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Quantitative preliminary research on the relationship between video games, violence and aggression

Quantitative preliminary research on the relationship between video games, violence and aggression

Beyond the different studies, the factors for influencing or suppressing the relationship between the use of violent video games and aggression still remain unknown; the variables interact with each other in ways we do not yet understand, making it difficult to generalize many of the results obtained.

 

Advertising message Concern for the potential negative consequences of interacting with the media is not a new phenomenon: it is a practice that technological development arrives accompanied by anxiety and alarmism towards potential negative consequences for users. The video games, because of their interactive nature, have been particularly at the center of this type of controversy, also because of the violent content present in many titles. For example, hugely popular games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto (GTA), which have managed to conquer the general public by reaching record sales (Macy, 2017), are distinct from the presence of violent scenes (Saar, 2014). Just the presence of such contents has raised the doubts of the scientific community, who wanted to investigate their potential influence on players, in particular on younger ones. In order to better understand the effects of exposure to a violent medium, be it a video game or a film, scientific research has focused on the distinction between the term aggression and the term violence, concepts mistakenly considered synonymous. Aggression is defined as a wide variety of hostile behaviors (Allen & Anderson, 2017), triggered by particular environmental or social stimuli that refer to territorial behaviors of approach and exploration. It can therefore express itself with benign or hostile actions, directly or indirectly (Kirsh, 2012). Violence (from Vis, which means strength in Indo-European languages) represents, instead, one of the possible dimensions that aggression can assume (Baron & Richardson, 1994), with greater forms of intensity and destructiveness, carried out with the intent to cause damage (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). Violence is attributable to an anti-social, intentional, organized and aimed at achieving a specific purpose (Ferguson, 2018). Violence may therefore be aggressive, but aggression is not violence (Ferguson, 2018). This distinction is necessary to understand the effects of a violent video game (VVG- Violent VideoGames), since even in the literature there is confusion about the detectable consequences after the game (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). 2001). Violence is attributable to an anti-social, intentional, organized and aimed at achieving a specific purpose (Ferguson, 2018). Violence may therefore be aggressive, but aggression is not violence (Ferguson, 2018). This distinction is necessary to understand the effects of a violent video game (VVG- Violent VideoGames), since even in the literature there is confusion about the detectable consequences after the game (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). 2001). Violence is attributable to an anti-social, intentional, organized and aimed at achieving a specific purpose (Ferguson, 2018). Violence may therefore be aggressive, but aggression is not violence (Ferguson, 2018). This distinction is necessary to understand the effects of a violent video game (VVG- Violent VideoGames), since even in the literature there is confusion about the detectable consequences after the game (Anderson & Bushman, 2002).

There are plausible theoretical reasons to expect that playing VVG will increase aggression, but there are just as many reasons to believe that the relationship is probably more complex. Bandura (2001) suggests that learning by observation, a concept often used to confirm the positive relationship between violent content and violent behavior, is not synonymous with mimicry, but also includes learning rules on the adequacy of particular behaviors in given circumstances . At the same time, VVGs can be used to induce a sense of relaxation or to aid mood management, thus suggesting that play may be associated with reduced hostility and an increase in positive mood (Ferguson & Olson, 2013; Ferguson & Rueda, 2010).

Still, some higher levels of aggression were detected only after exposure to the medium in question, but in a limited and limited way over time. However, it is good to specify that this phenomenon is called pseudo-aggression, or apparent aggression, which is manifested for the affirmation and protection of one’s identity (Ferguson, 2018), with a functional value to the victory of the playful activity. Furthermore, it is good not to forget the competitive component that can accompany the player. A similar phenomenon could be observed, for example, in a football player with higher levels of aggression immediately after having missed an important goal, but this does not mean he would be able to perform violent actions in the long run.

Beyond the various studies, the factors for influencing or suppressing the relationship between the use of violent gambling and aggression still remain unknown; the variables interact with each other in ways we do not yet understand, making it difficult to generalize many of the results obtained.

