See Appendix for biographies of the Amici. All parties have
consented to the filing of this brief.
Guy Cumberbatch, "Video Violence: Villain or Victim?" (Video
Standards Council, UK, 2001), www.videostandards.org.uk/video_violence.htm
Mike Males, Framing Youth (1999), pp. 5-6, 28-70; Jib Fowles, The
Case for Television Violence (1999), pp. 52-53; Federal Bureau
of Investigation, Uniform Crime Report (2000) (rates of violent
crime for youths aged 10-17 at their lowest level since 1987;
between 1990-2000, juvenile violence arrest rates fell 27%,
including a record 68% drop in homicides); "Violent Crime Fell 9% in
'01, Victim Survey Shows," New York Times, Sept. 9, 2002, p.
Kevin Durkin, Computer Games - Their Effects on Young People
(Australia Office of Film & Literature Classification, 1995), p. 2;
Kevin Durkin, Computer Games and Australians Today (Australia
Office of Film & Literature Classification, 1999), p. 3.
E.g., Barrie Gunter, The Effects of Video Games on Children: The
Myth Unmasked (1998), pp. 94-109; Lillian Bensley & Juliet Van
Eenwyk, "Video Games and Real-Life Aggression: Review of the
Literature," 29(4) J. Adolescent Health 244, 256 (2001)
(findings "not supportive of a major public concern that violent
video games lead to real-life violence"); Mark Griffiths, "Violent
Video Games and Aggression: A Review of the Literature," 4
Aggression & Violent Behav. 203 (1999) (studies' results are
"consistent with the catharsis hypothesis" that fantasy aggression
"releases the energy that would otherwise be expressed in aggressive
A correlation between two characteristics, such as aggressive behavior and attraction to violent entertainment, gives no clue as
to which causes the other, or whether one or more independent
factors – such as a violent home, predisposition, or parental
neglect – accounts for both the aggression and the preference for
7. Cumberbatch, "Video Violence," supra.
Craig Anderson & Karen Dill, "Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts,
Feelings, and Behavior in the Laboratory and in Life," 78(4) J.
of Personality & Social Psych. 772 (2000).
Anderson & Brad Bushman, "Effects of Violent Video Games on
Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect,
Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic
Review of the Scientific Literature," 12(5) Psych. Science
Christopher J. Ferguson, "Media Violence, Media Causality," 57(6-7)
Amer. Psychologist 446 (2002); see also, e.g., Richard Bloom,
"On Media Violence: Whose Facts? Whose Misinformation?" 57(6-7)
Amer. Psychologist 447 (2002).
American Amusement Machine Ass'n v. Kendrick, 244 F.3d 572,
577-79 (7th Cir. 2001).
See Gregory Black,
(1994), pp. 151-54.
See Margaret Blanchard, "The American Urge to Censor," 22 Wm. &
Mary L.Rev. 741 (1992); John Twomey, "The Citizens' Committee
and Comic Book Control," 20 Law & Contemp. Probs. 621 (1955);
Frederic Thrasher, "The Comics and Delinquency: Cause or Scapegoat,"
23 J. Educ. Sociology 195 (1949).
Albert Bandura et al., "Imitation of Film-Mediated Aggressive
Models," 66 J. Abnormal & Soc. Psych. 3 (1963). Bandura
popularized his claims in Look magazine: "What TV Violence
Can Do to Your Child," Look, Oct. 22, 1963, p. 46.
Surgeon General's Advisory Comm. on Television & Social Behavior,
Television and Growing Up: The Impact of Televised Violence
(1972), pp. 4, 7, 67. Psychologist Stuart Fischoff notes that it was
almost impossible in these years to get government funding for media
research unless one was looking for harmful effects. Fischoff,
"Psychology's Quixotic Quest for the Media-Violence Connection,"
4(4) J. Media Psych. (1999), http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/sfischo/violence.html
Willard Rowland, Jr., The Politics of TV Violence (1983), pp.
Jonathan Freedman, "Effect of Television Violence on Aggression,"
96(2) Psych. Bull. 227 (1984).
Jonathan Freedman, "Viewing Television Violence Does Not Make People
More Aggressive," 22 Hofstra L. Rev. 833, 843-46 (1994). The
study was Lynette Friedrich & Aletha Stein, "Aggressive and
Prosocial Television Programs and the Natural Behavior of Preschool
Children," 38(4) Monographs of the Society for Research in Child
This phase of the study was reported in Leonard Eron et al., "Does
Television Violence Cause Aggression?" 27 Am. Psychologist
Richard Rhodes, "The Media-Violence Myth," Rolling Stone,
Nov. 23, 2000, p. 55; e-mail from Huesmann to Rhodes, Mar. 13, 2000.
The follow-up study was reported in L. Rowell Huesmann et al., "The
Stability of Aggression Over Time and Generations," 20 Devel.
Psych. 1120 (1984).
National Institute of Mental Health, Television and Behavior -
Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the Eighties
Willard Rowland, Jr., "Television Violence Redux: The Continuing
Mythology of Effects," in Ill Effects: The Media Violence Debate
(M. Baker & J. Petley, eds.) (1997), p. 113.
