On December 14, 2012, a young adult, Adam Lanza, went into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and shot innocent school children, teachers, staff and killed himself in a five minute killing spree. He killed 20 children and seven adults (Associated Press, 2012).
American and global society were trying to make sense of this massacre. It was concluded by the media, that what result to Adam committing this crime: 1) easy access to guns, 2) mental health (Matthews, 2013), 3) video game exposure (Payne, 2013). This was not the first school shooting in which violent video games is said to be main reason that lead for the killer or killer’s real life action. The Columbine High School killings, video games as well was applied as the main factor. Playing violent video games frequently increased the likelihood of a person to be behave aggressively in the real world (Anderson, 2004; Anderson and Bushman, 2002; Anderson and Carnagey, 2010; Anderson and Dill, 2000; Bushman and Gibson, 2011; Carnagey, Anderson, and Bushman, 2007).
Video game predicts increases in cognition, arousal, and behaviors after video game playing. If people continue playing this games for a long time, the players may adopt the lessons taught by video games to their daily thoughts and behaviors (Anderson and Bushman, 2002; Anderson and Dill, 2000). The popular game Call of Duty and Resident Evil requires players to behave violently to protect other people or computer characters.
It is important to analyze video games, the lessons taught by a violent first person shooter zombie game are uniquely different form the lesson taught by a family friendly, motion based sports video game. Observational learning is governed by four mechanism, attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. If all of this conditions are met, a person may develop a new behavior.
General Aggression Model
The video game literature tends to be dominated by the anti-social effects of violent video games. Reasoning refers to a person manageable and related thought stream, and affect refers to a person’s emotional disposition at a specific moment. And a person physiological arousal is related to his or her body’s responses to a stimulus (i.e., heightened heart rate, sweating, etc.). The General Aggression Model is unclear, however, regarding the strength of these three mechanism, arousal, affect, and cognition have all been argued to be either separate or in conjunction with each other that derive the relationship between input factors and the next stage in in GAM. (GAM) (Anderson and Bushman, 2002; Anderson and Dill, 2000). The heaviest players of violent video games will be more likely to behave antisocially compared to light violent game players. Heavy violent players tend to appraise real world situations irrationally because these players are frequently thinking negative thoughts, and experiencing negative affect, or are physiologically aroused.
In order to analyze the hypothesis and research question, a conveniently collected dataset was utilized by gender, age, and race as control variables in the study. More males completed the study than females and the majority that responded were white. In the survey questions were asked like how often they played and what games they played, such as fighting, racing, rhythm, survival horror, multiplayer online games. This items was from a 2008 Pew Center video game study (Lenhart, Kahne, Middaugh, Macgill, Evans, and Mitak, 2008).
The questions also included several game examples to ensure the participant was certain if he or she played a specific type. A vast majority responded by indicating they played video games at least sometimes (90.4% played regularly, while 9.6% did not play video games). Other questions asked to indicate their level of agreement with statements, like Once in a while, I can’t control the urge to strike another person, and I often find myself disagreeing with people. The second instrument measured the enjoyment of conflict. Another question asks how much they enjoy Playing tricks on others. The survey data indicated that frequent video players are more likely than those who do not play video games to behave antisocially in the non-gaming world. Light video game players or those who do not play at all tend to be more likely to be prosocial in everyday life.
In conclusion, video game playing in general can be related to antisocial behaviors. However, at least in video games, the effects of prosocial behavioral lessons may not be a long term behavior. More frequent video game player’s leads to antisocial behaviors, therefore it is very important to limit the frequency that people play video games from all over the world. With games becoming more universal and easily accessible to anyone with a phone, tablet, or traditional console, educating everyone about the importance of limiting playing video games could help avoid a potential future with societal problems.
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