Psychology: Completed Projects

Title

Bombs, Bullets, and Bad Guys: Realistic Violence in Video Games

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Experimental Psychology

Minor

Statitistics

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Patrick Cushen, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Video games have rapidly advanced to give gamers a more ‘lifelike’ experience, providing as much realistic details as possible, and are now integrating virtual and augmented reality. Past literature suggests violent video games and increased aggression may be correlated (Anderson & Bushman, 2001), whereas a recent meta-analysis (Ferguson, 2007) argues there is a lack of evidence to support that relationship. The purpose of the current study was to examine if realistic violence in video games can prime aggression. Participants (N = 75) played one of four video games (Tetris, Paintball, Halo, and Battlefield) for 10 minutes and then completed a short word completion task (Anderson, Carnagey, & Eubanks, 2003) aimed at measuring aggressive thought accessibility. A one-way ANOVA failed to identify significant differences between video game groups, F (3, 72) = 1.40, p = .25 on aggressive thought. However, a significant ordinal relationship was identified where participants who played games with more realistic violence also demonstrated more aggressive thought, rs = .24, p = .02 (one-tailed). These results suggest that the amount of violence experienced in a video game may influence not only whether a person is primed for aggression, but also the strength of that priming. These findings may also help to explain the inconsistent results of prior research.

Location

Classroom 210, Waterfield Library

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Affiliations

Psychology: Completed Projects

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Nov 18th, 1:00 PM Nov 18th, 3:30 PM

Bombs, Bullets, and Bad Guys: Realistic Violence in Video Games

Classroom 210, Waterfield Library

Video games have rapidly advanced to give gamers a more ‘lifelike’ experience, providing as much realistic details as possible, and are now integrating virtual and augmented reality. Past literature suggests violent video games and increased aggression may be correlated (Anderson & Bushman, 2001), whereas a recent meta-analysis (Ferguson, 2007) argues there is a lack of evidence to support that relationship. The purpose of the current study was to examine if realistic violence in video games can prime aggression. Participants (N = 75) played one of four video games (Tetris, Paintball, Halo, and Battlefield) for 10 minutes and then completed a short word completion task (Anderson, Carnagey, & Eubanks, 2003) aimed at measuring aggressive thought accessibility. A one-way ANOVA failed to identify significant differences between video game groups, F (3, 72) = 1.40, p = .25 on aggressive thought. However, a significant ordinal relationship was identified where participants who played games with more realistic violence also demonstrated more aggressive thought, rs = .24, p = .02 (one-tailed). These results suggest that the amount of violence experienced in a video game may influence not only whether a person is primed for aggression, but also the strength of that priming. These findings may also help to explain the inconsistent results of prior research.