Violent video games children research paper


Research explains they may not be as destructive as we think.

From these behavioural measures, the first two were previously used in research on the effects of violent video gameplay. To assess variables that have been related to the construct of impulsivity, we used the Brief Sensation Seeking Scale [ 30 ] and the Boredom Propensity Scale [ 31 ] as well as tasks assessing risk taking and delay discounting behaviourally, namely the Balloon Analogue Risk Task [ 32 ] and a Delay-Discounting Task [ 33 ].

To quantify pro-social behaviour, we employed: Interpersonal Reactivity Index [ 34 ] frequently used in research on the effects of violent video gameplay , Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale [ 35 ], Reading the Mind in the Eyes test [ 36 ], Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire [ 37 ] and Richardson Conflict Response Questionnaire [ 38 ]. To assess depressivity and anxiety, which has previously been associated with intense video game playing [ 39 ], we used Beck Depression Inventory [ 40 ] and State Trait Anxiety Inventory [ 41 ].

To characterise executive control function, we used a Stop Signal Task [ 42 ], a Multi-Source Interference Task [ 43 ] and a Task Switching Task [ 44 ] which have all been previously used to assess effects of video gameplay. On the basis of the research question whether violent video game playing enhances aggression and reduces empathy, the focus of the present analysis was on time by group interactions. We conducted these interaction analyses separately, comparing the violent video game group against the active control group GTA vs.

Sims and separately against the passive control group GTA vs. Controls that did not receive any intervention and separately for the potential changes during the intervention period baseline vs. We employed classical frequentist statistics running a repeated-measures ANOVA controlling for the covariates sex and age. Since we collected 52 separate outcome variables and conduced four different tests with each GTA vs. Sims, GTA vs. Controls, crossed with baseline vs.

Setting the alpha value to 0. To account for this multiple testing problem and the associated alpha inflation, we conducted a Bonferroni correction. According to Bonferroni, the critical value for the entire set of n tests is set to an alpha value of 0. Since the Bonferroni correction has sometimes been criticised as overly conservative, we conducted false discovery rate FDR correction [ 45 ].

FDR correction also determines adjusted p -values for each test, however, it controls only for the number of false discoveries in those tests that result in a discovery namely a significant result. Moreover, we tested for group differences at the baseline assessment using independent t -tests, since those may hamper the interpretation of significant interactions between group and time that we were primarily interested in.

Since the frequentist framework does not enable to evaluate whether the observed null effect of the hypothesised interaction is indicative of the absence of a relation between violent video gaming and our dependent variables, the amount of evidence in favour of the null hypothesis has been tested using a Bayesian framework. Within the Bayesian framework both the evidence in favour of the null and the alternative hypothesis are directly computed based on the observed data, giving rise to the possibility of comparing the two.

We conducted Bayesian repeated-measures ANOVAs comparing the model in favour of the null and the model in favour of the alternative hypothesis resulting in a Bayes factor BF using Bayesian Information criteria [ 46 ]. The BF 01 suggests how much more likely the data is to occur under the null hypothesis. However, due to the fact that differences between males and females have been observed in terms of aggression and empathy [ 47 ], we present analyses controlling for sex.

To test whether participants assigned to the violent GTA game show emotional, cognitive and behavioural changes, we present the results of repeated-measure ANOVA time x group interaction analyses separately for GTA vs.

Video Game And Violent Video Games

Sims and GTA vs. Since we conducted separate frequentist tests we expected Neither does any test survive the more lenient FDR correction. In line with the findings from a frequentist approach, the harmonic mean of the Bayesian factor BF 01 is consistently above one but not very far from one.

The evidence in favour of the null hypothesis based on the Bayes factor is not massive, but clearly above 1. Some of the harmonic means are above 1. However, the harmonic mean has been criticised as unstable. Owing to the fact that the sum is dominated by occasional small terms in the likelihood, one may underestimate the actual evidence in favour of the null hypothesis [ 49 ]. To test the sensitivity of the present study to detect relevant effects we computed the effect size that we would have been able to detect.

