Long Term Results of Violent Gameplay

Over the past few days I’ve posted about a few selected studies on violence and video games. Now part of the reason to do so was in preparation for meeting with our English faculty about the first-year research/thesis paper. The other reason that I’ve posted a sampling of the research is to help provide support for those facing these agreements (“The only value is training to kill” and the like). For a few of you, I hope this research is helpful. For others, being informed and able to respond to criticism is never a bad thing, right?

The research described above has consistently focused on the short term effects of violent video games on aggression. Even Anderson (Anderson & Bushman, 2001) has acknowledged the lack of longitudinal studies. The research of Williams and Skoric (2005) attempted to address this concern by analyzing the long term affects of video game violence over a month of game play.

The study itself was conducted on first-time MMRPG players, many of whom had never played any game before. The study used Asheron’s Call 2, and applied a precondition that theparticipants should play the game for at least 5 hours per week, over 68% of those studied played over this amount. A total of 213 participants (167 male, 45 female, 1 unstated), with ages ranging from 14 to 68 were used in this study. During the course of the month each participant completed a pre- and post-test online self-reporting questionnaire. The questionnaire included a range of demographic, behavioral, and personality variables.

This one month longitudinal study found that, contrary to previous short term studies, there were no strong effects associated with aggression caused by this violent game. The results of the study do not provide strong support for the predictions and results suggested by Anderson and the GAM model (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). The theoretical models and studies that strongly link violent games to direct increases in aggressive beliefs or behaviors are not supported over the long term. The results suggest that the effects of some games wear out after an hour, and disappear (or remain very small) after a month.