From: The New York Times

What Experts Know About People Who Commit Mass Shootings

On Monday morning, President Trump made his first televised statement about the mass murders committed over the weekend in El Paso, Tex., and Dayton, Ohio. He called for action to “stop mass killings before they start,” citing what he said were a number contributing factors: the contagious nature of mass murder; the glorification of violence in video games; and the need to act on “red flags” to identify and potentially confine the “mentally ill monsters” that he said commit the crimes.

The results of studies attempting to clarify the relationship between violent video games and aggression have been mixed, with experts deeply divided on the findings. A just-published analysis of the research to date concludes that “in the vast majority of settings, violent video games do increase aggressive behavior” — but that “these effects are almost always quite small.”

Read the whole story: The New York Times


As a founding charter member of APS and a scientist who has conducted research on media violence for over 50 years, I can tell you that the New York Times is WRONG. Habitual exposure to media violence (TV violence, movie violence, video game violence) by a youth increases the risk that the youth will subsequently behave more aggressively just as habitual exposure to family or neighborhood violence do. Social-cognitive observational learning theory explains the process and numerous experimental and longitudinal studies published in high quality journals have shown the effect. Of course, if we were not awash in a sea of guns, the effect would not be manifest in so many shootings, but the psychological effect would remain.

Sadly (for the purpose of establishing causation), exposure to violent content is not random. Families and children who are already aggressive tend to view more. Hard to tease out in epidemiological studies.

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