When accounting for the conservative Bonferroni-corrected p -value of 0. Within the scope of the present study we tested the potential effects of playing the violent video game GTA V for 2 months against an active control group that played the non-violent, rather pro-social life simulation game The Sims 3 and a passive control group. Participants were tested before and after the long-term intervention and at a follow-up appointment 2 months later. Although we used a comprehensive test battery consisting of questionnaires and computerised behavioural tests assessing aggression, impulsivity-related constructs, mood, anxiety, empathy, interpersonal competencies and executive control functions, we did not find relevant negative effects in response to violent video game playing.

Episode 4: Violent Video Games’ Effects On Children

In fact, only three tests of the statistical tests performed showed a significant interaction pattern that would be in line with this hypothesis. Since at least ten significant effects would be expected purely by chance, we conclude that there were no detrimental effects of violent video gameplay. This finding stands in contrast to some experimental studies, in which short-term effects of violent video game exposure have been investigated and where increases in aggressive thoughts and affect as well as decreases in helping behaviour have been observed [ 1 ].

In addition, these short-term effects of video gaming are far from consistent as multiple studies fail to demonstrate or replicate them [ 16 , 17 ]. This may in part be due to problems, that are very prominent in this field of research, namely that the outcome measures of aggression and pro-social behaviour, are poorly standardised, do not easily generalise to real-life behaviour and may have lead to selective reporting of the results [ 3 ]. We tried to address these concerns by including a large set of outcome measures that were mostly inspired by previous studies demonstrating effects of short-term violent video gameplay on aggressive behaviour and thoughts, that we report exhaustively.

Since effects observed only for a few minutes after short sessions of video gaming are not representative of what society at large is actually interested in, namely how habitual violent video gameplay affects behaviour on a more long-term basis, studies employing longer training intervals are highly relevant. Two previous studies have employed longer training intervals. In comparison to a passive control group no changes were observed, neither in aggression-related beliefs, nor in aggressive social interactions assessed by means of two questions.

Participants were compared to a passive control group using the Buss—Perry aggression questionnaire, a questionnaire assessing impulsive or reactive aggression, attitude towards violence, and empathy. The authors only report a limited increase in pro-violent attitude. Unfortunately, this study only assessed posttest measures, which precludes the assessment of actual changes caused by the game intervention. The present study goes beyond these studies by showing that 2 months of violent video gameplay does neither lead to any significant negative effects in a broad assessment battery administered directly after the intervention nor at a follow-up assessment 2 months after the intervention.

The fact that we assessed multiple domains, not finding an effect in any of them, makes the present study the most comprehensive in the field. Our battery included self-report instruments on aggression Buss—Perry aggression questionnaire, State Hostility scale, Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance scale, Moral Disengagement scale, World View Measure and Rosenzweig Picture Frustration test as well as computer-based tests measuring aggressive behaviour such as the delay frustration task and measuring the availability of aggressive words using the word completion test and a lexical decision task.

Moreover, we assessed impulse-related concepts such as sensation seeking, boredom proneness and associated behavioural measures such as the computerised Balloon analogue risk task, and delay discounting.

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Four scales assessing empathy and interpersonal competence scales, including the reading the mind in the eyes test revealed no effects of violent video gameplay. Neither did we find any effects on depressivity Becks depression inventory nor anxiety measured as a state as well as a trait.

This is an important point, since several studies reported higher rates of depressivity and anxiety in populations of habitual video gamers [ 54 , 55 ]. Last but not least, our results revealed also no substantial changes in executive control tasks performance, neither in the Stop signal task, the Multi-source interference task or a Task switching task. Previous studies have shown higher performance of habitual action video gamers in executive tasks such as task switching [ 56 , 57 , 58 ] and another study suggests that training with action video games improves task performance that relates to executive functions [ 59 ], however, these associations were not confirmed by a meta-analysis in the field [ 60 ].

