The effects of video games and aggression
1) Experimental studies- experimental studies in the laboratory have demonstrated short term increases in levels of physiological arousal, hostile feelings and aggressive behaviour following sessions of violent game play compared to sessions of non-violent game play. Arousal tends to be measured by blood pressure, heart rate and hostile feelings.
2) Correlation studies- Use surveys that identify patterns of video game use and of aggressive feelings and behaviour. A study by Gentile and Anderson (2003), involving over 600 adolescents, found that time spent playing violent video games was associated with aggressive feelings, arguments with teachers and a greater incidence of physical fights. Even children with lower levels of trait hostility (i.e those who are less aggressive as a personality trait) wgo spent more time playing violent video games, were more likely to get into physical fights than children with high levels of trait hostility who played fewer violent games.
3) Longitudinal studies- where a group of individuals are followed over time after exposure to a particular stimulus , have become very influential in the study of media effects. Children who had high exposure to violent video games became more verbally and physically aggressive and less prosocial. This study suggests that repeated exposure to violent video games not only increases aggressive behaviour, but also decreases prosocial helpful behaviours.
4) Meta-analyses on the video games and aggression link- Meta-analyses are a useful way of getting an overview of an area of enquiry because they review many different studies, looking for trends that are common across all the studies. Several meta-analyses have found a consistent link between violent game play and aggressive behaviour.
Explanations of the video games and aggression link-