Psychology Research Study - Video Games and Violence

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A Careful Analysis of a Research Study: Dr. Andersen’s Hypothesis

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical review of a recent study examining the effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior in young children. Let me first provide a brief summary of the study. (a) The hypothesis is that violent video games cause aggression in young children. (b) The target population is young children. (c) The samples are young school age children and the sample sizes are sixty children separated into two groups with 30 children being in the experimental group and 30 children being in the control group. (d) The independent variable is violent video games and the dependent variable is aggression. (e) The result of the experiment were that there was a higher test score for aggression in the children who played violent video games for one (1) hour everyday after school.

The investigator of the study controlled for several extraneous variables. (a) Two of the variables that were controlled were (1) the amount of time spent playing a violent video game, which was for one hour after school and (2) another variable that was controlled was the length of time of the experiment, which was a three-month duration.

Unfortunately, the investigator failed to control for several important variables, potentially jeopardizing his interpretation of the results. (a) In this experiment, three variables that were not controlled were (1) whether or not the children were exposed to any other violence outside the experiment, such as watching violent movies or television shows during the course of the experiment or the title and type of violent video game that was played for one hour after school as well as the level of violence in the game played for the experiment versus the level of violence in games played outside the experiment and (2) whether the children had access to playing any other video games, violent or otherwise previously or outside of the one hour after school that they had already played for the experiment, as well as whether the children played video games, violent or otherwise, on the days that they were not at school, such as on the weekends and the duration or amount of hours that they were allowed to play. (3) the gender and background information of the children, for example the conditions of the home, such as whether the child came from a violent home or two parent household versus a single parent household, etc. (b) (1) The children that may be allowed to watch violent movies or television shows in addition to playing violent video games, may see violence as a normal, everyday part of life and are likely to already be impacted in a way that forms natural aggressive tendencies. The type of violent video game each individual participant played for the experiment will not be consistent as each parent may see violence differently. The children will be playing different kinds of game with violence and the levels may all be different. The children that are exposed to violent television and movies as well as violent video games may possibly already have a point of view that could affect Andersen’s findings. (2) There is the factor of the children that have previous or extensive experience playing video games, violent or otherwise, prior to the experiment and beyond. These children have familiarity with playing many different types of video games at home and for instance may possibly be playing video games where the violence level may be greater than the level of violence used in the games played during the experiment. This may cause them to have become, let’s say, “immune” for lack of a better word, to the violence in the game the parent chooses for the experiment. It would be hard to accurately surmise if they are being affected by the experiment or affected by the previous outside factor. Another note is that many parents do not enforce time limits on their children’s video game playing and depending on the duration...
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