Media influences: Effects of computer games

  • The effect of computer games on aggression:
  • Studies are experimental, correlational and/or longitudinal:
  • Exerimental studies - lab studies of short-term effects of computer games can demonstrate cause-and-effect.
  • Correlational studies - can investigate real-life variables and are usually short term.
  • Longitudinal studies - correlational studies conducted over a period of time looking at long-term effects.
  • Meta-analyses - bring together a variety of studies to give a judgement of size of the effect of violent media on aggression.
  • Experiment: Violent computer games caused greater aggression:
  • Bartholow and Anderson's participants played a violent or non-violent computer game for 10 minutes - then carried out the Taylor Competitive Reaction Time Task, a standard lab measure of aggression (choosing volume of noise blasts).
  • This who played the violent game selcted significantly higher noise levels comapred with non-violent players. 
  • Correlation: Positive correlation between aggression and violent computer-game-playing:
  • DeLisi et al stuidied 227 juvinile offenders with histories of serious aggressive behaviours. Structured interviews used to gather data on aggression and violent computer-game-playing. Aggressive behaviour was positively correlated wit how often they played violent games and how much they enjoyed them. Researchers claim the link is so well-established that comuter game violence should be considered a signifcant risk factor. 
  • Longitudinal: Can predict aggression in adulthood: 
  • Robertson et al studied 1037 people born in New Zealand, measuring their TV viewing hours (all types of programmes) at regualr intervals up the the age of 26 years. Time spent watching TV was a reliable predictor of aggressive behaviour in adulthood (convictions for aggressive and violent crimes) and diagnosis of antisocial personality dosorder. The most important medi-related factor in influencing aggressive behaviour may be the amount of TV watched rather than whether it has violent content or not. 
  • Meta-analysis:

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