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The Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior

Essay by review  •  February 8, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,094 Words (9 Pages)  •  3,368 Views

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In recent years, technological advances have introduced many new forms of entertainment, one of the most popular being video games. Since their introduction, professionals and parents have become concerned with the addictive power that video games can have on people, particularly children and adolescents. Today, concern has shifted from the addictive effects of video game playing to the possible effects that they have on players’ aggression levels. As defining aggression as any thoughts or behaviors related with the intention to cause harm. Many scholars have been researching videogames' effects on children. The most popular aspect of videogame research is whether or not games increase aggression.

There are many views as to whether video game violence causes children to behave violently or aggressively. Many children play violent games because that is what most people are playing and they feel that they need to do so as well. Violence is not only in video games but also in all other forms of media. Yet, television and film studies show that aggressive adolescents are more susceptible to media violence than are non-aggressive adolescents (page 1039). However, some who play video games are entranced by the violent aggressive behaviors demonstrated in the games and may even act out behaviors learned from playing them. Now the question being the correlation between violent video games and violent aggressive behavior demonstrated by those who play these games a coincidence or do these games actually enhance these antisocial behaviors?

The study, “Violent Video Games and Hostile Expectations: A Test of the General Aggression Model.” Bushman et al (2002). Has conducted a true experimental design. The goal of this study was to design a General Aggression Model which is the social knowledge structures develop over time in learn processes, such as learning how to perceive, interpret and respond to event in physical and social environment. This model will help to determine whether exposure to media violence, in the form of video games, can temporarily create or increase aggressive behaviors.

The participants were 224 undergraduate students (112 men and 112 women) enrolled in introductory psychology courses. They were randomly assigned to play either a violent or a nonviolent game for 20 minutes. After the task, the participant completed “three ambiguous story stems” (page 1681). Each of these story stems ends with the question “What happens next?” This will measure the participant expectations about the main character aggressive behavior, thoughts and feelings according to the video game.

The result of this study showed that violent video game participants expected more aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors from the main characters in the stories. This result supported the researchers hypothesis.

One limitation was that the sample groups were only focused on undergraduate students in introductory psychology courses, there could be many confounding factor why most psychology student responded to the experiment. Another limitation of the study was that “students received course credit in exchange for their voluntary participation” (page 1681) and there could be a responders’ bias in the sample. A third weak point was “General Aggression Model” in needs of additional research to proved its validity of the design. The strongest aspect of the study was that although the General Aggression Model is difficult to qualified and analysis due to various related research groups but they did used careful measurement for the aggressive responses.

Moreover, another study similar to the previous study, which also uses General Aggression Model, except Carnagey et al’s used three experiments to examined the effects of rewarding, punishing violent action in video games on aggression variables. The First experiment was to examine the effects of reward and punishment in violent video game. The second experiment was to determine whether violent games had some effect to aggressive cognition. The third experiment was to test hypothesis by using a modified violent video game, contained a competitive aspect but was nonviolent, in the control condition (page 884). So, This uses experimental design as well to establish a causal relationship. Moreover, this three experiments factor will be the dependent variable. However, in contrast to, Bushman et al, Carnagey et al used 3x3 factorial experimental design. This is because instead of having one independent variable like the previous study, Carnagey et al used two independent variables (reward/punishment and nonviolent), with each having measurement time of baseline, after video game and during completion of the State Hostility Scale (SHS) and product comprised the condition for reward/ punishment types, whereas, control, appearance focus and social comparison comprised the condition for nonviolent types.

Participants in all three studies were selected randomly from a large group of students who had earlier completed the trait physical aggression subscale of the Aggression Questionnaire and the Video Game Violence Exposure Questionnaire (page 884). They were selected using a non-probability sampling technique and constituted a convenience sample since subject was not randomly selected to participate. They however were randomly assigned to condition of independent variables.

In the first experiment, there were forty- three male and thirty-two female undergraduates. They were instructed to playing the randomly assigned video game given, each were only allow 20 minute playing time, which similar to all the experiments. Moreover, after the game, they were to complete the SHS; rating various feelings using a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) (page 884). Blood pressure and pulse measurements were taken before the task (baseline), during completion of the SHS, and after all tasks were complete.

The result of physiological arousal in first experiment of video game and measurement time interaction was non-significant. This was because the three racing games produced the same levels of arousal indicating no significant rage between these three games. But in the Body-Count Manipulation check showed the results that participants who were rewarded killed more than those who were punished. These result validate (p<.05) in the reward/punish manipulation, whereas, the SHS also display no measurement of physiological arousal were significant.

In the second experiment, there were twenty-nine male and 37 female undergraduates. The procedures were identical to those of experiment 1 except that the SHS was replaced with Word Fragment Task (page 885). This task had validated the measure

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