E.g., Thomas Cook et al., "The Implicit Assumptions of Television
Research: An Analysis of the 1982 NIMH Report on Television and
Behavior," 47 Pub. Opin. Q. 161, 181-82 (1983) ("the field
experiments on television violence produce little consistent
evidence of effects, despite claims to the contrary"); see also
"Guns, Lies, and Videotape," 354(9178) The Lancet 525 (1999)
("it is inaccurate to imply that the published work strongly
indicates a causal link between virtual and actual violence").
William McGuire, "The Myth of Massive Media Impact: Savagings and
Salvagings," in Public Communication and Behavior (G.
Comstock, ed.) (1986), p. 174.
Brandon Centerwall, "Television and Violence: The Scale of the
Problem and Where to Go From Here," 267(22) J.A.M.A. 3059,
Zimring & Gordon Hawkins, Crime is Not the Problem - Lethal
Violence in America (1997), pp. 133-34, 239-43.
Steven Messner, "Television Violence and Violent Crime," 33(3)
Social Problems 218, 228 (1986).
Freedman, "Viewing Television Violence," supra, 22 Hofstra
L. Rev. at 849-51. The Dutch researchers published their report
separately; see Oene Wiegman et al., Television Viewing Related
to Aggressive and Prosocial behavior (1986); Oene Wiegman et
al., "A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of Television Viewing on
Aggressive and Prosocial Behaviors," 31 Brit. J. Social Psych.
29. Sprafkin testimony in Eclipse Enterprises v. Gulotta
(CV-92-3416) (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 28, 1994), pp. 112-13; see also Joyce
Sprafkin et al., "Effects of Viewing Aggressive Cartoons on the
Behavior of Learning Disabled Children," 28 J. Child Psych. &
Psychiatry 387 (1987); Kenneth Gadow & Joyce Sprafkin, "Field
Experiments of Television Violence with Children: Evidence for an
Environmental Hazard?" 83 Pediatrics 399 (1989).
Jonathan Freedman, Media Violence and Its Effect on Aggression
(2002), pp. 56, 62-63. For field experiments, the percent of
negative results was higher: "only three of the ten studies obtained
even slightly supportive results,"and even this weak showing gave "a
more favorable picture than is justified," for several of the
studies with null results "actually consisted of many separate
studies." Counting the results of these separate studies, three
field experiments found some support; 20 did not.
Federal Trade Comm'n, Marketing Entertainment Violence to
Children, Appendix A, "A Review of Research on the Impact of
Violence in Entertainment Media" (2000).
Eclipse Enterprises v. Gulotta, 134 F.3d 63 (2nd Cir. 1997).
Frederick Schauer, "Causation Theory and the Causes of Sexual
Violence," 4 Am.
Bar Fdtn Rsrch J.
737, 752-53 (1987).
David Moore, Statistics - Concepts and Controversies 486-90
(4th ed.) (1997).
Freedman, Media Violence and Its Effect on Aggression, supra,
p. 78. The study was Leonard Berkowitz et al., "Film Violence and
Subsequent Aggressive Tendencies," 27 Public Opin. Q. 217
The grant termination example is from Fischoff, supra; the "more
hostile" interpretation example is from Anderson & Dill, supra.
See also Ellen Wolock, "Is There a Reasonable Approach to Handling
Violence in Video Games?" Children's Software Revue,
July/Aug. 2002 (occasional findings of short-term effects are
questionable, given how "aggressivity" is measured – "increase in
heart rate and blood pressure, negative responses on questionnaires,
toy choice, etc."); Craig Emes, "Is Mr. Pac Man Eating Our Children?
A Review of the Effect of Video Games on Children," 42
409, 413 (1997) (reliability and validity of procedures used to
measure aggression "are questionable").
Goldstein, "Does Playing Violent Video Games Cause Aggressive Behavior?" Paper presented at U. of Chicago "Playing By the Rules"
Conference, Oct. 27, 2001, p. 5. Goldstein notes that "in the rare
study that measures both aggressive play and aggressive behavior,
violent video games affect the former and not the latter."
Id. See also Griffiths, "Violent Video Games," supra
(questioning whether aggressive free play observed in a lab is
useful predictor of anti-social aggression).
E.g., Freedman, Media Violence and Its Effect on
Aggression, supra, 49-51, 80-83; Cumberbatch, supra (quoting
"one shrewd four year-old who, on arriving at the laboratory, ...
was heard to whisper to her mother, ‘Look mummy! There's the doll we
have to hit!"); Joanne Savage, "The Criminologist's Perspective," in
Violence and the Media (Freedom Forum, 2001), p. 28 ("it is
possible that showing subjects violent material creates an
atmosphere of permissiveness and encourages them to be more
Other theories of aggression look to social conditions, family
environment, brain chemistry, and variations in human character.
