Study Examines Effect of Ruminating over Violent Games

Results from a recent study appear to indicate that playing violent videogames could increase aggression a full day later, but only when certain conditions were instituted.

“Violent Video Games Cause an Increase in Aggression Long After the Game Has Been Turned Off” (link) was authored by Brad Bushman and Bryan Gibson, the former a professor at Ohio State University and Amsterdam’s VU University and the latter a professor at Central Michigan University. The study was conducted on 126 college students.

The flip of a coin decided whether participants would play a violent or nonviolent game for 20 minutes. The violent games were Mortal Kombat: vs. DC Universe, Resistance: Fall of Man, and Resident Evil 5, while Guitar Hero, Gran Turismo 5, and Shaun White Snowboarding made up the nonviolent entries.

The study randomly assigned some students to the “rumination condition,” and instructed  them “In the next 24 hours, think about your play of the game, and try to identify ways your game play could improve when you play again.’’

Researchers then used a ploy, setting up a reaction game between participants and an “ostensible partner,” in which the winner could blast the loser with noise ranging from 60 decibels to 105 decibels (an option that used 0 decibels was provided as well).

Using results from the reaction game as a measure, it was reported that:

Men who played a violent game for just 20 min and then ruminated about it were more aggressive 24 hr later. Thus, violent video game effects can cause an increase in aggression at least 24 hr after the game has been turned off, at least among men who ruminate about the game.

The present laboratory experiment shows that the aggression stimulating effects of a violent video game can persist long after the game has been turned off, if people ruminate about the violent content in the game.

Thanks Adam!

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