THE EFFECT OF GRAPHICAL QUALITY ON AGGRESSION IN VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES Kyle Kollstedt & Michael Sterling VIDEO GAME STATISTICS 98.7% of adolescents play video games to some extent (Ferguson, John, 2007) Violent video games seem to be the most popular (Buchman & Funk, 1996) Graphic and realistic-depictions of physical conflict that may involve blood, gore, weapons, and depictions of human injury and death (ESRB). VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES IN THE MEDIA After the Columbine shootings in 1999, people have become increasingly concerned with the potential damage that violent video games may cause (Giumetti & Markey, 2007) Many other perpetrators of high school shootings have been found to play violent video games (Anderson & Bushman, 2001) PSYCHOLOGY OF VIOLENT VIDEO GAME USE Psychological research on the effects that violent video games have on aggression has been mixed Two other meta analyses showed that a positive correlation did exist between violent video game play and aggressive behaviors. (Anderson and Bushman, 2001; Anderson, et al. 2004). The most recent meta analysis in 2007, showed that there wasn’t a correlation between violent video game play and aggressive behaviors. (Ferguson, 2007). VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES AND PSYCHOLOGY Most research on violent video game effects on aggression has been so flawed that a conclusive result cannot be obtained yet. (Zook, 2008) Frustration of controls and game Different games in different settings TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT Video games have been advancing for thirty years It has been found that as video game technology evolved there is an increase in the aggression of the user (Ivory & Kalyananaraman, 2007 A positive correlation between publication year and effect size on aggression exists (r=.39) Anderson and Bushman (2001) HYPOTHESIS As the graphical settings of a game are improved, the effect on aggression in the user will be increased. PARTICIPANTS 25 participants taken from a convenience sample 15 male 10 female Average age 19.7 Were offered extra credit in some psychology classes Randomly assigned to low or high graphical settings EQUIPMENT A DNX Pixelworks XD-4800 Projector Computer-Toshiba Satellite A200 (add stats on video card and ram) Xbox 360 Game-Call of Duty 4 GAME INFORMATION First person shooter Rated M for mature by the entertainment software ratings board (MSRB) Contains blood, gore, intense violence, and strong language (www.esrb.org) GRAPHICAL SETTINGS High Setting Low Setting AGGRESSION QUESTIONNAIRE (BUSS & PERRY, 1992) Divides aggression into 4 subcategories Physical aggression Hostility Verbal Aggression Anger Each question was rated 1-5, with 5 being the highest. Example Questions If I have to resort to violence to protect my rights, I will. I can think of no good reason for ever hitting a person. Has an overall internal consistency of .93 LIKERT SCALE FOR FRUSTRATION Were rated from 1-5, five being the most frustrating. How frustrated did you feel before playing the game? How difficult did you find the controls? Developed to rule out a potential confounding variable COMPETITIVE REACTION TIME TASK (BUSHMAN & SAULTS, 2007) Participants were given a chance to set the intensity and duration of a sound blast for a fictional student from Centre College. If they did not react faster than the other student they were given a sound blast that the challenger set. The challenger’s levels were randomly generated by the computer. EXPERIMENTAL ROOM Can have all lights blocked out in order to minimize distractions. Blocking of windows prevented anyone else knowing about the study. Also controlled for levels of light which helped improve image quality PROCEDURE The Aggression questionnaire was given. Game was played until both a training level and an intense level were completed. Half of participants will experience maximum graphical settings, the others will be set at minimum. Frustration Likert scale was administered. Second Aggression Questionnaire was given. At this time one of the researchers left the room to call the fictional other participant Competitive Reaction time task was given. Demographic information was obtained and subjects were debriefed and thanked. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GROUPS Aggression Average Sex Differences In Groups 3 Chart Title Men 2.5 Women 10 2 7 1.5 5 1 3 0.5 0 Men Women Men had a significantly higher level of aggression (M=2.71) then women (M=2.09), t (25) =2.801, p=.01 High Graphical Low Graphical Setting Setting FRUSTRATION 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Low Graphical Settings High Graphical Settings Participants were not significantly more frustrated in the high graphical settings (M=2.10) than in the low (M=2.149), t (15) =0.098, p=0.923 ANGER 3 2.5 2 1.5 Before Gameplay After Gameplay 1 0.5 0 Low Graphical Settings High Graphical Settings Time X Anger F(1,15)=3.833, p=.069 HOSTILITY 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Low Graphical High Graphical Settings Settings Time X Hostility F(1,15)=7.492, p=.015 Before Game Play After Game Play AGGRESSION AVERAGE 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Low Graphical High Graphical Settings Settings Time X Aggression Average F(1,15)=4.212, p=.058 Before Gameplay After Gameplay DISCUSSION The low graphics setting didn’t involve the participant at all. Only hostility and anger were significantly affected by the game play. Thoughts were changed but the participants actions stayed the same. Games with sufficient graphics to involve the player may just be activating aggressive thoughts. DISCUSSION This research looks at effects that an ever evolving industry may have on the user. May help researchers understand what types of aggression are affected by violent video game play. FUTURE RESEARCH Future researchers should look for a more reliable, objective, measure of aggression, or implement the competitive reaction time task successfully. Such as a situation where they can aggress towards a person differently. This research may help future researchers better understand which types of aggression are activated by what types of cues. Ex. Verbal Aggression not affected by game play. It may also be interesting to look at how long the effects on the participants thoughts last. This research suggests that a more nuanced look at aggression may be necessary. QUESTIONS?