Last updated on: 1/22/2010 | Author:

David Verhaagen, PhD Biography

Founding and Managing Partner of Southeast Psych
Con to the question "Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?"

“Why would a couple of child psychologists come to the defense of violent video games? Because some legislative initiatives and public opinions across the country are based on fallacious assumptions, personal biases, political posturing and weak science. One recent systematic analysis of the research literature found ‘insufficient, contradictory and methodologically flawed evidence on the association between television viewing and video game playing and aggression in children and young people with behavioral and emotional difficulties. If public health advice is to be evidence-based, good quality research is needed,’ (Mitrofan, Paul, Spencer, 2009). Another extensive study found ‘no support for the hypothesis that violent video game playing is associated with higher aggression,’ (Ferguson, 2007). In fact, that same study found some positive benefits of playing violent video games, particularly improvements in visual-spatial thinking. While there are studies that find people who play violent video games may have a brief increase in violent thoughts and feelings, newer research finds that these thoughts and feelings typically last less than four minutes (Barlett, Branch, Rodeheffer, & Harris, 2009). And remember, having a violent thought is a whole lot different than actually committing violence.”

Cowritten with Frank Gaskill, PhD, “Do Violent Video Games Cause Violence and Aggression?,”, Oct. 11, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Founding and Managing Partner, Southeast Psych, 2000-present
  • Diplomate, American Board of Professional Psychology, Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology
  • Training Director, Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC)-approved Pre-Doctoral Internship
  • Member, American Board of Professional Psychology
  • Member, Mecklenburg County’s Post-Adoption Services Committee and Serious Habitual Offender Committee
  • Board of Directors, Children’s Law Center
  • Radio disc jockey, 1986-1993
  • Student Assistant, Virginia Child Protection Newsletter, 1985
  • PhD, Pyschology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993
  • BS, Psychology, James Madison University, 1986
  • Professional specialties include anger problems, anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol problems, school and learning-related issues, and trauma
  • Operates the blog
  • Semi-finalist in the Virginia State Pinball Championship (age 13)