Christopher Ferguson

Professor of Psychology

"It may take more muscles to frown than to smile but I am into exercise."

  • PhD, clinical psychology, University of Central Florida
  • MS, developmental psychology, Florida International University
  • BA, psychology, Stetson University


Christopher Ferguson


Christopher Ferguson holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Central Florida. He has clinical experience particularly in working with offender and juvenile justice populations as well as conducting evaluations for child protective services. In 2013 he was awarded a Distinguished Early Career Professional Award from Division 46 (media psychology and technology) of the American Psychological Association. In 2014 he was named a fellow of the American Psychological Association through Division 1 (General Psychology, effective January, 2015). In addition to his academic work he has published a historical mystery novel entitled Suicide Kings, and plays a bit of Pink Floyd-ish sounding music under the band name "Gods of Avalon." He lives in the Orlando area with his wife and young son.

More About Christopher Ferguson

Areas of Expertise

  • Media effects
  • Violence
  • Aggression
  • "Sexy" media
  • Video games
  • Virtual reality
  • "Thin ideal" media

Course Sampling

  • Forensic psychology
  • Video games and society
  • Media and behavior
  • Internship
  • Neuropsychology
  • Introduction to Psychology

  • Video game and other media violence effects
  • Thin-ideal media and body dissatisfaction in girls and women
  • Advertising effects on health eating choices
  • "Sexy" media and sexual behavior
  • Meta-analysis
  • Violent criminal behavior


  • Ferguson, C. J. (2013). Suicide Kings. The Wild Roses Press
  • Carpenter, D. and Ferguson, C. J. The everything parent's guide to dealing with bullies. Avon, Massachusetts: Adams. (2009)
  • Ferguson, C. J. (ed.). Violent crime: Clinical and social implications. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. (2009)

