This week’s Digital Savant column involved the reading of an entire book (yes, I still do that sometimes). But it was a book I was happy to check out because it was full of information about video games I either hadn’t seen before or hadn’t seen put together concisely in a well-researched way.
”The Video Game Debate: Unraveling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Digital Games” is a book published last month and co-edited by Austinite Rachel Kowert, a research psychologist. In the piece, I talk about some of the topics covered in the book and how it came together. Here’s an excerpt from the column:
Future chapters are eye-opening, as much for what research has been done — particularly in the area of how games can be used as therapy or for learning — as for what’s missing. In one of the biggest hot topics the book tackles — whether games make us more aggressive and potentially violent — it turns out that there’s a lot of conflicting information due to the lack of standardized data collection and the wide array of types of games and game players.
When a study about such a topic blows up in the news, it may be a study that hasn’t been peer-reviewed or that is contradictory to other, more thorough studies. The book, Kowert says, is an attempt to get an overview from top experts who’ve combed through these studies to draw more informed conclusions.
“You can read a thousand scientific articles or read the book and get a summary of those thousand scientific articles,” Kowert said. “There’s more clarity for people in these fields than what the public is getting.”
Often, as the book’s “Debate” title suggests, there are no clear answers as to whether, say, violent video games are inherently “bad” or “good.”