Sunday, December 09, 2012

Do Violent Video Games Make Violent People?

Violent Video Games Stress People Out and Make Them More Aggressive

Youssef Hasan, Laurent Bègue & Brad Bushman
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

It is well known that violent video games increase aggression, and that stress increases aggression. Many violent video games can be stressful because enemies are trying to kill players. The present study investigates whether violent games increase aggression by inducing stress in players. Stress was measured using cardiac coherence, defined as the synchronization of the rhythm of breathing to the rhythm of the heart. We predicted that cardiac coherence would mediate the link between exposure to violent video games and subsequent aggression. Specifically, we predicted that playing a violent video game would decrease cardiac coherence, and that cardiac coherence, in turn, would correlate negatively with aggression. Participants (N = 77) played a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 min. Cardiac coherence was measured before and during game play. After game play, participants had the opportunity to blast a confederate with loud noise through headphones during a reaction time task. The intensity and duration of noise blasts given to the confederate was used to measure aggression. As expected, violent video game players had lower cardiac coherence levels and higher aggression levels than did nonviolent game players. Cardiac coherence, in turn, was negatively related to aggression. This research offers another possible reason why violent games can increase aggression — by inducing stress. Cardiac coherence can be a useful tool to measure stress induced by violent video games. Cardiac coherence has several desirable methodological features as well: it is noninvasive, stable against environmental disturbances, relatively inexpensive, not subject to demand characteristics, and easy to use.


The More You Play, The More Aggressive You Become: A Long-Term Experimental Study of Cumulative Violent Video Game Effects on Hostile Expectations and Aggressive Behavior

Youssef Hassan et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

It is well established that violent video games increase aggression. There is stronger evidence of short-term violent video game effects than of long-term effects. The present experiment tests the cumulative long-term effects of violent video games on hostile expectations and aggressive behavior over three consecutive days. Participants (N = 70) played violent or nonviolent video games 20 minutes a day for three consecutive days. After gameplay, participants could blast a confederate with loud unpleasant noise through headphones (the aggression measure). As a potential causal mechanism, we measured hostile expectations. Participants read ambiguous story stems about potential interpersonal conflicts, and listed what they thought the main characters would do or say, think, and feel as the story continued. As expected, aggressive behavior and hostile expectations increased over days for violent game players, but not for nonviolent video game players, and the increase in aggressive behavior was partially due to hostile expectations.

Nod to Kevin Lewis


Durf said...

"It is well known..."
"It is well established..."

Jeez talk about assuming your conclusions. This guy is a hack.

Ryan said...

This appears to BA an undated version of one odor the papers:

The "it is well known" does get a citation, in this case to what is described as a meta-analysis (which I didn't poke through).

I was surprised that it was well-established, but I'm interested to read the meta-analysis. This may be one of those unsexy facts that people don't like to think about because they're firmly asserted (probably ahead of the evidence) by the wrong kind of people.

Tom said...

...and we go on to his Second sentence: "Many violent video games can be stressful because enemies are trying to kill players" Where the F**k does this guy find games where the players are in actual danger?!? Or is Youssef so dense that he doesn't understand that the players of the average "violent" game are all well aware that they are Just Playing a Damn Game!

Jacob Honeywells said...

Violent video games have a negative effect to kids as well as to adults. For this reason, you should avoid violent video game addiction and choose the educational video games for your kids.

Jimmy Jarred said...

Yes violent video games have adverse affect on kids. Playing such kind of games changes the behavior of kids and make them aggressive. Parents should take care of their kids and try to stop them from playing such of kind of games.