Welcome to Impact Factor, your weekly shot of commentary on a new medical study. I’m Perry Wilson.
This week: a study testing whether violent video games can increase the chance that kids will play with guns. The study appeared in JAMA Network Open.
Here’s the background: A fair amount of research suggests that kids who play violent video games or watch violent shows are more likely to engage in aggressive or violent behavior. But causality isn’t entirely clear here. Maybe certain kids just like that stuff; behavioralists call it “trait aggression.” Some kids gravitate to Call of Duty while others are more into Candy Crush.
To determine causality, researchers randomized 242 children aged 8-12 years to one of three scenarios in the popular game Minecraft.