The scientific study of media effects has led researchers down the road of video game effects. From both a social and psychological standpoint, video games have the ability to influence their players both on implicit and explicit levels.
The popularity of video and computer games has grown exponentially in recent years, yet empirical research is still relatively limited when compared to the study of other media. In 1982, the U.S. Surgeon General lamented the lack of such evidence (Selnow, 1984). But the progress that has been made has been very beneficial to the field thus far and is only the seed of what has already become one of the most controversial media effects topics to date.
Current research Lee and Peng (2006) state that research on both the psychological and social effects of video games currently focuses on three aspects:
The testing of negative consequences of violent games
The utility of educational and training games
The general effects of entertainment games
Another study entitled "The Joystick Generation" links the use of video games to the General Affective Aggression Model (GAAM) further explained below.
Koojimans (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2004) looks at video game usage and the development of the children who use them.
A study from Iowa State University titled "The Effects of Prosocial Video Games on Prosocial Behaviors: International Evidence From Correlational, Longitudinal, and Experimental Studies" interestingly looks at the effects of prosocial games and their effects on children, rather than more frequently researched antisocial gaming behavioral effects.
Negative effects of video games, Research on aggressive behavior as an effect of playing violent video games began in the 1980s and 1990s and still continue to this day. Although under current debate, some researchers claim that these violent games may cause more intense feelings of aggression than nonviolent games, and may trigger feelings of anger and hostility. Several studies have supported such findings. The theoretical explanations for these types of effects can be explained by several different theories; social cognitive theory, excitation transfer theory, priming effect and the General Aggression Model.
A 2009 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied a 2006 online survey of 552 people from Washington state. It found the average gamer from this sample was 35, male, overweight, aggressive, introverted and often depressed. Of online gamers aged 8 to 34, nearly 12% showed multiple signs of addiction.
Violent video games have been tentatively found to decrease prosocial behaviors. Prosocial behaviors include activities such as giving to charity, volunteering and overall "helping" behaviors. However this has not been supported by research in large populations, as a majority of people who play violent games do not lack prosocial behaviors. It is likely that those who lack prosocial behaviors tend to play violent video games. Other researchers have claimed that exposure to violent video games has predicted alcohol consumption, destruction of school property, and other delinquent behaviors. Not only have video games have been shown to influence self perception, but they may have a link with body image assessment of the opposite gender. Female video game characters are often hypersexualized and unrealistic, and have been shown to play a factor in hard-core gamers' perceptions of ideal beauty.
Similar to the decrease in prosocial behaviors, studies and articles have also found that frequent use of video games leads to an increase in antisocial behavior. Characteristics of those who exhibit antisocial behaviors include being considerably introverted, aggression, depression or anxiety (said to appear later in life). Antisocial behavior begins to appear in younger ages, typically these children display acts of violence with no...
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