Reverse causality? Omitted variable?

by Dr. Doug Klein (2016-08-09)

I have an alternate (untested) hypothesis. The direction of causality may be the reverse. The article suggests than gaming improves educational outcomes, and social media use lowers them. Perhaps students better at reading, math, and in general, critical thinking while simultaneously not being consumed by social interactions, find playing online games interesting and rewarding. Call this group “nerds.” By contrast, students who are bored with school, not curious, and highly engaged with their peers find satisfaction and reward by immersing themselves in social media.  Call this group “slackers.”

This is clearly over-simplification, but does suggest an avenue by which students with the motivation and skill to do well in school might also engage in online gaming, while social butterflies with less interest in school flock to social media. Is there an omitted variable, “personality type,” that explains both preferred computer use (gaming vs. social media) and educational success?

ISSN: 1932-8036