Carnagey, N. and Anderson, C. (2005).pdf - P SY CH OL OG I C AL S CIE N CE Research Article The Effects of Reward and Punishment in Violent Video Games

Carnagey, N. and Anderson, C. (2005).pdf - P SY CH OL OG I...

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Research ArticleThe Effects of Reward andPunishment in Violent VideoGames on Aggressive Affect,Cognition, and BehaviorNicholas L. Carnagey and Craig A. AndersonIowa State UniversityABSTRACT—Three experiments examined the effects ofrewarding and punishing violent actions in video games onlater aggression-related variables. Participants playedone of three versions of the same race-car video game: (a)a version in which all violence was rewarded, (b) a versionin which all violence was punished, and (c) a nonviolentversion. Participants were then measured for aggressiveaffect (Experiment 1), aggressive cognition (Experiment2), and aggressive behavior (Experiment 3). Rewardingviolent game actions increased hostile emotion, aggressivethinking, and aggressive behavior. Punishing violent ac-tions increased hostile emotion, but did not increase ag-gressive thinking or aggressive behavior. Results suggestthat games that reward violent actions can increaseaggressive behavior by increasing aggressive thinking.All the people will be part of the physics environment, which willenable us to create spectacular crashes, and remove arms, legs,heads, etc. in a shower of blood.—Mat Sullivan, development manager for Stainless Software,describing Carmageddon 2 (SCi Games, 2003)Recent content analyses reveal that as many as 89% of videogames contain some violent content (Children Now, 2001); ap-proximately half of video games include serious violent actionstoward other game characters (Children Now, 2001; Dietz, 1998;Dill, Gentile, Richter, & Dill, in press). Playing time by childrenhas increased from about 4 hr per week in the mid-1980s (Harris& Williams, 1985) to more than 9 hr per week, with girls playingabout 5.5 hr per week and boys playing 13 hr per week (An-derson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2005; Gentile, Lynch, Linder, &Walsh, 2004). More than 90% of U.S. children ages 2 through 17play video games (Gentile & Walsh, 2002).KNOWN EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO VIOLENTVIDEO GAMESBecause violent video games are a relatively new type of violentmedia, the literature examining negative effects on players issmall compared with the literature on negative effects of tele-vision and film violence. However, a clear consensus has alreadybeen reached: Playing violent video games increases aggres-sion. Numerous studies have demonstrated that exposure toviolent video games increases aggressive affect (e.g., Anderson& Ford, 1986; Funk, Flores, Buchman, & Germann, 1999),aggressive cognitions (e.g., Calvert & Tan, 1994; Kirsh, Olczak,& Mounts, 2005; Krahe´ & Mo¨ller, 2004), and aggressive be-havior (e.g., Anderson & Dill, 2000; Irwin & Gross, 1995).Recent meta-analyses of the effects of violent video games onaggressive behavior and other aggression-related outcome var-iables (e.g., Anderson et al., 2004) have demonstrated averageeffect sizes (in correlation terms) in the .2–.3 range.REWARD AND PUNISHMENT IN VIOLENT MEDIAAlthough reward for violent actions is a dominant characteristicof many violent video games, other video games may punishsome forms of violence (e.g., shooting hostages instead of ter-
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