Psychology: the Affects of Violent Video Games

Gavin Hoy PY102 Prof. Martin The Affects of Violent Video Games Video games haven’t been around for long, but they are heavily impacting the youth of America. As the years go by, video games become more realistic, and more violent. The first video game was bouncing a ball in between two paddles, which hardly seems amusing, couldn’t possibly have a violent effect on a child. Today, games have blood, decapitations, and guns and weapons all that look real and make the child feel like a real police officer, or a real criminal, or whichever character they are in that particular game.

Research suggests that violent video games make children more aggressive, and violent in everyday situations. Also, children are likely to use one of their characters in a video game as a role model for them, and try to be like he or she while reenacting what their character does in the game. This article interests me because as a kid, I was allowed any video game I desired, and turns out I am no more aggressive then a bus driver.

This paper will present two different articles that say I should be aggressive and try to reenact video games. The first article I read about violent video games was: “I wish I were a warrior: The role of wishful identification in the effects of violent video games on aggression in adolescent boys” by Brad Bushman. Bushman states that boys, when trying to figure out their own identity, tend to take shape of those identities in their video games (e. g. superhero police officer or a hero of some sort) Bushman also explains that the children with lower education are the ones who will express more aggression and violence in everyday life after playing a violent video game. (Bushman “I wish.. ”). Bushman confirmed his hypothesis: “violent video games are especially likely to increase aggression when players identify with violent game characters” meaning, if a child plays a violent video game, they are likely to take on the traits of that main character, including the violence.

Bushman let 112 boys around 15 years of age play four different types of video games. Violent-realistic, violent fantasy, nonviolent-realistic, and nonviolent fantasy. The boys, after playing one of the games, were then set up with a partner of the same sex and started a “competitive reaction time task” (Bushman “I wish…”), the task was to push a button, when told to do so, as fast as they could, the boy who lost would receive a blast of noise through their headphones.

Each boy chose their partners punishment level for not winning the task, they set the level of noise their partner would receive if he lost. Of 25 trials with the reaction time task, 12 boys who played violent video games gave their partner a level 10 noise blast, even though the boys knew a level 10 will damage their hearing, one boy was quoted saying “I blasted him with Level 10 noise because he deserved it. I know he can get hearing damage, but I don’t care! (Bushman “I wish…”). So, the boys who played violent video games expressed a great deal more aggression towards their partner in the reaction time task, which confirms Bushman’s hypothesis. Out of the boys who played to nonviolent video games, they did not give their partner a high noise blast, which demonstrates low levels of aggression. I personally did not like this article, the results were hard to interpret and statistics were irrelevant to my purpose for reading the article.

I think the article could be a quarter of the size it is and still be effective. The article uses too many abbreviations it expects the reader to 1) understand, and 2) remember once they were told about them. I think the article provided little information where it counted (e. g. statistics that matter, not the decibel level of the noise blasts (irrelevant)). This article should be revised, restructured, and scaled down for future psychology students.

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