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Effects Of Violent Video Games On Subsequent Aggression

by Conor Mulvaney on 04/30/14 07:24:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Effects Of Violent Video Games On Subsequent Aggression

The impact that violent video games have on aggressive behavior is a serious

topic, with implications for video game players and non-players, school teachers, parents,

and all aspects of society as a whole. Over 20 years of work using a variety of research methods has found conclusive evidence that violent video games cause aggressive behavior later in life.( Anderson, Gentile, and Buckley describe the reaction of the games industry to scientific findings that exposure to violent video games and other forms of media violence constitutes a significant risk factor for later aggressive and violent behavior. They argue that society should begin a more productive debate about whether to reduce the high rates of exposure to media violence, and delineate the public policy options that are likely to be most effective)

“I have played many types of violent video games (violent ones included) since I was young and not once have I felt the urge to randomly attack a person on the street.”

“I think the violent content in video games is one of if not the most entertaining part and yet i do not feel the urge to kill anybody. ”

These quotes (paraphrases from an online internet chat room) emphasize the common

misperception that many people in our society have towards the effects that violent video games

have on aggressive behaviors. Evidence of the effects of playing violent video games on subsequent aggression have been mixed, (Ferguson, associate professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University, and Olson studied 377 American children, on average 13 years of age, from various ethnic groups who had clinically elevated attention deficit or depressive symptoms. The children were part of an existing large federally funded project that examines the effect of video game violence on youths). Although the researchers found no association between the playing of violent video games and subsequent increased delinquency criminality or bullying in children with either clinically elevated depressive or attention deficit symptoms.

Their findings were in line with those of a other research reports published in which the occurrence of more general forms of youth violence and bullying were linked with aggressiveness and stress rather than playing violent video games.They also warned that their results could not be generalized to extreme cases such as mass homicides, they strongly advised for a change in general perceptions about the influence of violent video games in our society.

Narrative reviews of research literature, such as that by Dill and Dill (1998), are very useful ways of examining prior studies into violent video games.Typically, the researchers try to find an organizing scheme that makes sense of the varied results that typically occur in any research domain.However,as useful as such reviews of the literature are meta-analyses (studies of studies) are a much more powerful and accurate technique to find more common effects of violent video games across any number of studies.(Playing violent video games increases physiological arousal. Studies measuring the effects of playing violent video games tend to show larger increases in heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to playing non_violent video games(, Gwinup, Haw, and Elias, 1983; Murphy, Alpert and Walker, 1992; Segala and Dietz, 1991)).As games become increasingly more realistic they increase the visual effects that society associate with violent video games and media in general.

Worries about how violence in virtual reality might play out in real life have led legislators to propose everything from taxing violent video games to proposing age restrictions on who can buy them. The inconsistent state of the literature was enough to force President Obama to call for more research into how violent video games may be influencing kids who use them(2013). While there are studies that don’t show a strong influence between violent media and acts of violence, an ever growing body of research does actually support that violent games can make kids act more aggressively in their real-world relationships later in life.


In New Study, Video Games Not Tied to Violence in High-Risk Youth

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor(08/27/2013)

Violent video game effects on children and adolescents: Theory, research, and public policy.Anderson, Craig A.; Gentile, Douglas A.; Buckley, Katherine E.

New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press. (2007).

Media Violence and Children

Douglas A. Gentile

Meta-Analytic Summary Of Violent Video Games Effects

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