More recently, research has focused on video games as a potential source of pathological addiction and on the possibility of considering such addiction as a real mental disorder (Griffiths et al., 2016). In this regard, the researchers systematically argued that all dependencies share similar common characteristics and aspects. In this context, it has been observed that addiction can occur independently of the means (e.g. substance intake or excessive behavior) whenever an individual experiences the six basic components of addiction (e.g. salience, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, modification of mood, conflict, and recurrence) (Griffiths, 2005). Several empirical studies seem to support this notion, since the main components of addictions have been empirically tested and have proven to apply to a wide range of addictive behaviors, such as online gambling addiction (Pontes, Király, Demetrovics and Griffiths, 2014), generalized Internet addiction (Kuss, Shorter , Van Rooij, Van de Mheen, & Griffiths, 2014), work addiction (Andreassen, Griffiths, Hetland and Pallesen, 2012), shopping addiction (Andreassen et al., 2015) and even study addiction (e.g. precursor addiction) (Atroszko, Andreassen, Griffiths and Pallesen, 2015). Some of these specific forms of (behavioral) addictions have been called “technological addictions” (Griffiths, 1995) for over two decades. Technological dependencies have been defined operationally as non-chemical behavioral dependencies that imply excessive human-machine interaction (Griffiths, 1995). In addition, technological addictions can be passive (e.g. watching television) or active (e.g. playing video games) and usually contain elements that induce or can contribute to the promotion of addictive trends (Griffiths, 1995). Based on this, technological addictions can be viewed as a subset of behavioral addictions (Marks, 1990), with all six major components of addiction (i.e. salience, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, mood modification, conflict and relapse ) for the first time described by Brown (1993) and subsequently modified by Griffiths (1996, 2005) “.

From 1 January 2022 the Gaming Disorder will be recognized as a pathology in all respects by the WHO, World Health Organization, having decided to include video game addiction in the next edition of the ICD-11 (International Classification of Desease). WHO itself defines this disorder as characterized by impaired / impaired control over gaming activity, which becomes the main occupation of one’s life to the detriment of the others, with a duration of at least 12 months.

The pathological label of the Gaming Disorder does not see the whole scientific community in agreement, in fact the American Psychiatric Association has deemed it appropriate to include the internet gaming disorder (or addiction to online video games) in Section III of the diagnostic and statistical manual of disorders mental, as a condition that requires further clinical research before being formally considered a disorder (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Here, the internet gaming disorder is defined as an addiction disorder that reflects a persistent and recurring commitment to video games, often with other players, resulting in clinically significant distress as indicated by five (or more) of the following nine basic criteria over a 12 month period:

However, the Internet Gaming Disorder proposal has brought with it doubts about its diagnostic entity. More precisely, the inclusion of the term “Internet” has been contested in favor of the use of the term “Video Gaming Disorder” (or more simply Gaming Disorder), suggesting that excessive use of Video Games may not be confined exclusively to a context online (Griffiths & Pontes, 2014). The term internet addiction has also been criticized by the scientific community for its lack of specificity, given the heterogeneity of potentially problematic behaviors that can occur on the net and the different underlying etiological mechanisms (Starcevic and Aboujaoude, 2016).

Advertising message Video games have been considered by the scientific community not only for the possible associated negative effects, but also for their potential in improving cognitive, perceptual and motor functions (see Granic, Lobel, & Engels, 2013). In fact, playing video games is associated with a greater motor ocular coordination (Griffith, Voloschin, Gibb and Bailey, 1983), with an increase in attention (Howard, Wilding and Guest, 2016), with greater capacity for mental rotation (Spence & Feng, 2010), and an improvement in working memory (Colzato, van den Wildenberg, Zmigrod, & Hommel, 2010). For this, video games can slow down the cognitive decline associated with age, memory deficits and be used as rehabilitation tools in post stroke or for a neurodegenerative disease,

The objective of this study will be to analyze the first of the scientific diatribes concerning the use of video games that we have briefly introduced here: the relationship that exists between violent video games and aggression. Specifically, a descriptive statistics of the sample will be analyzed and detected in order to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between violent video games and any behavior of aggression and anger. The starting hypothesis of the present study is that there is a significantly high pre-existing relationship between the use of videogames and deviant behavior on a socio-emotional level (such as, for example, violence or lack of impulse control).

