Aggression and video games: the effect of justification of violence and presence of a stereotyped target

Koçer, Birsen
The purpose of the current study is to examine how some of the factors in violent video games affect subsequent aggression. Firstly, the effect of violent content in video games was examined with a prior study. 42 participants (22 female, 20 male) were randomly assigned to play a violent or a neutral game. Results showed that game type did not have an effect on post-gaming aggression. Disregarding the effects of in-game variables was suggested to be the reason for this result. Thus, a second study was conducted to see whether two in-game variables (justification of violence and presence of a stereotyped target) influence post-gaming aggression. 90 participants (43 male, 47 female) were asked to play a violent video game where justification of violence and presence of a stereotyped target were manipulated. Stereotyped target w as specified with a pilot study where 53 participants indicated their ratings for a major prejudiced group. Results of the second study showed that aggression increased when violence was justified and the target was stereotyped, and when violence was unjustified and the target was not stereotyped. Additionally, no gender difference was observed. Current thesis contributed to the literature by showing that aggression should be investigated with in-game factors. Besides, joint effects of justification of violence and presence of a stereotyped target were shown to be crucial. Current findings can also be applied to real life since they imply that violent content does not always lead to aggression and in-game factors are as important as violent content.


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Citation Formats
B. Koçer, “Aggression and video games: the effect of justification of violence and presence of a stereotyped target,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2015.