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Video games and desensitization to violence


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Prot, Sara . (2009). Video games and desensitization to violence. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Psychology. [mentor Jelić, Margareta].

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The goal of this research was to explore whether the level of participation in a violent video game has a significant influence on emotional and cognitive desensitization to violence. It was predicted that active participation in a violent video game will lead to larger desensitizing effects than passive observation. It was also predicted that women will show greater sensitivity to violence than men. An experiment was conducted in which 220 students were randomly assigned to 3 groups (1) group which played a violent video game, (2) group which watched a violent video game and (3) control group which played a nonviolent video game. The participants then watched a short recording of a fight between two boys. Desensitization was measured as 7 aspects of the participants’ assessment of the film – emotional reaction, perception of violence severity, empathy, perception of injury severity, belief that violence is normative, intention to help, assigning punishment. No statistically significant differences between 3 groups were found for any of the 7 dependant variables. Contrary to hypotheses, a significant effect of violent game exposure on desensitization wasn’t found and a significant effect of active participation on desensitization wasn’t found. Possible reasons for the unexpected results were short exposure to the violent game (10 min), methodological errors or chronic desensitization to violence of the participants in the sample. Small but consistent differences were found – female participants showed somewhat stronger negative emotional reactions to violence than male participants.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: video games, violence, desensitization
Subjects: Psychology > Socijalna psihologija
Departments: Department of Psychology
Supervisor: Jelić, Margareta
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2011 15:19
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 23:20

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