Selected Articles in News/Magazines

Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Ferguson, C.J. (in press). Everything in moderation: Moderate use of screens unassociated with child behavior problems. Psychiatric Quarterly.
  • Ferguson, C.J., Colon-Motas, K., Esser, C., Lanie, C., Purvis, S., & Williams, M. (in press.) The (not so) Evil Within? Agency in video game choice and the impact of violent content. Simulation and Gaming.
  • Decamp, W., & Ferguson, C.J. (in press). The impact of degree of exposure to violent video games, family background, and other factors on youth violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
  • Ferguson, C.J., Nielsen, R.K.L., & Markey, P. (in press). Does sexy media promote teen sex? A meta-analytic and methodological review. Psychiatric Quarterly.
  • Ferguson, C.J., Nielsen, R.K.L., & Maguire, R. (in press). Do older adults hate video games until they play them? A proof-of-conceptstudy. CurrentPsychology.
  • Ferguson, C.J., & Colwell, J. (in press). A meaner, more callous digital world for youth? The relationship between violent digital games, motivation, bullying and civic behavior amongst children. Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
  • Griffiths, M.D., Van Rooij, A., Kardefelt-Winther, D., Starcevic, V., Király, O...Ferguson, et al. (in press). Working towards an international consensus on criteria for assessing Internet Gaming Disorder: A critical commentary on Petry et al (2014). Addiction.
  • Ramos, R., Ferguson, C. J. & Frailing, K. (2016). Violent entertainment and cooperative behavior: Examining media violence effects on cooperation in a primarily Hispanic sample. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 5, 119-132.
  • Roy, A., & Ferguson, C.J. (2016). Competitively versus cooperatively? An analysis of the effect of game play on levels of stress. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 14-20.
  • Merritt, A., LaQuea, R., Cromwell, R., & Ferguson, C.J. (2016). Media managing mood: A look at the possible effects of violent media on affect. Child and Youth Care Forum, 45, 241-258. DOI 10.1007/s10566-015-9328-8
  • Ferguson, C. J., Trigani, B., Pilato, S., Miller, S., Foley, K., & Barr, H. (2015). Violent video games don't increase hostility in teens but they do stress girls out. Psychiatric Quarterly, 87(1), 49-56.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (in press). "Do angry birds make for angry children? A meta-analysis of video game Influences on children's and adolescents' aggression, mental health, prosocial behavior and academic performance."Perspectives on Psychological Science.
  • Ferguson, C.J. (in press). "Does media violence predict societal violence. It depends on what you look at and when." Journal of Communication.
  • Kneer, J., Rieger, D., Ivory, J. D., and Ferguson, C. (2014). "Awareness of risk factors for digital game addiction: Interviewing players and counselors." International Journal Of Mental Health And Addiction, doi:10.1007/s11469-014-9489-y.
  • Ramos, R., Ferguson, C. J. and Frailing, K. (in press). "Violent entertainment and cooperative behavior: Examining media violence effects on cooperation in a primarily Hispanic sample." Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (in press). "Social media, societal changes, and mental health: You can live online wholesale." In C. Markey (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Mental Health (2nd Edition). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
  • Ferguson, C. J., and Negy, C. (in press). "Development of a brief screening questionnaire fo. histrionic personality symptoms." Personality and Individual Differences.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (in press). "Violent video games, mass shootings and the Supreme Court: Lessons for the legal community in the wake of recent free speech cases and mass shootings." New Criminal Law Review.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (in press). "Is Reading 'Banned' Books Associated with Behavior Problems in Young Readers. The Influence of Controversial Young Adult Books on the Psychological Well-Being of Adolescents." Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.
  • Ferguson, C. J., and Ceranoglu, T. A. (in press). "Attention problems and pathological gaming: Resolving the 'chicken and egg' in a prospective analysis." Psychiatric Quarterly.
  • Ferguson, C. J., Contreras, S., and Kilburn, M. (in press). "Advertising and fictional media effects on healthy eating choices in early and later childhood." Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (in press). "The uses and misuses of bivariate correlations: The case of video game violence research." In SAGE Research Methods Cases. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Negy, C., Reig-Ferrer, A., Gaborit, M., and Ferguson, C. (in press). "Psychological homelessness and enculturative stress among U.S. - deported Salvadorans: A Preliminary Study with a Novel Approach." Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.
  • Ferguson, C. J., Olson, C. K., Kutner, L. A., and Warner, D. E. (in press). "Violent video games, catharsis-seeking, bullying and delinquency: A multivariate analysis of effects." Crime and Delinquency.
  • Elson, M., and Ferguson, C. J. (2014). "Gun violence and media effects: Challenges for science and public policy."British Journal of Psychiatry, 203(5), 322-324.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2014). "Is video game violence bad?" The Psychologist, 27(5), 324-327.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2014). "Comment: Why meta-analyses rarely resolve ideological debates." Emotion Review, 6(3), 251-252.
  • Elson, M., and Ferguson, C. J. (2014). "Twenty-five years of research on violence in digital games and aggression: Empirical evidence, perspectives, and a debate gone astray." European Psychologist, 19(1), 33-46.
  • Elson, M., and Ferguson, C. J. (2014). "Does doing media violence research make one aggressive? The ideological rigidity of social cognitive theories of media violence and response to Bushman and Huesmann (2013), Krahé (2013), and Warburton (2013)." European Psychologist19(1), 68-75.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2014). "A way forward for video game violence research: Reply to Hoffman (2014) and Bushman and Pollard-Sacks (2014)." American Psychologist, 69(3), 307-309.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2014). "Action game evidence for experimental effects on aggression and visuospatial cognition: Similarities, differences and one rather foolish question." Frontiers in Psychology.
  • Ferguson, C. J. and Donnellan, M. B. (2014). "Is the association between children's baby video viewing and poor language development robust? A reanalysis of Zimmerman, Christakis, and Meltzoff (2007)."Developmental Psychology, 50(1), 129-137.
  • Donnellan, M. B., and Ferguson, C. J. (2014). "Supersizing effect sizes raises concerns: A reply to Zimmerman."Developmental Psychology, 50(1), 141-142.
  • Ferguson, C. J., Munoz, M. E., Garza, A., and Galindo, M. (2014). "Concurrent and prospective analyses of peer, television and social media influences on body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms and life satisfaction in adolescent girls." Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(1) 1-14.
  • Ferguson, C. J., and Olson, C. K. (2014). "Video game violence use among 'vulnerable' populations: The impact of violent games on delinquency and bullying among children with clinically elevated depression or attention deficit symptoms." Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(1), 127-136.
  • Negy, C., Ferguson, C. J., Galvanovskis, A., and Smither, R. (2013). "Predicting violence: A cross-national study of United States and Mexican young adults." Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 32(1), 54-70.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2013). "A moral panic in progress: Video games and the media." The Criminologist, 38(5), 32-35.
  • Jerabeck, J. M., and Ferguson, C. J. (2013). "The influence of solitary and cooperative violent video game play on aggressive and prosocial behavior." Computers in Human Behavior 29(6), 2573-2578.
  • Ferguson, C. J., Salmond, K., and Modi, K. (2013). "Reality TV predicts both positive and negative outcomes for adolescent girls." Journal of Pediatrics, 162, 1175-1180.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2013). "Violent video games and the Supreme Court: Lessons for the scientific community in the wake of Brown v EMA." American Psychologist, 68(2), 57-74.
  • Rogers, D. L., Kranz, P. L. and Ferguson, C. J. (2013). "A strategy for involving undergraduates in research."Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 11, 55-66.
  • Ferguson, C. J., Ivory, J. D., and Beaver, K. M. (2013). "Genetic, maternal, school, intelligence and media use predictors of adult criminality: A longitudinal test of the catalyst model in adolescence through early adulthood."Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 22(5), 447-460.
  • Hong, J.S., Espelage, D.L., Ferguson, C.J., and Allen-Meares, P. 2013). "Violence prevention and intervention." In G.W. Muschert, S. Henry, N.L. Bracy, and A.A. Peguero (eds.), Responding to school violence: Confronting the Columbine effect (pp. 139-156). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers (invited).
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2013). "'Not in My Class You Don't!': The naive association of video games with aggression as a hindrance to their use in education." In K. Bredl and W. Bösche (Eds.), Serious Games and Virtual Worlds in Education, Professional Development, and Healthcare (pp. 41-58). Herskey, PA: IGI Global.
  • Ferguson, C. J., and Olson, C. K. (2013). "Friends, fun, frustration and fantasy: Child motivations for video game play." Motivation and Emotion, 37(1), 154-164. doi:10.1007/s11031-012-9284-7.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2013). "In the eye of the beholder: Thin-ideal media affects some but not most viewers in a meta-analytic review of body dissatisfaction in women and men." Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2(1), 20-37.
  • Ramos, R. A., Ferguson, C. J., Frailing, K., and Romero-Ramirez, M. (2013). "Comfortably numb or just yet another movie? Media violence exposure does not reduce viewer empathy for victims of real violence among primarily Hispanic viewers." Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2(1), 2-10.
  • Ferguson, C. J. (2013). "Spanking, corporal punishment and negative long-term outcomes: A meta-analytic review of longitudinal studies." Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 196-208. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.11.002.
  • Ferguson, C. J., Garza, A., Jerabeck, J., Ramos, R., and Galindo, M. (2013). "Not worth the fuss after all. Cross-sectional and prospective data on violent video game influences on aggression, visuospatial cognition and mathematics ability in a sample of youth." Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(1), 109-122. doi:10.1007/s10964-012-9803-6.