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Keywords:

  • video games;
  • aggression;
  • realism;
  • priming

Abstract

Previous research has shown that playing violent video game exposure can increase aggressive thoughts, aggressive feelings, and physiological arousal. This study compared the effects that playing a realistic violent, unrealistic violent, or nonviolent video game for 45 min has on such variables. For the purpose of this study, realism was defined as the probability of seeing an event in real life. Participants (N=74; 39 male, 35 female) played either a realistic violent, unrealistic violent, or nonviolent video game for 45 min. Aggressive thoughts and aggressive feelings were measured four times (every 15 min), whereas arousal was measured continuously. The results showed that, though playing any violent game stimulated aggressive thoughts, playing a more realistic violent game stimulated significantly more aggressive feelings and arousal over the course of play. Aggr. Behav. 35:213–224, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.