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Biased Estimation of Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression: Contributing Factors and Boundary Conditions

Author

Listed:
  • Jens Bender

    () (University of Koblenz-Landau, Fortstraße 7, 76829 Landau, Germany)

  • Tobias Rothmund

    () (University of Koblenz-Landau, Fortstraße 7, 76829 Landau, Germany)

  • Mario Gollwitzer

    () (Philipps University Marburg, Gutenbergstraße 18, 35032 Marburg, Germany)

Abstract

In order to improve the understanding of media violence effects, it is crucial to extend knowledge about factors that threaten the validity of such effects in empirical research. Research artifacts can be expected when participants are (a) aware of a scientist’s hypothesis, (b) motivated to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis, and (c) capable of manipulating their responses in line with their motivation. Based on social identity theory (SIT) and self-categorization theory (SCT), we assumed that identifying with the social group of video game players would provide a motivation to disconfirm the “violent video games increase aggression” hypothesis. We further assumed that the use of nontransparent aggression measures and cover stories would prevent research artifacts. Our results showed that highly identified (compared to lowly identified) players of video games reported less aggression on a transparent aggression measure but not on a nontransparent aggression measure. However, providing participants with a cover story did not prevent hypothesis awareness nor eliminate hypothesis-disconfirming response patterns. These results provide empirical support for the ideas that (a) motivational factors may contribute to a biased estimation of media violence effects, (b) cover stories may not always be effective, and (c) the use of nontransparent aggression measures can provide a valid methodological approach for avoiding biases in media effects research.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Bender & Tobias Rothmund & Mario Gollwitzer, 2013. "Biased Estimation of Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression: Contributing Factors and Boundary Conditions," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-16, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:3:y:2013:i:4:p:383-398:d:29907
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    violent video games; aggression; research artifacts; cover story; social identity; nontransparent measures;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • P - Economic Systems
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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