Christopher J. Ferguson's research while affiliated with Stetson University and other places

Publications (32)

Article
Whether video games with sexualized content do or do not relate to mental health and body image problems in players, and/or sexualization and hostility toward women, is an issue of broad public interest. However, evidence from empirical studies has generally been mixed. To examine this issue, we explored the degree to which sexualization in games w...
Article
Background The issue of whether fictional media can socialize male attitudes toward women remains hotly contested. One recent longitudinal study concluded that exposure to sexualized TV was associated with viewing women as sex objects as well as objectification of women. However, it was unclear whether these findings were robust. Methods Original...
Article
Debates about pathological gaming continues in the wake of the World Health Organization's (WHO) decision to establish a gaming disorder diagnosis. Questions persist whether gaming disorder is best conceived as a stand-alone psychiatric disorder, or whether it heralds or accompanies other, more established conditions, such as depression or ADHD. We...
Article
Full-text available
At present, there have been a number of studies examining the sexualization of female characters in various media. However, most studies to date have not clearly delineated whether sexualized images or the presence of assertive versus passive female characters influences negative attitudes toward women in viewers, as well as female viewer anxiety....
Article
This study investigated whether stress or violent content in video games plays a greater role in aggressiveness towards a cooperative partner while playing a video game. It was hypothesized that participants, when exposed to stress, would demonstrate greater aggressiveness toward an incompetent partner than a competent partner. Furthermore, it was...
Preprint
The reputation of psychological science depends on the adequacy of the science underlying its policy recommendations. This commentary raises concerns about the science used by Heilman et al. (2021) in their recent narrative (not meta-analytic) review that encourages spanking bans worldwide. By reviewing controlled longitudinal studies, Heilmann et...
Article
Full-text available
Recent years have seen debate about whether depictions of inherently evil monster races such as orcs in role playing games or literature/movies such as Lord of the Rings could be considered racist. Although such decisions may be subjective, little data has been produced to inform the debate regarding how critical an issue this is. In particular, do...
Article
Full-text available
Whether playing video games with prosocial content has an influence on empathy among players remains contentious in the research literature. Some evidence suggests playing cooperatively with other gamers enhances empathy, but data have not conclusively linked prosocial content with empathy. Further, mechanisms of this potential relationship are unc...
Article
Understanding the social contexts of violent crime remains controversial in the literature. In the current study, we examine common social contexts in four cities (Houston, TX, Baltimore, MD, Jackson, MS, Wilmington, DE). Data were examined in two studies. In the first, each city was compared to national county-level data on health outcomes. In the...
Article
Since the 1990s, the influence of the internet and social media in daily communication has skyrocketed. This has brought both remarkable opportunities and perceived perils. Recent years have seen increases in suicide and mental health concerns, political polarization, and online aggression. Can such phenomenon be connected causally to communication...
Article
Violent crime is a concern in the United States. Past research has suggested different correlates, including poverty, mental health disorders and the presence of guns. One particular theory, named the facilitation hypothesis, states that firearms enhance the power of an aggressor, they reduce the necessity of a physical attack, and encourage those...
Article
Data from several polling companies have suggested a precipitous decline in perceptions of race relations over the past decade. This study sought to examine whether national perceptions of race relations were shaped more by actual fatal shootings of unarmed Black men or by news media coverage of police shootings or, put more directly, whether it ha...
Article
Immersive Ambulatory Virtual Reality (IA-VR) video games are relatively new and highly immersive. Given speculation that immersion may increase psychological effects of playing games, we examined whether violent IA-VR (cf. flat-screen) games increase aggression. Here, we report the first experimental studies to assess the effects of violent and non...
Article
The degree to which the content of video games influences aggression continues to be debated in the scholarly literature. The current article includes two studies, one of which replicates one study from Przybylski et al. (2014, J. Pers. Soc. Psychol., 106, 441) and the other which extends related concepts into virtual reality. In the first study, t...
