external validity.

We investigate the relationship between the prevalence of violent video games and violent crimes. Our results are consistent with two opposing effects.  First, they support the behavioral effects as in the psychological studies.  Second, they suggest a larger voluntary incapacitation effect in which playing either violent or non-violent games decrease crimes.  Overall, violent video games lead to decreases in violent crime.

May 4, 2011 at 09:07 AM | Permalink


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So would this be like the proposed effect of porn that seeing the material is enough and thus the crime doesn't need to be carried out?

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 4, 2011 9:34:35 AM

I wonder when the california violent video case is going to be decided? It was argued early in November and no decision yet out of SCOTUS

Posted by: bruce cunningham | May 4, 2011 1:22:58 PM


They are probably giving Alito time to write a super weepy think of the children dissent.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 4, 2011 1:39:41 PM

maybe the reason is based on the fact that young men are both the primary customers for violent video games and population with the highest crime rate - and that violent video games simply keep young men off the streets.

Posted by: virginia | May 4, 2011 5:42:30 PM

Crime rate has been falling while video game sales have been rising over the past 20 years, so the whole "violent video games lead to violent crimes" argument never held much water anyhow. It’s nice to see that those running the study are taking a realistic approach to how people actually play video games.

Posted by: Gamers Lounge | Jun 24, 2011 1:27:37 AM

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