Vidoe Games Essay Research Paper In recent

Vidoe Games Essay, Research Paper In recent years, technological advances have introduced many new forms of entertainment, one of the most popular being video games. Since their introduction, professionals and parents have become concerned with the addictive power that video games can have on people, particularly children and adolescents.

Vidoe Games Essay, Research Paper

In recent years, technological advances have introduced many new forms of entertainment, one of the most popular being video games. Since their introduction, professionals and parents have become concerned with the addictive power that video games can have on people, particularly children and adolescents.

Today, concern has shifted from the addictive effects of video game playing to the possible effects that they have on players? aggression levels. C. Braun and J. Giroux (1989) determined that the most popular category of video games is the war-type game. These are usually the most violent games, as most of them involve destroying objects and other people. This destruction can range from one-on-one combat to mass annihilation of other humans or creatures. In 1982, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop (Orlofsky, 1982) stated that video games could encourage children to mimic the violence displayed on the screen, and that these games may have adverse physical and mental effects on teenagers. Ever since Koop?s warning, parents have become increasingly concerned about the video games their children play.

Defining aggression has been a problem across many previous studies. An interesting approach was used by Edmunds and Kendrick (1980) which classifies aggression into two categories: aggression (general overt and direct behavior,) and aggressiveness (typically represented by hostile feelings). A more refined approach is used by the Buss-Durkee Inventory (1957) which has seven major subscales: Assault, Indirect Hostility, Irritability, Negativism, Resentment, Suspicion, and Verbal Hostility. One of the most common personality assessment instruments used to examine the personality dimensions in these studies is the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ; Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975) which consists of four scales: E (introversion-extraversion), N (stability-instability), P (tough-mindedness), and L (social desirability/ lie scale). Because most research into television violence does demonstrate a relationship between the exposure to aggression and later aggressive behavior, it is generally theorized that exposure to aggressive video games will produce a similar relationship.

In this paper, the effects of video game playing on personality and behavior are examined in respect to postgame aggressive tendencies and behavior. It is hypothesized that playing aggressive video games will lead to an increase in post-game aggression and/or aggressive tendencies. Two previous studies will be presented, and their results will help evaluate if video game playing causes people to become more aggressive. Although important, the addictive properties of the video games will not be discussed. Since some of the studies cover gender differences but others do not, gender will not play a major role in this paper as well.

STUDY 1 G. Kestenbaum and L. Weinstein (1985) studied the relationship of heavy video game use in adolescent male subjects to personality and psycho-pathological factors. They hypothesized that video game playing is positive in the sense that it releases pent-up aggressive energies. They felt that after playing a video game, adolecents should feel more relaxed, having invested so much energy, whereas those who never, or rarely play video games would not. They also hypothesized that video games are particularly suited to low frustration tolerance adolescents because of video games? nature of immediate feedback. (As opposed to discharging aggression through sports, for example, in which the results are delayed from one?s particular effort.) Video games also protect the adolescent from ridicule, or social stress factors since they can play by themselves and not be subject to external judgement. It was therefore hypothesized that they would not report a greater general interest in sports than other adolescents.

Kestenbaum and Weinstein also gave a self-report questionnaire to 447 junior high school students from an urban, middle-class neighborhood. The questionnaire consisted of general demographic information, 30 questions pertaining to video game use, and 30 general personality questions. They also required each participant to complete Eysenck?s (1958) short-form extroversion and neuroticism scales, and Singer and Antrobus? (1970) acceptance of daydreaming scales, as measures of psycho-pathology, social introversion, and tendencies toward fantasy escapism. Some of the questions were aimed toward different content areas, such as the discharge nature of the games. A typical response was, “I like to play video games when I am ?wound up? or tense.” Questions were also directed toward competitiveness. For example, “How much do you like playing video games with others when not competing?… When competing?” Frustration tolerance questions resulted in replies such as, “I am annoyed by people who get in my way,” and “Trying to learn something new can be very uncomfortable if you?re not good at it.” Some questions were aimed to discover possible Oedipal difficulties. A typical question for this was, “How do you usually feel after you?ve beaten your father at a video game: proud-guilty, good-bad, strong-weak?” Some indications of Oedipal difficulties were responses similar to, “I have occasionally gotten into trouble with the police.” Two groups were created; those who spent 5 hours or 5 dollars a week on pay video games were called the high video group and those playing less than this amount were called the low video group. Anyone who reported never having played a video game was excluded from the study. Both groups were compared on the hypothesized items: extroversion, neuroticism, and daydreaming scales via means of two-tailed t-tests. As they hypothesized, the high video group seemed to utilize video games for the purpose of discharge. They reported liking to play video games when wound up or tense more than the low video group, and also reported feeling more relaxed after they finish playing a game . Both groups did not differ in their interest of sports. High video subjects seemed to have more difficulty with delay of gratification and frustration tolerance, however. They frequently reported being annoyed at people who get in their way , and agreed more with the statement that “trying to learn something new can be very uncomfortable if you?re not good at it”. This study indicates that heavy video game playing does not cause players to become more aggressive, but instead servers to actually calm them down, letting them relieve tension in a fairly harmless manner. Also, the low frustration tolerance involved in the games coupled with the fact that practice leads to improvement, make these games very suitable for those individuals who may be experiencing difficulty in other areas. This could be seen as a reason why these games can be so addictive to certain individuals.

