Last updated on: 1/22/2010 | Author: ProCon.org

Frank Gaskill, PhD Biography

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

“Correlations are just relationships between two variables; you can never say one causes the other. We could say that during the season when ice cream sales increase, shark attacks also increase. But we could not say the more ice cream you sell, the more you cause shark attacks.

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 Dave Verhaagen, PhD, “Do Violent Video Games Cause Violence and Aggression?,” southeastpsych.blogspot.com, Oct. 11, 2009

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with PhDs, MDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to violence and video games. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to media violence and related issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Founding and Managing Partner, Southeast Psych
  • Presenter, Autism Society of North Carolina Mecklenburg County Chapter, Oct. 2009
  • Member, Private Schools Admissions Testing Team (CAIS)
  • Senior Research Psychologist, Devereux Foundation of Pennsylvania
  • Clinician, Devereux Foundation of Pennsylvania
Education:
  • PhD, Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1997
  • MA, Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • BA, Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1991
Other:
  • Areas of professional interest include aspergers, role of technology in children’s lives, defiant and anxious children, and families experiencing divorce
  • Father of two children
  • Contributing writer to southeastpsych.blogspot.com
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?