It can be sated undoubtedly that video games influence the aggressive behavior among people. Social cognitive theory, excitation transfer theory and general aggression model are some of the theories that support the statement. Video games began to appear in 1970s and later video games included the violent concepts and ideas that persuade the people to finish off everything that come in the way of games. This paper presents how video games influence the aggressive behavior and gives an incident that caught public attraction and a study conducted on video games and aggressive behavior.
How video games influence aggressiveness?
There is an indisputable relation between video games and aggressive behavior among children, youth and among all kinds of people irrespective of sex, age and place. The psychological and social perspectives are on par with the view that video games have the power to influence the video game players both in implicit level and in explicit level. The researchers have started from 1980 to determine the influence of video games on behavior and how it leads to violent behavior and still it continues. Entertainment media such as television, computer and movies affect the behavior of the adults and children and the media creates the criteria for the behavior to determine what is wrong and right. Likewise, the video games also affect the behavior of the people especially children and adults. Video games appeared around 25 years ago in USA and it was harmless at that time. The arcade games such as Pac-Man became popular and there appeared so many other games displaying ghosts and goblins in 1980s. During 1990s the Mortal Combat became dominant video game in which the player is made disposed to destroy and kill anyone that he faces in play of the game. The Dietz, Sega and Nintendo are some of the violent video games. Some researchers are of the view that violent games trigger the feelings of hostility and anger. Some of the theories that explain the relation between violent games and behavior are given below.
- Social cognitive theory: This theory emphasizes the acquirement of knowledge from observation through social interactions, experiences and media. Therefore, people will observe and experience violent games and it will lead to violent behavior.
- Excitation transfer theory: This theory speaks that “excitations caused by different sources combine to intensify both the feelings and the actions that are cognitively determined and directed by circumstances in the immediate environment of an individual.” (Arousal Processes and Media Effects para 3). Therefore, we assume from this theory that the environment in which we live and observe play crucial role in molding up of our attitude. So, video games can influence the behavior of a person.
- General aggression model: “The General Aggression Model (GAM) is a social-cognitive model that includes situational, individual, and biological factors that interact to produce a variety of cognitive, emotional, physiological and behavioral outcomes. In any individual act of aggression, there are two basic classes of input variables: situational and individual.” (Benjamin para 7). From these theories discussed above, one thing is negotiated unanimously that there is a relation between observation and behavior. Therefore, it can be stated that violent video games trigger the aggressive behavior. People who have exposure to violent video games are found to have no pro-social behavior. Video games are repetitive and it results in creating a psychological effect that persuades the people to mould an attitude telling that violence is okay.
So many studies have been conducted to measure the aggressiveness in game addicts. Most of these studies reveal that violent video games make greater impact than any violent movie or television program as the chances for interaction is very high in video games. The Indiana University School of Medicine has made a study on the topic observing some teenagers. Frontal lobe is the part of the brain that involves in activities like decision making behavior etc. The functioning of frontal lobe would be different in people with violent nature and non-violent nature. The study made different analysis on people with disruptive behavioral disorder (DBD) and without DBD. The primary results of the study reveal that while watching aggressive video games the impulses made in the frontal lobe of adolescents with DBD is different from those without DBD. “These early findings confirm there is a difference in the brain activation patterns of youths with DBD and those without when exposed to a specific stimulus. There also may be a relationship between violent media exposure and brain activity in normal subjects.” (Aggressive Youths, Violent Video Games Trigger Unusual Brain Activity para 9). This study emphasizes on the need of further researches on the correlation between video games and functioning of the brain.
The games like Doom are used by US military for their training purposes. At the same time, the versions of doom are very popular among game addicts. As these kinds of games are only based on shooting and killing, people get inspired by the games. Violent video games can take the minds of customers to a world where imagination and real life is mixed up. “On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold launched an assault on Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, murdering 13 and wounding 23 before turning the guns on themselves.” (Shin para 3). Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were regular players of the game Doom and they imagined their school mates as their enemies. The students just fancied themselves as the heroes in the game and their school mates as their enemies. But, in the real world the enemies fight back as they are armless. This is just one of the many reported incidents in US, related to assaults among children. As children are the main customers of video games, in most of the reported incidents they are the main victims. Children always would have the tendency to imitate what super heroes and their favorite characters in movies and television programs do. In movies and television programs the actions of the characters are controlled by the makers of those programs, while in games the control is in the hands of players. This interaction of the players with the characters of the games is the main factor that creates an imaginary world.
The games like Doom, James Bond video games etc. can easily motivate violence in children. The display and description of different weapons that are used in games also can inspire the aggressiveness within.
Video game is an area where the advancement of technology reflects at its best. Latest graphic advancements used in video games attract not only children but many adolescents and adults also. As aggressive video games can make impact on human behavior, it is necessary to be monitored.
Aggressive Youths, Violent Video Games Trigger Unusual Brain Activity. Indiana University School of Medicine, 2002. Web.
Arousal Processes and Media Effects: Excitation Transfer. Book Rags, 2006.
Benjamin, Arlin James. The General Aggression Model as a Framework for Understanding Torture and Genocide: General Aggression Model. National Social Science Association, 2007. Web.
Shin, Grace. Video Games: A Cause of Violence and Aggression. Serendip, 2008. Web.