Study 1: Experimental Study of Violent
Video Games With Elementary School
and College Students
Study 1 was designed to examine four main questions. First, can violent children's video games increase aggression (relative to a nonviolent children's video game) in a short-term experimental context? Second, would such a violent video game effect occur primarily for children or would it also occur for college students? Third, would T-rated violent video games (those rated “T” for teens and older) produce a bigger increase in aggression than the violent children's games? Fourth, would the short-term effects of playing a violent video game be moderated by sex, prior exposure to violent media, availability of video games in one's bedroom, preference for violent video games, and parental involvement in media usage? (For a brief description of the current industry-based ratings system and ratings of the games used in Study 1, see Appendix 2.)
Inclusion of a trait measure of violence allowed examination of several additional supplementary questions. First, does prior media violence exposure predict violence level? Second, how strong is this effect for new media (video games) versus old media (TV, film)? Third, does parental involvement moderate this effect?
Participants included 9- to 12-year-olds and 17- to 29-year-olds. Younger participants were recruited through ads placed in local newspapers and on university Web pages. Older participants were recruited from the psy-