New York– People are more likely to blame violent video games as a cause of mass school shooting if the perpetrator is white, according to a new study.
For the findings, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, the researchers analysed more than 200,000 news articles about 204 mass shootings over a 40-year period and found that video games were eight times more likely to be mentioned when the shooting occurred at a school and the perpetrator was a white male, than when the shooter was an African American male.
Another experiment conducted with college students had similar findings.
“When a violent act is carried out by someone who doesn’t match the racial stereotype of what a violent person looks like, people tend to seek an external explanation for the violent behaviour,” said lead researcher Patrick Markey, Professor at Villanova University.
“When a white child from the suburbs commits a horrific violent act like a school shooting, then people are more likely to erroneously blame video games than if the child was African American,” Markey added.
In one experiment in this study, 169 college students (65 per cent female, 88 per cent white) read a mock newspaper article describing a fictional mass shooting by an 18-year-old male youth who was described as an avid fan of violent video games.
Half of the participants read an article featuring a small mugshot of a white shooter while the other half saw a mugshot of an African-American shooter.
In their responses to a questionnaire, participants who read the article with the photo of a white shooter were significantly more likely to blame video games as a factor in causing the teen to commit the school shooting than participants who saw an African-American shooter.
According to the study, participants who did not play video games also were more likely to blame violent video games for school shootings. (IANS)