The role of misattribution in the effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Researchers generally agree that acute exposure to violent video games (VVGs) increases aggressive behavior by priming aggressive schemas or scripts, whereas other models suggest this effect might reflect misattribution processes. These models were tested across two experiments. Participants played a violent video game, Mortal Kombat 9, for 15 min, followed by an opportunity to punish another participant with noxious noise blasts during an alleged competition (experiment 1) or with freezing cold water (experiment 2). During this punishment phase, some participants were exposed to additional Mortal Kombat scenes playing in the background (the game-on condition). In experiment 1, participants in the game-on condition behaved less aggressively following provocation during the competition than participants who had no game playing in the background. Experiment 2 replicated this effect and also showed that exposure to additional cues associated with VVGs may disrupt internal attribution processes. These results challenge the notion that VVG effects on aggression reflect simple priming processes and instead might reflect misattribution of hostile thoughts and affect that VVGs produce.
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