The Hitman Study: The Correlation Of Violent Video Games And Aggression

625 words - 3 pages

In 2005, the American Psychological Association suggested that the correlation between violent video games and aggression is stronger than the correlation with television. Some notable scholars have question this correlation, and wondered if it was infact true. This debate came up again after the Virginia Tech Shootings, when Philip McGraw, commonly known as Dr. Phil, and Jack Thompson blamed it on the violent video games. In 2007, the Virginia Tech Review Panel discovered that Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter, did not play video games at all.
There are three theories that explain the link between violent video game exposure and aggression. They are the social learning theory, catharsis hypothesis and mood-management theory. The social learning theory suggests that aggression is a learned behavior through a procedure called behavioral modeling. In regards to violent video games, it suggests that an individual, that is exposed to violent video games, will develop a “cognitive script related to aggression”. The catharsis hypothesis suggests that aggression is a biological and evolutionary trait that requires release. Thus suggesting that short-term exposure to violent video games will only increase aggression if an individual already has the aggression trait. The Mood-management theory suggests that an individual will choose a specific genre of media that best suits their current mood. Meaning an individual with a depressed mood will seek out violent media. Although some studies appear to support the Social Learning Theory, the Catharsis Hypothesis, they all have clear flaws in them that deems the theories incorrect.
The purpose of “The Hitman Study” by Christopher J. Ferguson and Stephanie M. Rueda was to explore the social learning theory, catharsis hypothesis and mood-management theory. The Hitman experiment examined violent video game effects on aggression, hostile feelings, and depression severity. In the study, 103 young adults, 62 men and 41 women were used. All...

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