Video games increase aggression... when you are angry

This week as I've updated my literature search on video game violence and aggression, I ran into an upcoming article on anger as the strongest predictor in the increases in aggression from playing violent video games.

Then today I downloaded this week's Game Theory podcast tackles the topic of video game violence. They interview Patrick Markey from Villanova who has an upcoming article in Journal of Research in Personality on video game violence and aggression... the same author and article I found in my literature search. The interview is runs for about the first 18 minutes of the podcast and is well worth checking out.

Markey gives an engaging interview and calls both the gaming press and video game critics to task. Violent games do increase short term aggression, but increase is statistically small and is see in other violent media as well. Markey brings up a number of good points for gamers, educators, and parents alike:

  • Violent video games do increase aggression
  • Average correlation of increased aggression is only .15
  • Research shows violent games effect people differently (gender, experience, trait hostility)
  • Anger significantly increased the effect of increased aggression
  • Violent games as a catharsis is not supported by scholarly research
Both Markey's article and his podcast interview are a good addition to the literature and a reasoned voice in the debate. And since I'm a librarian, here's the full citation for Markey's forthcoming article:

Giumetti, G.W., & Markey, P.M. (2007) Violent video games and anger as predictors of aggression. Journal of Research in Personality, doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2007.02.005

Image from Patrick Markey's homepage


Anonymous said...

That's an interesting article, but how did you found it? I have an interest in video game reseach and I'm trying to catch up to the literature. But, I'm having trouble getting the latest news on the literature like the article in your blog entry.

Can you help me being up to date?

Paul said...


Yes, I would be very happy to help you catch up on video game research. Just drop me an email:

I am currently working on an annotated bibliography on video games and aggression that might be interesting to you as well.

I'm happy to help in any way possible.


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