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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  1. 0
    Arell says:

    This reminds me of a famous psychological study done several decades ago.  In it, one volunteer test subject was given some questions to ask another volunteer test subject.  However, the one answering the questions was really a lab assistant.  There was a barrier between them, so the real test subject couldn’t see the other guy.  Whenever the other guy got an answer wrong, the one asking the questions was to push a button that they were told would send an increasingly strong shock to the other guy (the button actually played a recording of increasingly painful cries and screams).

    All the while, a man with a lab coat and a clipboard would authoratively tell the test subject to continue, that it was all part of the experiment.  Prodded by someone of authority, the test subjects kept causing what they thought was physical pain, listening to the screams and the crying from the other side of the barrier.  Even when they were clearly uncomfortable with what they thought they were doing, they kept doing it anyway.

    Of course, in that example, they thought they were causing real, seriously injury to the other person.  An airhorn, while mildly painful to the ears, is really just annoying and pranksterous.  Someone blowing an airhorn at the loser is kinda harmless.  As such, it’s hard to take it seriously as an example of "agression."  I’ve heard of other "studies" where some participants were asked to put hot sauce in someone’s drink after some competition, to test agression.  Same meaningless BS.  Another one where participants were asked to hit each other with pillows, however hard they want, based on certain conditions.  Again, no true harm, thus not a good measurement of agression or violence.

  2. 0
    Monte says:

     ya, taking a quick overlook of bushman’s study he does try to claim that the sound test is a valid test based off of some work that was done in 1995… though just because it was ok back then doesn’t mean it’s still ok today as further testing can disprove past studies. Which is what assume the study you mention pretty much does. If Bushman wants his study to be taken seriously he would have to first prove Ferguson and Rueda wrong and prove the sound study is valid. 

  3. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Just another bullshit study from Bushman, who seems to have an uncanny talent for always confirming his claim that violent video games promote aggressive behavior.

  4. 0
    Monte says:

    All i needed to read was "Brad Bushman"… ya the author of many other incredibly flawed studies concerning violent media and aggression. Honestly at this point it’s become clear that instead of looking for the complicated truth, he’s looking for a quick answer that proves him right. He’s essentially become too bias to conduct a proper study. 

    Where to begin with the possible flaws. For one, they only conducted the sound test AFTER gameplay but not before, and thus you can’t actually prove that the people who were more "aggressive" were that way by default or if they became that way during the course of the game play. 


    The sound test itself seems like a flawed method for testing aggression. trying to look it up, while 105 is about where pain begins there are much louder things that people deal with; such as a very loud car stereo (120-130)… I don’t think, you can really call it a test of "aggression" unless the participant enacting the aggression actually recognizes it as seriously painful… frankly i know plenty of college students who might view such a thing as harmless fun… Hell if their opponents did not hit them with the 105 decibals, they may not even realize what it feels like and thus would not think twice about it. on the otherhand, if they did get hit with that much and found it painful, they might want to deliver a little pay back if they got the chance (in other words the sound test ITSELF is making them act more aggressive)…

    honestly, just another study destined to be debunked

  5. 0
    Avalongod says:

    The games here are also very poorly matched…highly sophisticated plot-heavy violent games with sophisticated controls matched against plot-light (or absent) non-violent games with relatively easy controls.

    This has been a consistent problem as well, and other scholars Prysbylksi (spelling?) Ryan and Rigby have found that issues like control complexity are regularly confounded with violent content in these studies. 

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