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Violent Game Paper


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Over the last few decades, technology has been booming especially in the video game industry. As time goes by, some video games have tried to make the gaming experience as real as possible only limited by the current standards of graphics and sounds. Controversy arises when games are programmed in which the player experiences violence within the game. This has been a topic of concern since the late seventies but has had recent attention after two teenagers, who played violent games, murdered many people at their Colorado High School. The real issue being addressed is whether or not these video games deemed violent caused this aggressive behavior.

All the articles I found supported the notion that violent video games were positively related to similar behavior. Anderson and Dill (2000) conducted two studies in which the violent video games affect aggression-related variables. The first study found that real-life violent video game play was positively correlated to aggressive behavior. The second study was a laboratory exposure to a violent video game and how it increased aggressive thoughts and behavior. This study was sparked by the assault on Columbine High School in which two teens murdered 13 people before killing themselves. The teens had reportedly played the violent game Doom in which they had programmed their own version with unlimited ammo and the enemy couldn’t fight back (Anderson & Dill, 2000). The General Affective Aggression Model (GAAM) was used in this study to explain the aggression that came from violent video games. This model relies heavily on Bandura’s social learning theory in which input variables, personalogical and situational, influence the internal state of the person (Anderson & Dill, 2000). Even though there is no empirical evidence that playing violent video games increases the accessibility of aggressive thoughts, situational input variables influence accessibility of aggression-related knowledge structures. For instance, when a personal is hurt by someone they may think of a way to hurt the person back.

Other research has used social learning theory to explain the aggression that comes from playing violent video games. Bensley and Eenwyk (2001) also mentioned the recent school shootings and how video games may have been a contributing factor. The authors also suggest that arousal theory, cognitive priming theory, catharsis theory, and GAAM theory are also involved. Bensley took previous research and identified relevant studies to fit their criteria for aggression caused by video games. They assessed all aspects of the chosen studies by the type of participants, design used, video game variable, and types of aggression measures. The participants were separated into three groups based upon what age of schooling they were in, and controlled for aggression by categorizing behavioral observations. Three of the four studies found that aggressive play immediately followed the facilitation of violent video games in which their preference of play was similar to context of the stimulus. They found mixed results in their findings for their high school group. The college age group only had two out of six in which violent behavior followed the video games.

A study by Anderson and Bushman (2001) wanted to assess the previous work that had been done in this filed. This was important because there is a very little amount of research done on violence in video games but the findings are significant, even though the video-game industry denies this (Anderson and Bushman, 2001). Anderson and Bushman found 35 research articles in PsychInfo and coded for the appropriate data that would give them an ample sample size to denote meta-analytic procedures. Fisher Z was conducted and a 95% confidence interval was obtained to put into the Statistical Analysis System (SAS). They found that across 33 independent tests of video-game violence and aggression, involving 3,033 participants, the average effect size was positive and significant, r+=.19^2. Video game violence was associated with heightened aggression.

Barthlow and Anderson (2002) also viewed the effects of violent video games and aggression but focused on what other articles had only hardly researched. They directed their study to the potential sex differences associated with violent behavior from video games. They used 43 undergraduates in which there were 22 men and 21 women. They were randomly assigned to play a violent fighting game or a golf game and then competed with a confederate. Their aggression levels were measured by the punishment levels the participants used. The exact methods were not presented but their hypothesis was confirmed that violent video games would result in more aggression than would a nonviolent game and was found more prominent in men than in women.

While most of the articles on this topic confirm that video game violence can causes aggression, we are still at the tip of the iceberg for the problem at hand. The real issue is whether or not violent video games actually cause violent and aggressive acts. This are of concern has been focused on children and young adults, but the research has shown that only pre-teenagers are significantly affected. The argument to society arose after teenagers, not children, committed truly violent acts after being advocates for violent games. The standard for violence in video games has been here since the first introduction of Pac-Man and since then we have been studying the effects of these computerized deities on the human brain. The most obvious limitation to this field is the lack of published experimental studies and individual differences between subjects are hard to assess. I would prefer to use a more current study in which would assess youngsters with the most current games. A lot of the current studies only reviewed past literature instead of actively engaging new participants. The articles I found merely took old articles and coded them to today’s standards. The video game industry leaps ahead year by year by staying current with today’s technology and research should do the same.


