February 14, 2011

Author and psychiatrist, Dr. Carole Lieberman was recently referenced by Fox News in the article "Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?" and has received an onslaught of attention from the aggressive and enraged online gaming community.

What has been most disturbing about this situation is the 'Amazon-Bombing' that the gaming community has triggered, regarding a book that has nothing whatsoever to do with video games. Dr. Carole wrote Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets in an effort to help people find the love they deserve. The reviews, laced with explicative, derogatory language and put-downs unrelated to the book itself, seem to illustrate that video games do make people more aggressive, indeed.

However, it has become evident from these reactionary statements that this article has unintentionally caused some individuals deep turmoil. Dr. Carole would like to issue an empathic statement to rectify the situation by explaining her background on video game violence, and shed light on this conversation.

The FoxNews.com statements from Dr. Carole were taken out of context and made to sound more inflammatory than they were meant to be. The increase of aggression as a result of violent images in the media is not a new concept. Numerous researchers have studied violent media for decades. Their studies show that violent toys, TV shows, music, movies, and video games, cumulatively make people more desensitized to violence and more aggressive or violent themselves. Dr. Carole simply pointed out that rape qualifies as a violent or aggressive act, and is, therefore, implied in these studies as resulting from media violence.

Regarding the ambiguity of the statement, Dr. Carole and her team would like to make it clear that the Fox News publication chose to represent Dr. Lieberman's views in a certain light, and that the statement was a paraphase of several emails of dialogue and a lengthy essay sent to the reporter.

Nevertheless, Dr. Lieberman stands by her views against media violence. In her correspondence with Fox News Reporter, John Brandon, she wrote: "Video games have increasingly, and more brazenly, connected sex and violence in images, actions and words. This has the psychological impact of doubling the excitement, stimulation and incitement to copycat acts. The increase in rapes can be attributed, in large part, to the playing out of such scenes in video games."

This quote was distilled down to "Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told FoxNews.com that sexual situations and acts in video games -- highlighted so well in Bulletstorm -- have led to real-world sexual violence. 'The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,' she said."

Dr. Carole thoroughly researched the Bulletstorm website and trailer before issuing this commentary. She is basing her opinion on 20 years as a clinical researcher in media violence. As such, she has testified before Congress several times, been the head of the National Coalition on TV Violence, and has stopped the 'Schwarzenegger rocket' (a NASA rocket that had planned to have an ad for "Last Action Hero" on its exterior). She has also been invited to contribute an essay to Larry King's book Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, about the harmful impact of video game violence.


  1. AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION-Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media
  2. Vulnerability to Violent Video Games: A Review and Integration of Personality Research