There's another story to be told about the false association of violent video games and real-life violence.
Even as study after study has shown that video games don't significantly lead to real shootings, media outlets have continued to mention them in reports of crime and violence. Now, a study by the American Psychological Association published Monday shows that this false narrative is largely tied up in racial stereotypes, MIT Technology Review reports.
For one part of the study, students — who were 88 percent white and 65 percent female — read a made-up story about an either black or white 18-year-old school shooter who was apparently a "video game enthusiast," the study reads. Participants were then asked if they thought video games played a role in the crime. A "small but statistically significant" number more of them said the games contributed to the white suspect's motive but not the black suspect's motive, MIT Technology Review reports.
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In the second part of the study, researchers used a database to compare local news coverage of shootings. Coverage of suspects' motives was markedly different based on the shooter's race, and video games were eight times more likely to be mentioned in stories about a white suspect over those about a black suspect, the study found.
Together, the two pieces of the study suggest "there are a lot of us out there who think we don’t have a racist cell in our body, but we are comfortable looking at certain explanations [for violence and crime] over others," one researcher on the study told MIT Technology Review. Read more about the study at MIT Technology Review, or find the whole thing here.
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