The absence of changes in the stop signal task fits well with previous studies that likewise revealed no difference between in habitual action video gamers and controls in terms of action inhibition [ 61 , 62 ]. Although GTA does not qualify as a classical first-person shooter as most of the previously tested action video games, it is classified as an action-adventure game and shares multiple features with those action video games previously related to increases in executive function, including the need for hand—eye coordination and fast reaction times.

We observed no effects when comparing a baseline and a post-training assessment, nor when focussing on more long-term effects between baseline and a follow-up interval 2 months after the participants stopped training. To our knowledge, the present study employed the most comprehensive test battery spanning a multitude of domains in which changes due to violent video games may have been expected. Therefore the present results provide strong evidence against the frequently debated negative effects of playing violent video games.

This debate has mostly been informed by studies showing short-term effects of violent video games when tests were administered immediately after a short playtime of a few minutes; effects that may in large be caused by short-lived priming effects that vanish after minutes. The presented results will therefore help to communicate a more realistic scientific perspective of the real-life effects of violent video gaming. However, future research is needed to demonstrate the absence of effects of violent video gameplay in children.

Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychol Sci. Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in eastern and western countries: a meta-analytic review.

Affect of Violent Video Games on Children Essays

Psychol Bull. Ferguson CJ. Do angry birds make for angry children? Perspect Psychol Sci. Ferguson CJ, Kilburn J. Much ado about nothing: the misestimation and overinterpretation of violent video game effects in eastern and western nations: comment on Anderson et al. Greitemeyer T, Mugge DO. Video games do affect social outcomes: a meta-analytic review of the effects of violent and prosocial video game play.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Exposure to violent media: The effects of songs with violent lyrics on aggressive thoughts and feelings. J Pers Soc Psychol. The general aggression model: theoretical extensions to violence. Psychol Violence. Violent and non-violent video games produce opposing effects on aggressive and prosocial outcomes. J Exp Soc Psychol. Fight fire with rainbows: The effects of displayed violence, difficulty, and performance in digital games on affect, aggression, and physiological arousal.

Comput Hum Behav. Are digital games perceived as fun or danger? But there is a risk the general public may mistake promotional positions for objective science.

Do Violent Video Games Make Kids More Violent? | Psychology Today

In the APA released its first policy statement linking violent video games to aggression. However, my recent analysis of internal APA documents with criminologist Allen Copenhaver found that the APA ignored inconsistencies and methodological problems in the research data. The APA updated its statement in , but that sparked controversy immediately: More than scholars wrote to the group asking it to stop releasing policy statements altogether.

I and others objected to perceived conflicts of interest and lack of transparency tainting the process. The resulting misunderstandings delay efforts to address mental illness and other issues that are actually related to gun violence. Polly Curtis on the future of journalism — Dundee, Dundee City. Do editors pander to audiences more than they should?

No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour

Courageous Leaders: promoting and supporting diversity in school leadership development — Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Ferguson , Stetson University. Author Christopher J. Ferguson Professor of Psychology, Stetson University. Shortly after Mr. If video games did indeed cause some mass shootings, one might expect such events to be common in Japan or South Korea.

Both countries spend more per capita on video games than the United States, according to Newzoo , and have huge video game communities. Japan is home to video game makers like Nintendo, Sega and Sony, while South Korea has a highly developed competitive video gaming industry. But Japan and South Korea — both of which have very strict laws limiting gun ownership — have among the lowest rates of violent crime in the world , and mass casualty events are quite rare. In some cases, the perpetrators of mass shootings are quite clear about their motivations. On Saturday, a 2,word manifesto appeared online minutes before the shooting in El Paso, Tex.

Law enforcement officials were investigating whether it was written by the shooter.


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They were interviewing the suspect, Patrick Crusius, a year-old white man who lived about a hour drive from the Walmart where the shooting took place. Video games are, however, mentioned in the manifesto. People who commit mass shootings sometimes identify as video gamers, but James Ivory, who studies media and video games at Virginia Tech, cautioned to be aware of the base rate effect. Of course some mass shooters will have played violent video games, he said — video games are ubiquitous in society, especially among men, who are much more likely to commit mass shootings. Ivory explained.

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