Article
Understanding why different nations have different homicide and suicide rates has been of interest to scholars, policy makers and the general public for years. Multiple theories have been offered, related to the economy, presence of guns and even exposure to violence in video games. In the current study, several factors were considered in combinati...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 has prompted widespread self-isolation and citywide/countrywide lockdowns. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has encouraged increased digital social activities such as video game play to counteract social isolation during the pandemic. However, there is active debate about the potential for video game overuse, and some video games contai...
Article
Recent preregistered studies and analyses have suggested that links between aggressive video games (AVGs) and aggression-related outcomes may have been exaggerated in previous literature. However, concerns about AVGs remain. Although the impact of aggressive games on aggressive behaviors has been the subject of approximately a dozen preregistered s...
Article
Full-text available
The issue of whether spanking does or does not contribute to later aggression remains controversial despite public policy statements by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups opposing spanking. Studies have remained inconsistent regarding whether spanking does or does not contribute to later aggression. One study, Temple et al., 2018,...
Article
In 2015, the American Psychological Association (APA) released a task-force technical report on video-game violence with a concurrent resolution statement linking violent games to aggression but not violent crime. The task-force report has proven to be controversial; many scholars have criticized language implying conclusive evidence linking violen...
Article
Full-text available
Whether video games with aggressive content contribute to aggressive behaviour in youth has been a matter of contention for decades. Recent re-evaluation of experimental evidence suggests that the literature suffers from publication bias, and that experimental studies are unable to demonstrate compelling short-term effects of aggressive game conten...
Article
Whether pornography contributes to sexual aggression in real life has been the subject of dozens of studies over multiple decades. Nevertheless, scholars have not come to a consensus about whether effects are real. The current meta-analysis examined experimental, correlational, and population studies of the pornography/sexual aggression link dating...
Article
Recent scholarship has been divided on whether an observed increase in suicides in the United States among teenagers and preteens (12‐18) can be attributed to an increased use in social screen media beginning in 2009. If these concerns are accurate effect sizes for the relationship between screen use and suicide should increase over the 16 years si...
Article
Concerns about whether fictional media can have a contagion effect on youth viewers have been debated for several decades. In the 1980s these led to several lawsuits featuring heavy metal acts as defendants. More recently, concerns have been renewed following the popular television show 13 Reasons Why which depicts an adolescent girl’s suicide. The...
Article
Full-text available
Loot boxes are digital containers of randomised rewards available in many video games. Due to similarities between some loot boxes and traditional forms of gambling, concerns regarding the relationship between spending on loot boxes in video games and symptoms of problematic gambling have been expressed by policy makers and the general public. We p...
Article
Full-text available
In our initial article (Larzelere et al., 2017) we raised concerns about a paradigm we called “Exclusively Positive Parenting” (EPP). This paradigm opposes all negative disciplinary consequences, including timeout and privilege removal. We argued that the empirical support for EPP was insufficient. Researchers should not rely on insufficient causal...
Article
In our initial article we raised concerns about a paradigm we called “Exclusively Positive Parenting” (EPP). This paradigm opposes all negative disciplinary consequences, including timeout and privilege removal. We argued that the empirical support for EPP was insufficient. Researchers should not rely on insufficient causal evidence to replace well...
Article
The impact of aggressive video games (AVGs) on aggression and violent behavior among players, particularly youth, has been debated for decades. In recent years, evidence for publication bias, questionable researcher practices, citation bias and poor standardization of many measures and research designs has indicated that the false positive rate amo...
Article
Background: There is continued debate about whether sexualisation in games can influence sexist attitudes and reduced empathy towards women in real life. There is research evidence both supporting and refuting the possibility. Aims: Our aim was to examine the relationship between sexualised content in video games and players' sexist attitudes an...
Article
Scientific fields often assign fame to certain individuals and studies to delineate a narrative about the field's importance, success, and contribution to knowledge. However, such assignations of fame can result in a situation wherein assumptions of scientific merit may follow from fame, rather than fame following from clear scientific merit. This...

