Articles Analysis: Aggression and Video Games

Articles Analysis: Aggression and Video Games

A debate on whether video games promote violent behaviour has been ongoing for a while now, with various researches providing varied views based on their findings. Some researchers find a relationship between video games and resultant violence behaviour while others see no connection between the two. More studies find a correlation between video games and violent behaviour. However, critics of such studies argue that the studies are biased because they are narrow. This discussion will analyse arguments provided by two articles on whether video games promote aggressive behaviour by synthesizing their methodologies and evidence to determine whether they are biased. Additionally, the discussion will provide a stand on the matter based on the analysis.

An article by the Centre for Educational Neuroscience states that most studies conducted to investigate the relationship between aggression and playing video games find that there is a correlation between playing violent video games and expression of aggressive behaviour. According to the article, 98 studies analysed about the aggression that involved 36,965 participants found that “violent video games were convincingly shown to influence social behavior” (2). Besides, the article argues that studies conducted in controlled environments aimed at measuring behavior change after participants played violent video, showed that there was an immediate change of behavior among participants who played violent video games. Moreover, the article states that violent video games have aggressive longitudinal effects. For instance, it argues that previous studies found that an individual who played an intense video game at point A showed aggressive behavior at another point B (2). According to the article, there is consistency in the pattern of findings from the articles even though the aggressive effects were not significant enough.

The article concludes that violent video games lead to aggression based on the consistency of the studies. This article made several assumptions in its assertion that violent video games lead to aggressive behavior. For instance, in its first argument, it relied on the findings of 98 studies whose selection criteria was not mentioned (2). The selection criteria may have been based on the titles of the articles, which may include a predetermined conclusion showing a positive correlation. Additionally, there is an assumption in the second argument that the aggressive behavior showed at point B resulted from playing a violent video game at point A. The article stated, “video game play at point A has been related to aggression at later point B” (2). The aggression may have been triggered by other factors encountered by the individual between the two points. Moreover, the article admits that the findings of the studies were not significant enough but goes ahead to draw an affirmative conclusion based on the consistency of the findings. The argument by the article that prosocial video games lead to positive behavior change in the measure as negative behavior change resulting from violent video games is an affirmation by the article that aggression results from playing violent video games.

Another article by Kleinman Zoe, a BBC technology reporter refutes the possibility of an association between playing violent video games and exhibiting aggressive behavior. The article criticizes explicitly the report of the American Psychology Association, which reviewed various publications to conclude that violent video games lad to aggressive behavior. The article relies on the criticism of other academicians to argue that violent video games do lead to aggression among players. For instance, it states that the findings of the APA review were unreliable because most publications included in the review were not peer-reviewed. The article goes ahead to cite Middlesex University psychology associate professor, Dr. Mark Coulson who argues that violent video games do lead to long term violent behavior, even though there are short term effects, which fade away after a short while (2). The article ascertains this argument by stating that players of violent games do not display aggression after the game, “However, most people who played graphically violent games (such as Call of Duty, Hitman, Mortal Kombat) did not resort to violence – and most video games were not violent” (2). The article also states that despite the increase in the number of youth playing video games in the world today, there is a significant decrease in violence in society. The argument was based on a report written by 230 academicians to respond to APA claims that video games lead to aggressive behavior among children and the youth.

The article goes ahead to dissociate aggression and violent video games by stating that an Oxford Internet Institute found that aggression of video game players resulted from frustrations of the player’s inability to play as opposed to the content of the game. According to the study, a player who was unable to score higher due to lack of mastery of the war in the game may come out of the game with aggressive behavior, which manifests in violence (3). This article had several assumptions even though it pointed the biases and assumptions in APA, which included using non-peer reviewed articles. For instance, arguing that there is no correlation between aggressive behavior and violent video game content based because APA review publications were not peer reviewed “work included in the study that may not have been subject to peer review, where it is critiqued by the wider academic community” (5). This argument does not hold because most of the studies were research-based while the argument is an opinion with no statistical data to support the claim. Additionally, the evidence that frustration during playing time leads to aggression as opposed to video game content is far-fetched because there is no standard method of measuring the source of aggression after a player leaves the screen or game place.

The article by Centre for Educational Neuroscience takes a position similar to mine because of the evidence it provided to support the claims. For instance, if more than 98 studies conducted by different researchers and involving different participants totaling to 36,965 shows that there is a relationship between violent video content and aggressive behaviour, then it is most likely that the relationship exists. For instance, some of the studies showed behaviour change after an individual had played a violent video game. Children are still developing physically and cognitively. They are likely to play games with emotions which, when repeated severally, are likely to become their habit. However, the article by Kleinman Zoe, the BBC technology reporter offers a different perspective on my position. I would still validate this article because it acknowledges that there is a temporary behavior change where the players of violent video games are like to become aggressive a short while after playing the game, but the behavior later fades, “I fully acknowledge that exposure to repeated violence may have short-term effects – you would be a fool to deny that” (2). This acknowledgment is an affirmation that violent video game content leads to aggression.