E.g., Debra Niehoff, The Biology of Violence (1999); Jonathan
Kellerman, Savage Spawn - Reflections on Violent Children
(1999); Rollo May, Power and Innocence - A Search for the Sources
of Violence (1972); Erich Fromm, The Anatomy of Human
Destructiveness (1973); Konrad Lorenz, On Aggression
Buckingham, "Electronic Child Abuse? Rethinking the Media's Effects
on Children," in Ill Effects: The Media Violence Debate (M.
Barker & J. Petley, eds.) (1997), p. 34.
Henry Jenkins, "Professor Jenkins Goes to Washington," Harper's,
July 1999, p. 23; Henry Jenkins, "Lessons From Littleton: What
Congress Doesn't Want to Hear About Youth and Media,"
Winter 2000, http://www.nais.org/pubs/ismag.cfm?file_id=537&ismag_id=14
National Research Council, Nat'l Academy of Sciences,
Understanding and Preventing Violence (A. Reiss, Jr. & J. Roth,
eds.) (1993), pp. 101-02.
See John Douglas & Mark Olshaker, The Anatomy of Motive
(1999), pp. 82-87 (media can provide "modus operandi and signature
elements" to criminals, but do not cause law-abiding people to
commit violent acts); Fischoff, supra (same).
Jenkins, "Lessons From Littleton," supra; see also Jeffrey
Goldstein, "Why We Watch," in Why We Watch, supra, pp. 216-20
(appeals of violent entertainment include mood management,
sensation-seeking and excitement, emotional expression, and the
state of "flow" one experiences when immersed in an activity).
Jeffrey Arnett, "The Soundtrack of Restlessness - Musical
Preferences and Reckless Behavior Among Adolescents," 7 J. Adol.
Rsrch 313, 328 (1992); Jeffrey Arnett, "Adolescents and Heavy
Metal Music: From the Mouths of Metalheads," 23 Youth & Society
76 (1991); see also Lawrence Kurdek, "Gender Differences in the
Psychological Symptomatology and Coping Strategies of Young
Adolescents," 7 J. Early Adol. 395 (1987) (heavy metal music
is useful to adolescents in purging anger).
Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment (1975); see also
David Blum, "Embracing Fear as Fun To Practice for Reality: Why
People Like to Terrify Themselves," New York Times,
Oct. 30, 1999, p. B11 (many children and adults enjoy horror movies because they
can "experience fear without real danger to themselves" and thereby
"tame its effects on the psyche").
E-mail to Free Expression Policy Project,
Sept. 2, 2002.
Joanne Cantor, "Children's Attraction to Violent Television
Programming"; Clark McCauley, "When Screen Violence is Not
Attractive"; Vicki Goldberg, "Death Takes a Holiday, Sort Of," in
Why We Watch, supra, pp. 113, 149, 28. See also Celia Pearce,
"Beyond Shoot Your Friends: A Call to Arms in the Battle Against
Violence," in Digital Illusion: Entertaining the Future With High
Technology (C. Dodsworth, Jr., ed.) (1998), p. 218 (as actual
violence in society, especially as a form of public entertainment,
has decreased (beheadings, mutiliations, etc.), we have, perhaps,
"evolved to the point where more of our violence is vicarious than
actual"); Norbert Elias & Eric Dunning, Quest for Excitement:
Sport and Leisure in the Civilizing Process (1986) (seeking
pleasurable excitement from violent entertainment is part of the
Gerard Jones, Killing Monsters (2002), pp. 6, 11. Jones
quotes child development specialist Donna Mitroff ("children have a
deep need, an almost physical need, for these archetypes of power
and heroism"), and psychiatrist Lenore Terr (like toy guns in the
pre-electronic era,, fantasy violence is "one of the best tools they
have for dealing with their aggressions").
Id., pp. 73, 54.
Joel Saxe, "Violence in Videogames: What are the Pleasures?" Paper
presented at the Int'l Conference on Violence in the Media, St.
John's University, Oct. 1994, pp. 2, 8, 10 (reprinted in 2(1)
CommOddities - A Journal of Communication and Culture, July
51. Birgitte Holm Sørensen & Carsten Jessen, "It Isn't Real: Children,
Computer Games, Violence and Reality," in Children in the New
Media Landscape (C. Von Feilitzen & U. Carlsson, eds.) (2000),
pp. 119-21. Similarly, David Buckingham reports that children often
describe horror films "as ‘unrealistic' and even as laughable ...
Many [are] keen to draw attention to the liberal use of ‘tomato
ketchup' and ‘make-up.'" Alissa Quart, "Child's Play," Lingua
Franca, Oct. 2001, p. 55.
E.g., J.C. Herz, Joystick Nation (1997); John Tierney, "Here
Come the Alpha Pups," New York Times Magazine, Aug. 5, 2001,
53. Saxe, supra, p. 11.
Goldstein, "Does Playing Violent Video Games Cause Aggressive Behavior?" supra, p. 7.
55. Sørensen & Jessen, supra, p. 120.
E-mail to Free Expression Policy Project, Sept. 12, 2002.
E-mail to Free Expression Policy Project, Aug. 15, 2002.
Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (1981), pp. 22-23.