Kirsh, S. J. (2001). The effects of violent video games on adolescents: The overlooked

Influence of development. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 8, 377-389.

Anderson, C. A. & Bartholow, B. D. (2002). Effects of violent games on aggressive behavior: Potential sex differences. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 283-290.

Bensley, L. (2001). Video games and real-life aggression: review of the literature. Journal of adolescent Health, 29, 244-290.

Anderson, C. A. & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior. Psychological Science, 12, 353-368.

Anderson, C. A. & Dill, K. E. (2003). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 772-790.


this doesnt look nearly as nice than when its in MSword, but i htought the topic was interesting

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For instance, when a personal is hurt by someone they may think of a way to hurt the person back.


Nice work.

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I'll make my well reasoned response after I eat lunch.

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I'll make my well reasoned response after I eat lunch.

yeah, i actually didnt get a good grade on this. made my 3rd C in college becasue of this paper, which kinda sucks. i was playing WAY too much tactical ops last semester. dont be too hard on me guys, this was a requied assignment and honestly, i really wasnt that interested in doing it.

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First, let me say that I can't make my position as eloquently as I would like because I don't have access to the sited studies. I won't argue the point that violent video games, or violent games of any sort can be positivey linked to aggressive behavior. I think you can make that statement for any behavior. For example, if a heterosexual were to be subjected to homosexual literature or films for a prolonged period of time the tendency toward that behavior would increase. Or at least the occurrence of homoerotic thoughts or dreams would become less infrequent. Along with that supposition, one needs to factor in the socio-psycological development of the subjects. As mental age and self-awareness increase, mimicry decreases. A child of pre-pubescent years will, instinctively, role play various movies, cartoons, etc. that they have been witness to, be it violent or not.

Another factor that must be utilized in the analysis is the role that the media plays in determining the significance of events such as Columbine. Those instances are exceedingly rare but receive extraordinary coverage from the press. This, in turn, stimulates an individual who would be predisposed toward violent behavior, which is another determining factor in whether the violent video games produce the aggressive behavior. One more factor to consider which relates specifically to Columbine, but generally can apply anywhere, is the environment in which the individual(s) currently reside and/or were raised.

So, instead of asking the question "Do violent video games cause violent behavior?", let's ask the question of what brings an individual to the point where a video game would be the ignition for a conflagration of violence. I propose that, although the game may play a role, it is not the deciding factor. In fact, it may be the weakest link in the chain of violence. Factors such as mental acumen, self-awareness, media hype, social environment, nuclear family status and mental illness play a much larger role in the tendency toward aggressive behavior.

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I eat well:). Hey, it must be Karma but I posted something on violence and video games in the news section. In case you don't want to read that, you can just go straight to a good discussion at this link:


The responses to the editors comments are good. My stance is stop blaming the games. It's the same as saying guns kill people. They are merely a tool, it's the person weilding the tool that kills.

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Another factor that must be utilized in the analysis is the role that the media plays in determining the significance of events such as Columbine. Those instances are exceedingly rare but receive extraordinary coverage from the press.

This is a very good point! However, these psychology studies are hardly ever aimed at fixing the problem, just the human behavior. One reason the question at habd is so general (violent games casue violent behavior" is because when you get into deciding when that limit is too far for an individual, and they will now perform an aggressive act, is super hard to assess. Even in the articles I reviewed, the current studies meerley used old articles to pull thier data from.(this is wrong! when you are dealing with such a fast moving industry as one today)

when you get into being specific you are not only messing with the validity inside how the experiment is run itself, but those specifics require a very precise need for a good subject pool, in which its hard enough to correlate standard personality assesments with almost anything........more on this later

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