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Models For Aggressive Behavior: The Attributes Of Violent Characters In Popular Video Games - Article Review

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Researches on Violent Video Games are Irrelevant

Second to the movies industry, video games industry is on a rapid development with billions of dollars made. Like the movies industry, Americans are increasingly concerned about violence, gore, and antisocial behaviors feature in games. In fact, violent video games have been constantly blamed for school shootouts. For example, not long after the Northern Illinois University shooting occurred, Jack Thompson, an attorney who strongly believes violent video games have a strong correlation with violent acts, appeared on Fox News and tried to draw a connection between the shooting and violent video games . Also, in a current going murder trial, the murderer, Andrew Reid Lackey, claimed videogame to be the cause of his action. Lackey is charged for stabbing, shooting and gouging out the eye of an 80 year-old man, Charles Newman, during an attempted robbery. Facing the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison, Lackey used the "violent video games made me do it" defense for his action. The trial is currently underway at the Limestone County Courthouse in Alabama. While playing violent video games may temporary increase player’s level of aggression, do playing violent video games contribute to antisocial behavior in the society? In the article, Models for Aggressive Behavior: The Attributes of Violent Characters in Popular Video Games , the author examined various types of experiments such as survey, experimental research, and more complicated studies were relevant to prove that videogame causes violent behaviors. In conclusion, the article stated that while a number of experimental studies have linked video game playing and aggressive thoughts and behavior, few have examined potentially problematic contextual features associated with this violence, such as attributes related to violent perpetrators, which may contribute to these aggressive responses. I totally agree with the author.

In the article, combinations of non-experimental studies suggested that violent videogames cause aggressive behaviors. The researches were done under the following condition: “a majority of 2- to 18-year-old children in the US have access to video game technology in their home…on average boys spend about 11 hours a week playing video games, while girls spend about 6 hours doing so. Because youngsters are spending time with video game technology, several surveys have been conducted to examine the relationship between game playing and aggressive tendencies… The results showed a positive relationship between preferring violent games and aggressive behavior. Other studies have support this positive relationship between exposure to violent games and aggression with both child and adult samples” The author countered the inference by pointing out that these studies were based on survey data. As such, we have no way of knowing if playing violent video games is actually causing aggressive behavior in these instances. I also believe this to be true. Most of the non-experimental works consist of relatively small-scale surveys. People are given questions about their aggressive behavior, exposure to video games, violent video games, and to various other media. Afterward, the researchers conduct analyses to see if those who are exposed more to violent video games are more aggressive than those who are exposed less. The results always indicate that people who spend more time with violent video games tend to be more aggressive than those who spend less time playing them. This finding raises the possibility that playing video games causes aggressive behaviors. However, there are other plausible explanations. For example, a person with a more aggressive personality like violent games and also engage in anti-social behavior. This person’s aggressive behavior is not caused by the violent video games nor did the aggression cause the preference for violent games, but this person’s personality. Also, the correlation between playing violent games and aggressive behaviors does not prove that one causes the other.

Several experimental studies also have attempted to examine causal linkages between playing violent video games and hostile reaction. An example of experimental study on correlation of violent video games and aggression is done as follow; “Anderson and Ford (1986) assigned college students to one of three conditions: playing a highly aggressive game, playing a mildly aggressive game, or to a no play control condition. Immediately after, the participants listed their aggressive thought and feelings using an adjective checklist procedure. The results showed that players in both aggressive game conditions listed significantly more hostile thoughts than did those in the control condition.” The results of many other studies in the article also show that children who played the violent games were significantly more likely to behave violently. Together, these experimental researches reveal that exposure to violent video games may increase aggressive behavior in both children and adults. As a result, the author believes it is important to analyze the amount of aggression in video games that are available to and are popular with children, and to examine the extent to which violent role models are portrayed with potentially problematic characteristics. I also believe this point to be true. Combining all of the researches, there is a small but significant effect of playing violent video games on the measures of aggression employed in the studies. Therefore, the answer of the question of whether playing violent video games causes people to be aggressive depends on the details of how the research was designed and conducted. If the research is done perfectly, the findings would mean that violent video games do increase aggression.



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