More than 200 psychologists and researchers have sent an open letter to the American Psychological Association (APA) welcoming the formation of a task force to review media violence research. According to the letter, previous research has been tainted by "methodological flaws, ideological biases, and conclusions drawn from inconsistent or weak evidence." The group wants the new APA task force to look into that research and make sure it's scientifically sound.
"Much is at stake regarding the way scientific information is communicated to the general public, the way in which policy statements can set scientific agendas and the credibility of the field as a careful and objective science," the letter said. "We appreciate the APA's efforts to revisit the topic and believe that, given the scientific progress in the field, there are unprecedented opportunities to develop a solid basis for a careful and nuanced communication of research findings to the general public."
"Fundamentally, we are of the belief that the task force has a tremendous opportunity to change the culture of this research field to one which is less ideological and open to new theories, data and beliefs," it continued.
The Entertainment Software Association applauded the letter, noting that research points to there being no link between media violence and violent crimes.
"A host of respected researchers and numerous authorities - including the U.S. Supreme Court - have examined the scientific record and found that it does not establish any causal link between violent media and real-world violence," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. "We agree with these experts that additional APA's analysis must be objective, fact-based, and peer-reviewed, and must comprehensively examine all relevant factors."