Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Violent video games: More playing time equals more aggression

Date:
December 10, 2012
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
A new study provides the first experimental evidence that the negative effects of playing violent video games can accumulate over time.

A new study provides the first experimental evidence that the negative effects of playing violent video games can accumulate over time.
Credit: © tomispin / Fotolia

A new study provides the first experimental evidence that the negative effects of playing violent video games can accumulate over time.

Related Articles


Researchers found that people who played a violent video game for three consecutive days showed increases in aggressive behavior and hostile expectations each day they played. Meanwhile, those who played nonviolent games showed no meaningful changes in aggression or hostile expectations over that period.

Although other experimental studies have shown that a single session of playing a violent video game increased short-term aggression, this is the first to show longer-term effects, said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

"It's important to know the long-term causal effects of violent video games, because so many young people regularly play these games," Bushman said.

"Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes. A single cigarette won't cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression."

Bushman conducted the study with Youssef Hasan and Laurent Bθgue of the University Pierre Mendθs-France, in Grenoble, France, and Michael Scharkow of the University of Hohenheim in Germany.

Their results are published online in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and will appear in a future print edition.

The study involved 70 French university students who were told they would be participating in a three-day study of the effects of brightness of video games on visual perception.

They were then assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 minutes on each of three consecutive days.

Those assigned the violent games played Condemned 2, Call of Duty 4 and then The Club on consecutive days (in a random order). Those assigned the nonviolent games played S3K Superbike, Dirt2 and Pure (in a random order).

After playing the game each day, participants took part in an exercise that measured their hostile expectations. They were given the beginning of a story, and then asked to list 20 things that the main character will do or say as the story unfolds. For example, in one story another driver crashes into the back of the main character's car, causing significant damage. The researchers counted how many times the participants listed violent or aggressive actions and words that might occur.

Students in the study then participated in a competitive reaction time task, which is used to measure aggression. Each student was told that he or she would compete against an unseen opponent in a 25-trial computer game in which the object was to be the first to respond to a visual cue on the computer screen.

The loser of each trial would receive a blast of unpleasant noise through headphones, and the winner would decide how loud and long the blast would be. The noise blasts were a mixture of several sounds that most people find unpleasant (such as fingernails on a chalk board, dentist drills, and sirens). In actuality, there was no opponent and the participants were told they won about half the trials.)

The results showed that, after each day, those who played the violent games had an increase in their hostile expectations. In other words, after reading the beginning of the stories, they were more likely to think that the characters would react with aggression or violence.

"People who have a steady diet of playing these violent games may come to see the world as a hostile and violent place," Bushman said. "These results suggest there could be a cumulative effect."

This may help explain why players of the violent games also grew more aggressive day by day, agreeing to give their opponents longer and louder noise blasts through the headphones.

"Hostile expectations are probably not the only reason that players of violent games are more aggressive, but our study suggests it is certainly one important factor," Bushman said.

"After playing a violent video game, we found that people expect others to behave aggressively. That expectation may make them more defensive and more likely to respond with aggression themselves, as we saw in this study and in other studies we have conducted."

Students who played the nonviolent games showed no changes in either their hostile expectations or their aggression, Bushman noted.

He said it is impossible to know for sure how much aggression may increase for those who play video games for months or years, as many people do.

"We would know more if we could test players for longer periods of time, but that isn't practical or ethical," he said.

"I would expect that the increase in aggression would accumulate for more than three days. It may eventually level off. However, there is no theoretical reason to think that aggression would decrease over time, as long as players are still playing the violent games," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Youssef Hasan, Laurent Bθgue, Michael Scharkow, Brad J. Bushman. 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. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2013; 49 (2): 224 DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.10.016

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Violent video games: More playing time equals more aggression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210101344.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2012, December 10). Violent video games: More playing time equals more aggression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210101344.htm
Ohio State University. "Violent video games: More playing time equals more aggression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210101344.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jaguar Unveils 360° Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Jaguar Unveils 360° Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) — Jaguar unveils a virtual 360 degree windshield that may be the most futuristic automotive development yet. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
BlackBerry Launches Classic Smartphone

BlackBerry Launches Classic Smartphone

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) — BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new smartphone called the Classic, featuring a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones - and most smartphone customers - have embraced touch screens. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future of Work, Skills & Careers in a Digital World-Dr. Tracy Wilen

The Future of Work, Skills & Careers in a Digital World-Dr. Tracy Wilen

Working Mother (Dec. 16, 2014) — 2014 Worklife Congress Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins