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Distinguishing Hypotheses From Hyperbole in Studies of Media Violence: A Comment on Markey et al.


In alleging that Bushman et al. (2013) made sensational and unsubstantiated claims, Markey et al. (2015) mistake hypotheses for hyperbole. Moreover, in their effort to show that gun violence in PG-13 movies (for ages 13 and older) is unrelated to trends in population violence, they make unjustified demands on our data, with outcomes that are unconnected to hypothesized effects. Using outcomes in line with our hypotheses, we draw the contrary conclusion that recent trends in gun violence in youth are actually consistent with gun violence trends in PG-13 movies. Nevertheless, because we do not believe those patterns are sufficient to draw causal conclusions, we suggest more adequate tests of the hypothesis that exposure to movie gun violence affects the beliefs and attitudes of youth toward guns.