Dr. Craig Anderson: Violent Video Games and Aggression

As part of my research for GamerDad.com and in preparation for the introductory composition course I am involved in, I've brushed up on Anderson's work. Below is a quick summary of some of Anderson's work on the subject of aggression and violent video games:

Dr. Craig Anderson from the University of Iowa is one of the most frequently cited and published researchers in the field of video game violence. Anderson’s work has been used in a variety of venues from scholarly publications to State Supreme Court arguments. Anderson research was used in the Illinois video game legislation defense where he was described as, “The nation's pre-eminent researcher on the effect of exposure to violent video games." Anderson’s work has been published in a multiple books, from Children in the Digital Age: Influences of Electronic Media on Development (2002) to his own Violent Video Games Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research and Public Policy (2006).

In 2000, Anderson and Dill found that violent video game play and aggressive personalities accounted for the majority of observed aggressive and delinquent behavior.

In 2001, Anderson and Bushman conducted a meta-analytic review of violent video game research found that violent game play increased the aggressive thoughts in males and females across age ranges in both experimental and non-experimental situations. The research demonstrated an increase in short term aggression after playing violent video games.

In 2001, Anderson and Bartholow, studied the gender differences between aggressive actions after playing violent video games. The research found that male college age students demonstrated a significant increase in aggression immediately after playing a violent video game (Mortal Kombat) versus a nonviolent game (PGA Tournament Golf). Women studied showed a significantly smaller increase in aggression after playing the game. Two of the concerns of this study are the small sample size (43) and the analysis of short term effects on aggression

In 2005, Anderson and Carnagey found that “violence in a video game, regardless of whether it is rewarded or punished, can increase hostile affect.” Their research showed that rewarding violence in video games can increase aggressive thoughts and actions. The study used the same white noise punishment that was used in the 2001 study above.

These are just a sample of the many research studies conducted by Anderson over the last seven years. Anderson’s most conclusive evidence is an increase in short term aggressive thought.

Anderson, C. A. (2004). An update on the effects of playing violent video games. Journal of Adolescence, 27(1), 113.

Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: A meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychological Science, 12(5), 353.

Anderson, C. A., & Dill, K. E. (2000). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 78(4), 772-790.

Bartholow, B. D., & Anderson, C. A. (2002). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior: Potential sex differences. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(3), 283.

Carnagey, N. L., & Anderson, C. A. (2005). The effects of reward and punishment in violent video games on aggressive affect, cognition, and behavior. Psychological Science, 16(11), 882-889.

Image via Iowa State University Department of Psychology


Anonymous said...

Thank you, this has helped me with a very difficult research paper.

Paul said...

I'm glad this was helpful.
Good luck.

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Anonymous said...

i think it is really important to bear in mind that Dr. Craig Anderson may be more successful than others such as Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson, because he hi lights negative elements in video games which for obvious reasons will become much more successful - taking this side will make him well known, and so he may not be known for his actual prowess but for the side he takes.

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The topic is very interesting and becoming more and more active through the last few years after a number of accidents that happened with gamers involved. As gaming cannot be disqualified as a speech a question remains what should happen with the games promoting aggression and violence and with the access of people under 18 to them. Governements still seem to fail finding a solution for such type of regulation.

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