Discuss the effect of video games on social behaviour

- Research into the effects of video games on aggressive/anti-social behaviour with methodological AO2

- Desensitisation (+ AO2 from Carnagey et al)

- Bi-directional model

for AQA A PSYA4 - Section B (Media Psychology)

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  • Created by: jb1995
  • Created on: 16-01-13 20:23
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"Discuss the effects of video games on social behaviour"
AO1 ­ Video Games and Aggression
Since the introduction of video games in the 1990's, there has been a
controversial link between the use of video games and subsequent
violent behaviour in those who play.
Real life examples of this are the Columbine Shootings in 1999, and the
Oslo Massacre in 2011 carried out by Anders Breivik ­ who stated that
he used the video game `Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' to carry out
his "training" for the attacks.
AO1/AO2 ­ Research evidence of link between video games and
Psychological research has also provided evidence to support this link
between video games and aggression.
For example, Anderson and Dill conducted a lab experiment in 1999 in
which participants were offered to `blast' their opponents with white
noise after playing either a violent `shooter' game or a slow-paced
puzzle game. They had also rated themselves on the State Hostility
Scale after playing the video game.
It was found that participants who had played the violent game blasted
their opponents for a significantly longer time than those who had
played the other game, and had also rated themselves higher on the
State Hostility Scale.
However, one problem with Anderson and Dill's study is that it was a
lab experiment. For example, it involved a highly controlled and
artificial environment and a highly artificial task that participants
were asked to complete. Playing a video game and then rating yourself
on a hostility scale is not typical of a task you would be asked to
complete in every day life. Therefore, the findings of this study may
lack ecological validity and mundane realism ­ leading to low external
Another problem with this study is that it used an independent
measures design. This is a problem because individual differences
between participants in the conditions may have affected results, and
so there is a lack of objectivity. Therefore, findings cannot be
generalised due to the subjective nature of the research.
A meta analysis of 380 studies into the effect of video games on
behaviour by Bushman et al in 2000 found that playing video games

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Bushman found that in longitudinal studies, those who had played
violent video games over a long period of time were generally more
aggressive and violent individuals.
In some smaller studies, it was found that playing violent video games
makes people less sensitive towards the negative aspects of violent
(thus supporting the desensitisation theory).
However, one problem with Bushman's study is the use of the meta
analysis.…read more

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This is empirical evidence to support the theory of desensitisation, as
the expected, natural reaction to seeing real life shocking violence is an
increased heart rate.
However, Carnagey's findings may not be fully valid as the findings are
based on a correlational relationship - NOT a causal relationship. For
example, extraneous variables (such as individual differences etc) were
not accounted for, therefore questioning whether we can establish a
cause and effect relationship or not.…read more


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