Letter/Observer Forum



Three boys playing video games
The real question: Why are some kids more affected by media violence than others?

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN helpful if the writer had provided some statistics for the conclusions presented in the Influence of Media Violence on Youth section of the story “In the Public Interest” [Observer, August 2004]. It is certainly not true that everyone or every youth exposed to media violence reacts in the same manner. Let us not, as the media have done, overgeneralize the results of our research. Short-term exposure to media violence does not lead to an immediate increase in aggression, nor does long-term exposure lead everyone exposed to increased aggression throughout one’s lifespan. The question here, as in many studies in many areas, is why do those affected display the effects and those not affected not display them?

There was a nice article in the last issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science regarding “Who Develops Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” that addresses this very point. Let’s not overreach our data.

John C. Roitzsch
Medical University of South Carolina

Have ‘Patients’

I REALLY ENJOYED Roddy Roediger’s article [Observer, April 2004] on the usage of “subjects” versus “participants,” as well as all of the thoughtful responses printed in the Observer Forum since then. As a graduate student who has not yet received any training outside of reading textbooks, I am curious if anyone has a stance on the use of “patient” versus “client.” Personally, I prefer the former, but most of my professors and classmates prefer “client,” and I find myself getting “corrected” on many an occasion. The university I attend is less scientific in its bent than I am (which is part of the reason I joined the APS – to counteract that), so I don’t know if the preference toward “client” is attributable to that or is now the preferred term in the field in general.

Christine Senn
Capella University

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