Amazing effect: what if a FPS were live-action? All kinds of NSFW.
Congratulations to Sonia Rivera for winning the MSU Jenn’s Freshman Comp Essay Contest! This essay was voted upon by a classroom of her peers. ~Jenn
Violence and video games; what triggers aggression?
It is without a doubt that the majority of Americans can admit that video games are rapidly consuming the minds and time of the youth in our society. However, the greatest concern, and a recognized, controversial topic is violence and aggression pertaining to video games. Anyone who has ever had a glimpse of one of these throat slashing, gun-cocking, blood drenched video games, is likely probing for insight on the possible causes and effects. Everyone is begging to know: what is the foundation for increased aggression in children?
Over the past fifteen years, the amount of time children and adolescents spend playing video games has increased and continues to do so (Anderson, C.A., Gentile, D.A., & Buckley, K., 2007). Therefore, it is only natural for parents to be alarmed at the budding rate of videogame popularity and its content. Several studies have been conducted to search for positive and negative correlations between violence and video games, yet the most complex thing for several of the studies to prove is violence to be the causality. The most prevalent generalization and or assumption believed by a vast number of people is that violence in video games is the direct cause for aggression in children. Surprisingly, there is fresh information suggesting that, rather than violence itself, competitiveness could be the rooting drive for aggressive conduct.
In 2011, an experiment was performed in which a group of randomly assigned participants was divided into two categories, a control situation and an experimental situation. The experimental group was asked to play a series of four high-violence, low-competitive video games; whereas the control group was asked to play a series of four high-competitive, low-violence video games. The results were measured based on the level of aggression displayed and reported by each of the participants through a questionnaire. The argument for the experiment was based on the notion that video game competition elicits a strong desire to succeed above all others and leads to frustration expressed through aggression. This is also supported by the fact that violent video games have a tendency to be highly competitive which has caused people to associate the violence with aggression. Experimenters found that the participants who had been assigned the low-violence, high-competitive videogames exhibited a significantly higher level of aggression than those who played high-violence, low-competitive games. The suggestion that competitiveness may be the trigger for aggressiveness is a recent breakthrough that helps us to broaden our mindset as far as what is influencing children and adolescents (Adachi, P. J. C., & Willoughby, T., 2011).
Contemplating competition as a leading cause in the increase of children’s levels of aggressiveness, one can easily infer that violence is unlikely to be the source of aggressive behaviors because it does not result in the same levels of violent behavior as competition, according to this study. Certainly, it is common knowledge that violence is not advised nor a positive influence on children and this study does not imply violence to be completely irrelevant. However, rather than generalizing that, violent video games create a violent and aggressive person; this study provides insight that perhaps violence alone cannot have such a strong and detrimental effect on all children. It suggests that there are other causes, such as competitiveness, that can serve as triggers for aggressive behavior.
This study is to this date one of the most remarkable studies because it focuses on competitiveness as a trigger for aggression, isolating as best as possible the element of competition and measuring its effect on the youth. While this study proved competitiveness to be positively correlated to aggression, it is important to seek out the flaws in every argument in order to maintain a valid premise. The results of the experiment were true only for the selected group of participants in this one time study. This lessens the external validity of the findings because it is difficult to generalize the results and apply them to other demographics and situations. One of the reasons we have not yet found a direct cause for aggression related to violent video games is the lack of high validity due to confounding variables in several studies. The 2011 study is certainly noteworthy and a possible gateway to finding the culprit of video game aggression. Concurrently, the hot topic of video games and violence will be handled according to the opinion of each child and adolescent’s parents and whether aggression is due to competitiveness, violence or another factor is still an impending question.
Anderson, C.A., Gentile, D.A., & Buckley, K. (2007). Violent video game effects on children and adolescents: Theory, research, and public policy. New York: Oxford University.
Adachi, P. J. C., & Willoughby, T. (2011). The effect of violent video games on aggression: Is it more than just the violence? Aggression and Violent Behavior. Canada: Brock University.