115 Chris Ferguson - Violence in Video Games

A few weeks ago, we had on researcher Brad Bushman to talk about guns and the link to aggression. He cited some really interesting meta analyses specifically linking playing video games as little as 20 minutes and showing resulting increased aggression. A number of listeners suggested an alternative view from another scientist. Enter Chris Ferguson, an associate professor of psychology at Stetson University. His research focuses on media violence, specifically video game violence. He was recent named a fellow of the American Psychological Association and has published and written extensively on the topic. He asserts a very different view of the literature than Dr. Bushman, particularly the meta analyses. He paints a much cloudier picture lacking any scientific consensus and what he consider errors in analysis and conclusions.

Bushman’s piece asserting link

Ferguson Research Page

His opinion piece in Time on violence in video games

Paper on similar topic

Science in the News:

Bacteria isolate cheaters

114 Mark Schatzker - The Dorito Effect

Tis the season for holiday parties and holiday foods. It’s a time of year that we enjoy indulging in our culinary options. But what draws us to certain foods? Why if we’re just seeking out sugar or fat is a spoonful of sugar itself not satisfying? Butter is really good on toast, but who ever just eats a mouthful. So what is it about the combination of sugar, fat, and other ingredients that make food so delectable?

This week, we chat with Mark Schatzker, an award winning food journalist and author of the Dorito Effect - the surprising new truth about food and flavor. Mark has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and numerous others. He’s a radio columnist for the CBC.

In the book, he discusses the fact that agricultural processes have made certain produce and chickens less palatable and interesting (bland), we’ve also engineered food to be more flavorful artificially. Schatzker wonders how flavor influences our food choices and how it has fundamentally changed in the last 50 years, which may have resulted in the obesity epidemic.

Science in the News:

Antibiotic colistin resistance in pigs

Radiolab episode on bacterial resistance

Bald’s leechbook (image credit: British Museum)