The relation between video game violence and aggression
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Experimental research has shown that playing violent video games produces higher levels of aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and aggressive behavior (in the short-term) than non-violent video games (see Anderson, Gentile & Buckley, 2007). However, there are two major limitations with these studies. First, the majority of experimental studies that have compared the effects of violent versus non-violent video games on aggression have failed to equate these games in terms of competitiveness, difficulty, and pace of action. Thus, although the common finding is that violent video games produce higher levels of aggression than nonviolent video games, other unmatched factors beyond the actual violent content may be responsible for the elevated levels of aggression. Second, previous experimental studies have tended to use a measure of aggression that may also measure competitiveness, leading to questions about whether violent video games are related to aggression or competitiveness. The present thesis addressed these two issues by fIrst equating a violent and non-violent video game on competitiveness, difficulty and pace of action in Experiment I , and then comparing the effect of each game on aggressive behavior using an unambiguous measure of aggressive behavior (i.e., the Hot Sauce Paradigm). We found that video game violence was not sufficient to elevate aggressive behavior compared to a non-violent video game. Practical implications and directions for future research are discussed.