Sunday, January 6, 2008

Does fake violence stop real violence?

I don't know if I believe this, but I think it's a really interesting argument. The question to ask is if the results of this study are a result of a wave of wannabe Freakanomics researchers trying to come up with equally contrarian analysis:

The findings in their paper are part of a recent wave of economic research in what might be called the “freakonomics era.” Practitioners of the dismal science are transcending traditional subjects like labor and markets, and are now crunching numbers to evaluate matters like cheating among sumo wrestlers or the effects of a crackdown on cocaine.

In this case, the authors have waded into a long-simmering debate about media violence, with their findings likely to attract controversy: Their conclusion seems to collide with the research of psychologists, which has fed concerns by parents and policy makers that brutal imagery in films, video games and other media sows aggression in American life by rendering viewers insensitive to horrific acts.

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