STUDY: 2 Derek (1995), felt that previous studies were inconsistent and were flawed by their definitions of what constitutes aggressiveness and by personality differences. He states that individuals with different personalities react differently to the same situation or event. He therefore chose to use Eysenck?s Personality Questionnaire (EPQ; Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975) to determine players? personalities beforehand.To define aggressiveness Derek used the Buss-Durkee Inventory (1975) mentioned earlier in this paper. Derek Hypothesized that there would be a linear increase in aggressive affect after playing nonaggressive, moderately aggressive, and highly aggressive games. His study was limited to measuring aggressive affect rather than overt aggression, and used a homogenous group of 117 students (42 men, 75 women) in order to eliminate confounding effects of age, educational level, etc. The games he chose were: Tetrisc, which involves manipulation of falling blocks and has no aggressive content whatsoever, Overkill, which contains a moderate level of aggressive content, and Fatal Fury, regarded as one of the most violent martial arts games available. The students were told that the study concerned a hand-eye coordination task in relation to personality. Split half versions of the EPQ and Buss-Durkee inventories were created, one to be completed prior to playing the game, one to be completed after playing the game. Half the subjects were to be given version A first, and the other half, version B. An equal number of men and women took part in playing each type of game for 10 minutes, after which they were administered the second version of the combined inventories so as to measure changes in personality and aggressive affect. Aggression ratings were derived as total change in aggressiveness, measured before and after participation; they could be positive (more aggressiveness) or negative (less aggressiveness). A three way analyses of variance with two between factors (gender and level of aggression) and one within factor (type of aggression) determined that the only statistically significant differences were between levels of aggression. After playing the nonaggressive game both males and females experienced higher increased aggression levels, than after playing both the highly aggressive game. Most significantly, however, both males and females experienced the lowest aggression levels after playing the moderately aggressive game. The overall pattern then, is that the moderately aggressive game substantially decreased feelings of aggression, whereas the highly aggressive game resulted in much less of an increase in aggression than would be expected. The greatest change occurred among the men who participated in the nonaggressive game, having a substantially increased level of aggressiveness. Of note is the fact that they had ranked considerately less aggressive prior to playing the game than both groups of men assigned to play the aggressive games. This emphasizes the fact that individual personality is just as important as the varying levels of aggressive content in video games. For example, Huesmann (1982) ! concluded that children who are exposed to the least violence may be the most aroused and most likely to act aggressively. In sum, the hypotheses that a linear increase in aggressive affect would occur as a result of increasing aggressive content in video games was not supported by the findings of this study. Furthermore, individual personality differences may play a more important role than previously examined in these studies.

DISCUSSION: The two studies presented in this paper explore the effects of video games on aggression in their own way. The first study served to analyze effects of video game playing on aggression, but as with any self-report questionnaire, there are many limitations imposed in this kind of research. Given these limitations however, the analysis proved to be informative and allowed video game players (and nonplayers) to express themselves and allowed for analysis of personality characteristics (such as low frustration, etc.) Their self-evaluations regarding when they felt better playing video games (i.e. when they were tense) and the effect playing had on them (relaxing them,) demonstrate that there are positive effects from playing video games. The second study was demonstrated no significant differences in aggression, or aggression-related variables. The results did not support the hypotheses that playing video games with high aggressive content would lead to more aggression then playing a video game with low aggressive content. As mentioned before, it has been known for some time that watching televised violence sometimes leads children to mimic that violence in real life. It would then follow that watching violence in a video game would have the same effect. The variable that is not taken into consideration however, is that simply watching televised violence, containing aggressive cues, does not allow for any interaction other than idly watching. In a video game, all that changes; players actually get to interact and aggress back within the confines of the game. This gives players the chance to be active participants and (unlike when watching TV,) to release the tension that may have been obtained by either watching the video game, or any pre-existing tension which might have driven the player to the arcade in the first place. Also, when something happens within the game itself that causes tension, the player focuses on the game, not on the world around him. The evidence provided in this paper disproves the notion that video games have the power to increase postgame aggression, but a few factors still need to be examined. Subjects in the experiments did not have to pay to play the video games, and although not stated, the difficulty level did not appear to be excessively high. This is not always true in a video game parlor, where players actually spend earned money and often severe mental and physical efforts to attempt to survive the gamefield. Also, the games have radically changed over time. Initially the trend in video game machines was that an outsider (Alien, Spaceship, Monster, etc.) was the focus of the aggression. Within the last few years, there has been a steady increase in violence against human beings (often one-on-one,) as opposed to other creatures. Whereas this initially applied to games where one player boxed or used karate vs. another human, now the fighting has become so violent that upon punching the opponent?s! head, it will explode -blood spattering the virtual world- (e.g. DOOM for the IBM-Compatibles). This is a trend which should perhaps be studied in relation to aggression levels. It may do well for the public to note that although video games are getting more violent, films at the movie theaters by far lead them in this aspect, as well as their sexual content. It is possible that violence being so commonplace in the movies, downplays the aggression cues in video games and therefore after having watched a particularly violent film, seeing computerized renditions of violence are not as significant in comparison. For the most part, however, it has been demonstrated that the concern of video games turning players into violent individuals that aggress against others in the real world is not a supported theory by these studies.

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62f

Berkowitz, L. Some Determinations of Impulsive Aggression. John Wiely and Sons.

Boston, Mass. 1974.

Carver, C.S. .Coronary- Prone behavior patter and interpersonal aggression. Alfred A. Knopf

Publishing, New York. 1982.

Green, R.G. . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Ballentine Publishing. New York.

1978.

Mahler, B.A. . Some Effects of Observing Violence Upon the Behavior of the Observer. Jones

University Press, Greenville South, Carolina. 1988

Green, R.G. & Brekowitz, Progress in Experimental Personality Research, Academic Press,

New York, 1990

Orlofsky,S. Some Conditions Facilitating the Occurrence of Aggression after the observation

of violence. Foster city, C.A., 1982

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