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Author: Anderson, Craig A.; Carnagey, Nicholas L.; Fanagan, M.; Benjamin Jr., Arlin James; Eubanks, Janie; Valentine, Jeffrey C.
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Year: 2004
Article Title: Violent video games: Specific effects of violent content of aggressive thought and behavior
Journal: Advances in Experimental Social Psychology
Volume: 36
Pages: 199-249
ISBN/ISSN: 0065-2601
Source of Funding: Funding Source Not Stated in Paper
Study Design: Correlational Study
Experimental Study
Publication Type: Journal Article
Age Group: Adulthood (18 yrs & older), Young Adulthood (18-29 yrs)
Abstract: CMCH Abstract for Experiments 1-4: Objective: To assess the short- and long-term effects of violent video game exposure.

Design: Three randomized control trials. Experiment 1: subjects played one of 10 popular video games (50% violent). Previous video game experience self-reported and video games rated by subjects for graphics and violent content post-play. Experiment 2: subjects played one of two games from Exp. 1 matched on various dimensions. Experiment 3: Same as 2, with 2 games added (one non-violent). Video game and TV exposure assessed by questionnaire. One Correlational Study: Cross-sectional study of the association between repeated exposure to violent video games and aggressive behavior/cognitions and personality indicators.

Subjects and Setting: Experiment 1: 130 undergraduates (53.1% female) who refrained from alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine and exercise 12 hours prior to the study. Experiment 2: 190 undergraduates (51% female) selected from the top and bottom thirds of Trait Hostility scale scores. Experiment 3: 214 undergraduates (62.6% female). Correlational Study: 806 students from a large Midwestern university (60.7% female).

Intervention(s): Experiment 2: subjects debriefed that a computer assigned noise blasts.

Outcome Measure(s): Experiment 1: Accessibility of aggressive thoughts measured by a word completion task. Hear rate and blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) assessed during game play and afterwards. Experiment 2: Aggressive behavior assessed as the noise intensity chosen on the Taylor Competitive Reaction Time (CRT) task. Subjects provoked by a random or increasing noise pattern. Blood pressure and heart rate measured throughout. Self-perceived anger and rationale assessed by questionnaire. Experiment 3: Same as 2, but without provocation. Revenge motivation, instrumental aggressive motivation, and physical aggression measured by questionnaire. Correlational Study: Basic personality factors measured by Goldberg's Big Five measure as well as narcissism and emotional susceptibility. Attitudes towards violence and aggression (physical and verbal).

Results: Experiment 1: Violent video game play raised blood pressure during play compared to gradual blood pressure decrease throughout study among non-violent game players [F(2,172) = 5.37, p < 0.01]. No differences in heart rate. Violent game players, produced a higher percentage of aggressive words in the completion task [F(1, 120) = 4.26, p < 0.05], but the rated violence of the game was a strong covariate. Experiment 2: Violent game players receiving random provocation delivered higher noise punishments [F(1, 179) = 5.72, p < 0.02]. Those receiving increasing provocation were unaffected by type of game played. Experienced players reported more revenge (r = 0.21, p < 0.01) and instrumental aggressive motivation (r = 0.15, p < 0.05). Experiment 3: Violent game players set higher punishment levels than nonviolent players [F(1, 195) = 7.17, p < 0.01]. Trait physical aggression was correlated with exposure to media violent and hours spent with electronic entertainment [F(1, 200) = 18.79, p < 0.001 and F(1, 199) = 6.68, p < 0.02 respectively]. Higher violent content provoked more revenge motivations [F(1, 195) = 8.24, p < 0.01]. Correlational Study: Video game violence positively correlated with verbal aggression ( = 0.0182, p < 0.001), mild physical aggression ( = 0.0286, p < 0.001), severe physical aggression ( = 0.0097, p < 0.001), and narcissism ( = 0.159, p < 0.001). Aggreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional susceptibility were negatively associated with video game violence exposure ( = -0.161, = -0.121, and = -0.170, p < 0.001 respectively).

Conclusions: Brief exposure to violent video games increases aggressive behavior compared to nonviolent games. Revenge motives are one way highly hostile people are predisposed to aggression against others. Highly aggressive people seem to be more strongly influenced by violent media exposure. Suggest longitudinal research to more strongly establish long-term effects as well as consider possible positive effects. Center on Media and Child Health

CMCH Abstract for Meta-analysis within paper: Objective: To assess the short- and long-term effects of violent video game exposure.

Data Sources: N/A

Study Selection: Studies with data testing a link between exposure to violent video games and aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, helping behavior, and physiological arousal.

Data Extraction: Samples were analyzed for "weaknesses" according to a predetermined Best Practices.

Data Synthesis: The best practices sample yielded average effect sizes and were generally larger than methodologically weaker samples. Correlational studies yielded larger average effects on aggressive and helping behavior than experimental studies.

Conclusions: Despite the relatively small size of such research, there is considerable correlational and experimental evidence that violent video games increase aggressive behavior and aggression-related variables. Center on Media and Child Health
Keywords: Adults
Blood (Media Content)
Heart Rate
Long Term Effects
Media Diet
Physiological Response
Prosocial Behavior
Short Term Effects
Video Games
Violence (Media Content)



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