The effect of graphical quality on aggression in violent video games

Report
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?

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