The impact of playing violent video games on the manifestation of aggressive behaviors in young people is controversial. The objectives of this research project were as follows: (1) to review scientific studies of the effects of violent video games on aggressiveness; and (2) to examine the evidence that playing violent video games plays a role in the behaviors of school shooters.
Video games occupied a large amount of my time as a child, and I found that the experience of playing largely nonviolent games was a cognitively stimulating exercise that increased my perceptual-motor, learning, memory, problem-solving, and executive functioning abilities and skills. As an adult, I have been fascinated by public beliefs that violent video games are related to assaultive and sometimes lethal behaviors (1), and I wanted to examine the evidence touted in the media that playing violent video games may contribute to aggressive behavior.
II. Background and Significance
A. Growth of Video Game Industry
The video game industry has evolved into a dominant player in the entertainment industry, and video games of all genres have quickly become one of the most popular forms of media (2). Employment in the industry has been increasing since 2005, consistently experiencing annual growth rates of 9%, and most positions are engineering jobs with annual salaries of $80,000 - $90,000.
Video game revenues surpassed movie industry sales in this country in 2005 and worldwide in 2008. In 2005, sales surpassed those in the music industry sales in the United 3 States. The gaming industry is still growing rapidly in contrast to slow growth for movies and negative growth for music, since piracy has hurt both industries. However, the growth of video game products and sales has been characterized by an increased number of violent video games, a trend that has made these games a target of government and the media once focused on...