Analytical Comparison Essay Video Game Violence

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English 102
23 October, 2012
Video Game Violence
In the United States video games and violence have become synonymous to each other. Some of the most popular games today tend to be the most violent. This has brought up the issue of video game violence and its relation to adolescent violence. Many argue that video game violence primes anger and aggressive thoughts in the individual using them. But research and proof of this argument has been limited, inconclusive, or contradictory which has brought up debate over the issue. Two scholarly research articles, “Video Games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life.” by Craig A Anderson and Karen E Dill and “Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis in Adolescents” by Christopher J Ferguson, published in 2000 and 2010 respectively, debate this topic and discuss the psychological effects of violent video games on the user. The article by Anderson and Dill asserted that video game exposure increased aggressive traits long-term and short-term while the research article by Ferguson made the claim that outside conditions and factors such as personality traits, family environment, and depressive symptoms far better indicated increased aggression or youth violence than violent video game play. Both articles conducted their own studies in attempts to measure the correlation between video game violence and aggression level. However, Ferguson’s article had a more complete argument, accounting for more outside third variables, expanding upon data from previous conducted studies, and counter-arguing opposing studies and evidence against video game violence. Overall Ferguson’s article provided a stronger argument against video games causing violence and aggression, drawing upon more references and evidence, counter-attacking and pointing out flaws of previous research conducted, and analyzing numerous other factors.

In the 2000 article, “Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior in the Laboratory and in Life”, Craig Anderson and Karen Dill conduct two studies to examine video game violence and its correlation to aggressive traits, behavior, and delinquency. The article concludes from the results of their two studies that violent video games “affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts” (788) and are “potentially more dangerous than the more heavily investigated TV and movie media” (789). The main support for their argument stems primarily from their experiment results which found that a positive association existed between violent video games and aggressive personalities. The scientific approach to proving that violent video games affect aggressive behavior and delinquency is the greatest strength of Anderson and Dill’s argument as they statistically prove that concern is legitimate. For example on page 780, “In all cases (video game violence) was positively and significantly related to aggressive behavior, both statistically (all ps < .001) and in terms of percentage of total variance explained […] Thus, the link between (video game violence and aggressive behavior is quite strong indeed.” Their experiment results support their claims. Anderson and Dill also intuitively explain why video game violence could increase aggressive traits. For example Anderson and Dill heavily reference GAAM or General Affective Aggression Model, a psychoanalysis chart of aggressive behavior which the authors had created prior to their article. Anderson and Dill use this aggression model to explain why and how video game violence could negatively affect individuals. A flow chart of GAAM (775) details the process by which violent video game exposure would lead to an aggressive personality. Much of Anderson and Dill’s argument lies in the intuitive thought and logic behind this argument. For example Anderson and Dill explain that “aggression is largely based on knowledge structures (e.g., scripts, schemas) created by social learning...
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