Violent app games and the general learning model: Arousal, affect and access to aggressive thoughts
Previous research has shown that violent video gameplay can lead to increased violent behaviour and/ or decreased prosocial behaviour due to changes in access to aggressive thoughts, affect and arousal (Anderson, Camagey & Eubanks, 2003). The present study set out to investigate the impact of violent smartphone app gameplay on access to aggressive thoughts, affect, and arousal as well as on1 helping behaviour. 60 participants (30 males), aged between 18 to 56 years (M = 24.8, SO = 7.4), were randomly assigned to play one of four games (Angry Birds Transformers, Angry Birds Go!, Temple Run 2, Dead Target Zombie). They completed the Perceived Arousal (Anderson, Deuser & DeNeve, 1995) and the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark & Tellegen, 1988) before and after gameplay. They also completed a word completion task (Anderson et al., 2003) to assess access to aggressive thoughts and an amended semantic differential to determine perceived app violence (Kennedy, 2013). Prosocial behaviour was quantified by asking participants to submit their email for further research. Results indicate that violent app game play results in higher negative affect and arousal than non-violent app gameplay. Access to aggressive thoughts was also found to be higher among the violent app game group. However, no difference was observed for helping behaviour. Results were discussed in relation to the General Learning Model. Suggestions for future research such as the development of an alternative scale for measuring perceived app violence and the inclusion of empathy as a moderating variable were made.
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