Violence in Video Games: Examining Violence and Competitiveness as Predictors of Verbal Aggressiveness
Sean D. Badeer, Kathrine L. Lukes, Sarah A. Oltjenbruns, & Sergio D. Orozco
Wayne State College
April 11, 2013
Violence in video games is the topic of much debate and controversy in the public arena. For this reason, it has been a heavily researched topic in areas of psychology and communication (Jeong, Biocca & Bohil, 2012). Much of the research on the topic examines the relationship between the violence in video games and aggression. However, despite the large community of research on the topic, researchers in communication have yet to ...view middle of the document...
Meanwhile, U.S. citizens waited for a response and explanation from the National Rifle Association. When the NRA crafted a response to the issue of gun violence, they placed accusation of increasing gun violence on one medium: violent video games (Beekman, 2012).
Violence in Video Games. The NRA’s issue with violent video games is not a recent phenomena or even a unique claim. Video game violence has been heavily researched in a variety of different contexts and disciplines (Hartmann & Vorderer, 2010; Chittaro & Sioni, 2012; Lam, Cheng & Liu, 2013; Engelhardt, et al, 2011; Jeong, Biocca & Bohil, 2012). The majority of research examines the correlation between video game violence and aggression (Lam, Cheng & Liu, 2013; Engelhardt, et al, 2011; Jeong, Biocca & Bohil, 2012). While the research on video game violence is vast, there is a deficiency of research examining the correlation between competitiveness and aggression.
Aggression. In psychology, aggression is a factor often studied in relation to video games and video game violence. Engelhardt, Bartholow & Saults (2011) examined how violent and nonviolent video games differently affect physical aggression. The researchers also stated that “Considerable evidence indicates that violent video games cause increases in aggression” (Engelhardt, Bartholow & Saults, 2011, p. 539). This measured physical form of aggression is often see discussed in popular media and researched in psychology. The considerably different communicative aspect of aggression is verbal aggressiveness. While physical aggression and verbal aggressiveness are often connected, they are manifested in different ways and therefore require different research methods (Rill, et al, 2009).
Competitiveness. While research examining aggression and video game violence is vast, research examining video game competitiveness and aggression is lacking. Competitiveness is a fundamental aspect of video games, and Adachi and Willoughby (2011) argue that it could be a stronger predictor of aggression than violence. These conflicting research results between violence and competitiveness as predictors of aggression require a two-pronged approach.
The purpose of this study is to examine the impacts of competitiveness and violence in video games on verbal aggressiveness. In order to examine these factors, the following research question was developed:
RQ1: Which is a stronger predictor of verbal aggressiveness: video game violence or competitiveness?
Furthermore, this study examines the correlation between verbal aggressiveness and attitudes toward violence. In order to examine these factors, the following research question was developed:
RQ2: Does verbal aggressiveness predict attitudes toward violence?
Sample. Participants for this study were members of the general public ages 19-34 who indicated that they play video games 1 hour or more per week. 52 participants completed the...