The Effects of Prosocial Video Games on Prosocial Behaviors: International Evidence from Correlational, Longitudinal, and Experimental Studies

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Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
http://psp.sagepub.com/ The Effects of Prosocial Video Games on Prosocial Behaviors: International Evidence From Correlational, Longitudinal, and Experimental Studies Douglas A. Gentile, Craig A. Anderson, Shintaro Yukawa, Nobuko Ihori, Muniba Saleem, Lim Kam Ming, Akiko Shibuya, Albert K. Liau, Angeline Khoo, Brad J. Bushman, L. Rowell Huesmann and Akira Sakamoto Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2009 35: 752 originally published online 25 March 2009 DOI: 10.1177/0146167209333045 The online version of this article can be found at: http://psp.sagepub.com/content/35/6/752 Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com

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The Effects of Prosocial Video Games on Prosocial Behaviors: International Evidence From Correlational, Longitudinal, and Experimental Studies Douglas A. Gentile Iowa State University; National Institute on Media and the Family, Minneapolis, MN Craig A. Anderson Iowa State University Shintaro Yukawa University of Tsukuba, Japan Nobuko Ihori Ochanomizu University, Japan Muniba Saleem Iowa State University Lim Kam Ming Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Akiko Shibuya Keio University, Japan Albert K. Liau HELP University College, Malaysia Angeline Khoo Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Brad J. Bushman University of Michigan–Ann Arbor; VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands L. Rowell Huesmann University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Akira Sakamoto Ochanomizu University, Japan

PSPB, Vol. 35 No. 6, June 2009 752-763 DOI: 10.1177/0146167209333045 © 2009 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

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Downloaded from psp.sagepub.com at Macquarie University Library on April 30, 2011

Gentile et al. / PROSOCIAL VIDEO GAMES AND BEHAVIOR Although dozens of studies have documented a relationship between violent video games and aggressive behaviors, very little attention has been paid to potential effects of prosocial games. Theoretically, games in which game characters help and support each other in nonviolent ways should increase both short-term and longterm prosocial behaviors. We report three studies conducted in three countries with three age groups to test this hypothesis. In the correlational study, Singaporean middle-school students who played more prosocial games behaved more prosocially. In the two longitudinal samples of Japanese children and adolescents, prosocial game play predicted later increases in prosocial behavior. In the experimental study, U.S. undergraduates randomly assigned to play prosocial games behaved more prosocially toward another student. These similar results across different methodologies, ages, and cultures provide robust evidence of a prosocial game content effect, and they provide support for the General Learning Model. Keywords: video games; prosocial behavior; empathy; media violence; General Learning Model

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I like video games, but they’re really violent. I’d like to play a video game where you help the people who were shot in all the other games. It’d be called “Really Busy Hospital.” —Demetri Martin, comedian

Digital electronic games, commonly called video games, are immensely popular around the world despite a sluggish economy. The video game industry’s revenues surpassed the movie industry’s several years ago, and it surpassed the music industry’s in 2008 (Reuters, 2007). In a nationally representative sample of U.S. teens, 99% of boys and 94% of girls played video games (Lenhart...
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