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The Influence of Short-term Exposure to a Violent Game on Perception of Observed Pain and Self Pain

Author: YeMing
Tutor: ChenHong; Todd Jackson
School: Southwestern University
Course: Basic Psychology
Keywords: violent games desensitization pain sensation seeking
CLC: B849
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 55
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Abstract


With the development of information technology, people, especially adolescents and children spend more and more time on video entertainment, while violent element in today’s video games has been very common, and are popular for the young people. Violent games are more active and interactive than the traditional violent media, it needs individual to commit acts of violence initiatively, to identify with the violent roles in the game, and reinforce individual acts of violence directly, so it maybe have greater effects to the people than other violent media. Studies have shown that witness violence can bring the individual not only increase the aggressive behavior of negative consequences, and also may increase the violence desensitization, lead to the numb attitude to violence, which reduces the possibility of taking action to help victims when violence occurs. Violence desensitization theory refers to the reduction of negative emotional responses to violent situations. This emotional desensitization to the injury-related clues (such as pain expression, bloody) will weaken the perception of the victim’s need for help. Previous studies on violence desensitization effects are concerned about the injury-related clues from others, and the study on injury-related clues from individual itself is very rare. In this study, according to different sources of injury-related clues, two experiments would be employed to investigate the influence of violence desensitization effect led by short-term violent video games on the perception of observed pain and self pain.Experiment1examined whether the short-term violent games would have an impact on the perception of observed pain for the individuals of low violent games experiences. The subjects were60Southwestern University School males who do not often play violent games and randomly divided into two groups. Method is a mixed design with the independent variables of2(game grouping:violence VS non-violence)*2(Picture Type:Pain VS non-pain), the game grouping is the within group variable, and the picture type is the between group variable; The dependent variable is the rating of20paired pain and pain pictures; control variables are game habits (playing frequency, violence degree), trait empathy ability, and the gaming experience (difficulty, pleasure, frustration, excitement, action speed). The results shows that, without significant differences of the age, game habits and trait empathy ability, there is a one-tail marginally significant difference on the rating of pain pictures between the groups of violent game and non-violent game, t=-1.51, df=58, P<0.69, the group of violent game scores lower than the group of non-violent game; the score difference on the non-pain pictures between two groups is not significant. It suggest that short-term violent video games will reduce the individual pain of others, empathy, reducing the perception of others’ pain.Experiment2on the one hand to examine whether the short-term violent games would have an impact on the perception of self pain for the individuals of low violent games experiences; on the one hand to examine the short-term violent video games would increase the tendency of risk-taking behavior of individuals do not often play violent games. The same participants(lost4) of experiment1were recruited after one week, the method is a mixed design with the independent variables of2(game grouping: violence VS non-violence)*3(electricity strength:low VS medium VS high), the game grouping is the within group variable, and the electricity strength is the between group variable; dependent variables are pain sensory rated by the score7points scale of perceived intensity, pain affective rated by the score7points scale of perceived unpleasantness, and the tendency of risk-taking behavior measured by sensation seeking scale; control variables are game habits, aggressive level, trait of risk-taking, and gaming experience. The results show that, there are no significant differences between the two groups in the perceived intensity and unpleasantness of high-current, there are one-tail significant difference between the two groups in the perceived intensity and unpleasantness of medium-current, and there is one-tail significant difference between the two groups in the perceived unpleasantness (but not intensity) of low-current. It suggest that the impact of violent games on the individual perception of self pain is only existed in low and medium intensity stimulation, but not in high intensity stimuli; In addition, the difference between the two groups of rating thrill and adventure seeking subscale of sensation seeking scale is not significant.Finally, the study can draw the following conclusions:1, for the individuals do not often play violent games, short-term violent video games will reduce its perception of observed pain;2, for the individuals do not often play violent games, short-term violent video games will weaken their pain sensory and pain affective to a moderate-intensity stimuli, as well as pain affective (but not sensory) to a low-intensity stimuli, and have no significant effects on the pain sensory and pain affective to a high-intensity stimuli;3, for the individuals do not often play violent games, short-term violent games would not improve the tendency of their risk-taking behaviors.

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