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Author: Fleming, Michele J.; Rickwood, Debra J.
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Year: 2001
Article Title: Effects of violent versus nonviolent video games on children's arousal, aggressive mood, and positive mood
Journal: Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume: 31
Edition: 10
Issue: 31
Pages: 2047-2071
ISBN/ISSN: 0021-9029
Source of Funding:
Study Design:
Publication Type: Journal Article
Age Group: Childhood (birth-12 yrs), School Age (6-12 yrs)
Abstract: Objective: To examine the relationship between violent video games and children's arousal, aggressive mood, and positive mood.

Design: Cross-over study. Children each played a paper-and-pencil game, nonviolent video game, and violent video game. Outcome measurement questionnaire completed after each game. Demographics and frequency of video game play, and video game content reported by parents.

Subjects and Setting: 71 Australian children ages 8 - 12 attending a public junior school in Canberra. Mean age = 10.5; 49.3% female. Those without parental consent were excluded. 80.3% played video games at least weekly.

Intervention(s): N/A

Outcome Measure(s): Heart rate measured every 4 minutes throughout game play. Survey assessed post-game self-reported arousal, aggressive mood (based on State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory), positive affect, and general mood (Smiley Faces scale).

Results: Boys were generally more experienced with video games than girls (t = - 2.93, p < 0.01). No correlation between children's experience with video games and arousal or heart rate. The violent game was associated with a higher heart rate and self-reported arousal than the paper-and-pencil game and the nonviolent game[F = 4.85, p < 0.05 and F = 5.28, p < 0.05 respectively]. No correlation with game type for aggressive mood and positive affect. General mood was more positive after playing the violent game than after the paper-and-pencil game (p = 0.034)

Conclusions: Playing a violent versus nonviolent video game increased arousal; however it did not result in a more aggressive mood. Results do not support catharsis theory. Suggest future studies examine the extent players identify with certain characters and how they interpret game scripts. Center on Media and Child Health
Keywords: Aggression
Computer Games
Gender Differences
Heart Rate
Media Diet
Social Learning
Video Games
Violence (Media Content)



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