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for comments on drafts of this article. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Craig A. Anderson, who is now at the Department of Psychology, W112 Lagomar- cino Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50014, or to Karen E. Dill, Department of Psychology, Lenoir-Rhyne College, P.O. Box 7335, Hick- ory, North Carolina 28603. Electronic mail may be sent to Craig A. Anderson at [email protected] or to Karen E. Dill at [email protected] 1994). There are good theoretical reasons to expect that violent video games will have similar, and possibly larger, effects on aggression. The empirical literature on the effects of exposure to video game violence is sparse, however, in part because of its relatively recent emergence in modern U.S. society. About 25 years ago, when video games first appeared, popular games were simple and apparently harmless. In the 1970s, Atari introduced a game called Pong that was a simple video version of the game ping pong. In the 1980s, arcade games like Pac-Man became dominant. In Pac-Man, a yellow orb with a mouth raced around the screen chomping up ghosts and goblins. At this point, some eyebrows were raised questioning whether young people should play such "violent" games. In the 1990s the face of video games changed dramatically. The most popular video game of 1993 was Mortal Kombat (Elmer-Dewitt, 1993). This game features realistically rendered humanoid characters engaging in battle. As the name of the game implies, the goal of the player in Mortal Kombat is to kill any opponent he faces. Unfortunately, such violent games now dominate the market. Dietz (1998) sampled 33 popular Sega and Nintendo games and found that nearly 80% of the games were violent in nature. Interestingly, she also found that 21% of these games portrayed violence towards women. The research to date on video game effects is sparse and weak in a number of ways. Indeed, one reviewer (and many video game creators) has espoused the belief that "video game playing may be a useful means of coping with pent-up and aggressive energies" (Emes, 1997, p. 413). In brief, what is needed is basic theory- guided research on the effects of playing violent video games. Such research would also contribute to the field's understanding of media violence effects in general. THEORETICAL APPROACH General Affective Aggression Model (GAAM): Short-Term Effects of Video Game Violence and Aggressive Personality GAAM: Overview There are several reasons for expecting exposure to violent video games to increase aggressive behavior in both the short run 772
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VIDEO GAME VIOLENCE AND TRAIT AGGRESSIVENESS 773 (i.e., within 20 minutes of game play) and over long periods of time (i.e., repeated exposure over a period of years). Our theoret- ical approach is the GAAM, which has emerged from our work on a variety of aggression-related domains (Anderson, Anderson, & Deuser, 1996; Anderson, Deuser, & DeNeve, 1995; Anderson, Anderson, Dill, & Deuser, 1998; Dill, Anderson, Anderson, & Deuser, 1997; Lindsay & Anderson, in press). The model inte- grates existing theory and data concerning the learning, develop- ment, instigation, and expression of human aggression. It does so
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