Anderson and Dill (2000): video games and aggression

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Aim:- Anderson and Dill wanted to see whether people who played violent video games became aggressive.

They conducted a laboratory experiment in which 210 psychology students were split into two groups and asked to play either a violent or non-violent video game for 30 minutes.

The independent variable was the type of video game the participants played.
The dependent variable was the level of aggression shown after playing the game. 

The video games were:

  • Myst, a non-violent fantasy adventure game
  • Wolfenstein 3D, a violent and graphic 'shoot-em up' game.

The participants were told that the study was about the development of motor skills, not that it was a study of aggression, so they would not guess the aim of the study.

Each participant was placed in a cubicle and told to play a video game against an opponent who was in another cubicle. In fact there was no opponent, the cubicle was empty.

After 15 minutes playing time, they were asked to begin a competitive game with the opponent, involving a reaction test. The person who pressed the button fastest would be able to give the opponent the punishment of a blast of loud noise. The winner would be able to set the volume and duration of the noise inflicted on their opponent.

Once the study was over, an experimenter entered the cubicle and fully debriefed participants and answered any questions they might have.

They found…


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