Citations

... Therefore, potential problematic use is understood in a non-clinical sense, but it has the potential to become actual problematic use 85 . In this regard, we will follow the argument of Ferguson, et al. 86 and we will use the term pathological gaming or use of video games, which has the advantage of being widely used and avoids the terminological concern of making a misleading comparison with substance use. ...
... There have also been issues with stereotypes around the portal of race with supplements such as Oriental Adventures in 1985 and the Tomb of Annihilation in 2017 being criticised for how Black culture is presented and amalgamated (D'Anastasio, 2017); Garcia (2017) has explored how players' identities and experiences are influenced by the deceptions of constructs like race and gender in D&D. However, recent research into whether people view orcs as racist has indicated that playing D&D was not associated with higher levels of ethnocentrism or racism, and priming people questions regarding if certain material is racist may prime them to see racism in such material (Ferguson, 2022). Hollander (2021) argues that D&D can yield a personal-political edification providing an informal "moral training" but notes it can also reinforce harmful associations that exist towards others. ...
... As presented by Eccles & Wigfield [39], achievement-related behaviors can be fully explained by an individual's expectancies about future success. Further, Steinmayr & Spinath [40] offered that affective factors or prosocial behaviors such as empathy, teamwork, and cooperation play a significant role in facilitating greater scholastic achievement. Newer and student-centered pedagogical approaches and strategies such as social emotional learning (SEL) and culturally responsive teaching, are thus placing a strong emphasis on helping students, most specifically youth, build connections and relationships and therefore cooperative disposition with their classmates and peers [41,42,43]. ...
... The phenomenon of gaming disorder, depression and anxiety related issues have been evident in gaming literature. Therefore, additional research is necessary in understanding how game design can foster the players' psychological growth (Kowert et al., 2021). Future studies may further examine if identification with game Avators can reduce mental illness (Ferchaud et al., 2020). ...
... In fact, some investigations of side effects of VR have been carried out, e.g. related to cybersickness (Chang et al., 2020;Dużmańska et al., 2018), or the possible induction of aggressive behavior by VR gaming, which could be negated (Drummond et al., 2021;Ferguson et al., 2022). Other potential side effects are so far largely unexplored. ...
... Our study showed significant negative association of global trends in suicide mortality of firearm with HDI, GDP and GDP per capita both in males and females. Similarly, findings of other studies confirmed significant negative correlation between economic factors (such as the HDI, GDP per capita, GINI index) and suicide rates in both genders [51][52][53]. ...
... In fact, some investigations of side effects of VR have been carried out, e.g. related to cybersickness (Chang et al., 2020;Dużmańska et al., 2018), or the possible induction of aggressive behavior by VR gaming, which could be negated (Drummond et al., 2021;Ferguson et al., 2022). Other potential side effects are so far largely unexplored. ...
... Twenty-one studies included participants from the same country, while three recruited residents from different nations. [78][79][80] Seven research involved participants of different age ranges (see also Table 2 for details). ...
... Another more recent meta-analysis by Prescott et al, (2018), in which 24 studies with over 17,000 participants were included, confirmed that exposure over time to violent games increases aggressive behaviors (see also Addo, et al., 2021;Coyne & Stockdale, 2021;Medeiros, et al., 2020;Zhang et al., 2021). However, other studies do not identify such behavioral changes in the use of violent VG (López-Fernández et al., 2021;Ferguson & Wang, 2021;Goodson et al., 2021). This fact evidences that the literature is alarming about these negative effects of VG unnecessarily. ...
... In response to this digital revolution, a moral panic has ensued among parents, policy makers, practitioners, and researchers alike. Pathological and deficit-based approaches have proliferated, and media narratives and policy decisions have been made based on small effect sizes from cross-sectional studies (Ferguson, 2020). This moral panic constitutes a moral imperative for scholars of child and adolescent development, as the "true cost lies in the enormous loss of scientific knowledge and understanding of the role media play in development and developmental processes" (Vandewater, 2013, p. 50). ...