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The starting hypothesis of the present study assumed the existence of a (significantly high) pre-existing relationship between the use of videogames and deviant behaviors on a socio-emotional level (such as, for example, violence or lack of impulse control) . In relation to the results that emerged from our introductory research question, the tests included in the survey offer evidence that will have to be further supported by future investigations.

As can be seen from the results, the first data that emerges is an absence of high statistical significance between the hours of play activity of the video games and the perception of states of tension related to the control of anger or aggression, as highlighted in some of the items included in hoc for the structuring of emotional relationships (such as the QAG and the IGDT9SF). Additionally, there is no (significantly high) correlation between the use of video games in the past twelve months with violent PEGI 18+ content and violent or aggressive behavior dynamics. It is interesting that the dissatisfaction linked to the failure of a mission or a virtual goal does not raise any evident consequences in the daily “offline” conduct (as shown in tables 4 and 5), despite the different time spent with playful devices, both online and not. From these data it is possible to say that VVGs do not seem to exert any significantly high negative influence (e.g. Ferguson, 2015). Indeed, as Bandura (2001) says, learning by observation is not synonymous with mimicry but includes learning rules on the adequacy of particular behaviors for particular circumstances.

Furthermore, there is no high statistical significance between the alteration of mood and the regular search for new skills and / or enhancement and / or aesthetic accessories useful for the construction of your avatar. So it can be assumed that the purchase of the power-up packages are not perceived as fundamental or unique alternatives for the good performance of the play experience. Indeed, recent research (Rieger et al., 2015) has suggested how the use of a VVG can be associated not only with reduced hostility but with an increase in positive mood.

Another element of interest that could be further explored is the importance of the relationships established online, between gamers and / or users of digital platforms. As also reported in the results, there is no relevance on the totality of the dominance of virtual relationships with respect to those established in everyday life. In fact, the link established online is aimed at a common goal or to establish a short or long-term alliance, which does not affect close relationships on a real level. Within the investigation, there were no correlations with the use of video games and conduct that could be pursued from a legal point of view (the only note of relevance was the detention of Hashish, which could be associated with dynamics that are not statistically significant to our investigation on the emotional state and use of video games).

The sample is aware of the discrepancies between the virtual and real plan, also associated with a range of medium cultural and social level; evidence could be produced on a possible difference between the cultural and social components and the use of video games, tending to be linked to the socio-educational dynamics of origin.

The purpose of this investigation is to decompose and recompose the allegations and clichés about the playful conduct, the emotional state and the conduct of the user population, in order to deepen evidence and new questions.

The time and the type of video-game genre are therefore not related to deviant behaviors on an emotional and social level, nor to dependence on internet gambling. Future studies will have to deepen the individual variables that can trigger the behaviors examined here. Furthermore, the level of education and violent behavior also appear to be significantly unrelated to one another. Although this pilot research has yielded interesting results, it is not without limitations. In fact, the sample recruited is of a non-probabilistic type and is therefore not necessarily representative of the general population of Italian video gamers. Furthermore, it was not possible to check the veracity of the data, since, being a questionnaire submitted online anonymously, study authors cannot know if a subject answered the questions honestly. Furthermore, this is a quantitative investigation for informative and unscientific purposes and cannot in any way be seen as such. The participants gave their voluntary consent to the participation of the research itself and had to be of age to be able to participate. Furthermore, no feedback was provided at the end of the questionnaire and the data were stored anonymously. The participants gave their voluntary consent to the participation of the research itself and had to be of age to be able to participate. Furthermore, no feedback was provided at the end of the questionnaire and the data were stored anonymously. The participants gave their voluntary consent to the participation of the research itself and had to be of age to be able to participate. Furthermore, no feedback was provided at the end of the questionnaire and the data were stored anonymously.

This research does not refer to any university or to other institutions. Its purpose remains informative and informative. The ethical approval for data collection was given by the AIPCCG.