Free Essay about Strengths and Weaknesses of Studies on the Consequences of Playing Video Games

Published: 2022-06-09
Free Essay about Strengths and Weaknesses of Studies on the Consequences of Playing Video Games
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Video games Violence Research
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1785 words
15 min read

There are many debates regarding violent video games and how they influence behaviors. While some people argue that playing violent video games makes people aggressive, others think that it helps people in self-regulation of behaviours by expressing their mind's consent. According to a study conducted by Anderson and Bushman (2001), playing violent video games leads to aggressive behavior. The researchers used meta-analytic procedures to combine and analyze the results of studies on violent video game effects based on aggressive behavior, aggressive affect, psychological arousal, aggressive cognition, and helping behavior. The study showed that playing violent video games had a significant effect on the variables indicated by an increase in aggressive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. The study further identified that exposure to violent video games leads to an increase in arousal and a decrease in helping behavior. The results of the study showed that both males and females recorded almost the same results, meaning violent games affected everyone, regardless of their gender. It is evident from the study that playing violent video games makes people aggressive as they may be prompted to act as is in the video game. This research however has its shortcomings. The meta-analytic study requires a study to analyse a variety of literature or studies that have been made on a particular topic, inclusive of those that have had various shortcomings. However, Anderson and Bushman (2001) fail to meet this requirement by citing only a few sources from previous studies to represent their study.

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Anderson and Bushman's research also had its own strengths in that it majored on a topic that has been neglected for a long time. Although other studies had been conducted, such as those on the effects of watching television and series, not much had been done concerning video games (Whitty & Young, 2016).

Another research conducted by Unsworth and Ward (2001) indicates that there is a relationship between violent games and violent behaviour. Their paper is relevant and insightful, as it provides the key findings and the outlines the mediating factors like reality, perception, and contextual features associated with violence. Their findings are a key feature in explaining the anti-social behaviour that young people, who mostly play video games, are antisocial. The research found out that there were three short- term reactions that resulted from playing which include decrease, increase and no effect. The researchers found that these reactions could be anticipated via state and personality variables. Accessibility to aggressive thoughts was measured during game play by the use of ATSS paradigm (Unsworth &Ward, 2001) then individual analysis done to monitor and evaluate change in aggressive state at post game play.

However, this study has a weakness in that it was focussed on only one video game (Quake II) to come up with its findings. Therefore, the findings may not be applicable to other types of violent games. Furthermore, the duration taken to establish findings was limited to 20 minutes, meaning that, including warm up and training sessions. Given the state of the subjects prior to the observation, there is likelihood of presenting varying results. Even so, the solutions given by the study may be difficult to implement because technology in video gaming continues to take new forms each day.

Empirical Research on People's Intention to Lie in Email, Face to Face, Or the Telephone

The internet has seen various media platforms emerge to ease communication. The use of emails is one of such innovations. There are various perspectives on whether internet has increased levels of deception or not. According to Kim, Park & Rice (2007) the internet has increased the level of deception and use of false information. On the contrary, a study conducted by Bargh, McKenna, & Fitzsimons (2002), reveals that people are more easily to lie in face-to-face communication as compared to the use of the internet. Bargh et al. (2002) argue that the internet can facilitate self-expression as compared to typical face-to-face communication. The interaction with a new acquaintance is likely to relay the true self of an individual as compared to face-to-face communication because an individual will want to be perceived well and create a good first impression (Bargh et al., 2002). Therefore, the study shows that face-to-face communication increases the chances of people to lie as compared to the use of the emails.

Galanxhi & Nah (2007), on the other hand, opposes Bargh et al. (2002) and their ideologies. Galanxhi & Nah (2007) argue that the internet facilitates the use of anthropomorphic avatars that make it easier for internet users to manipulate their identity. In cyberspace, avatars are used as electronic depictions of human beings, which are used in communication. The internet allows human beings in chat forums to select various forms, including cartoons, animas, females, males, and hybrids. In most chat forums, participants can select from a variety of forms, including male, female, neutral, animals, cartoons, or some hybrid form. In the virtual world, since their identity remains anonymous, users of the internet can log in or log out and edit information without being known. Those who deceive will further use avatars that are different from themselves. The forms of deception could be related to identity, while others could be related to the message being sent (Galanxhi & Nah, 2007). Deceptive behaviors could be harmful to individuals or the community. This is because some deceptions could be based on having a specific identity while some are meant to relay misleading information. Galanxhi & Nah (2007) note that face-to-face communication upholds sincerity.

In another study conducted by Hancock, Thom-Santelli, & Ritchie (2004), telephone interactions are frequently distributed, synchronised and record less, therefore leading to the highest cases of deception. Face-to-face interactions are comes in after use of telephones in deception, while the use of email has the lowest rates of fraud. Telephone communication, therefore, has a higher recording of deception because it is used more frequently, as compared to emails and face-to-face interaction.

Interpersonal deception theory, as developed by Buller and Burgoon (2008), is one of the approaches that are useful in understanding the deception that has become common due to Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC). The theory not only focuses on what happens within people but also what happens between people during deception in communication. The approach was developed with the aim of understanding and analyzing the interplay between deceivers and detectors who communicate with various motives. The theory expounds on the dynamic properties of interpersonal communication, nonverbal behavior, message processing, integrity, and deception as is achieved through interpersonal interaction (Buller and Burgoon, 2008).

Take-Home Message of Davinson and Sillence's (2010) Study

With the technological advancement, fraudulent activity is on the rise on the Internet. Phishing is one of the common deceitful behaviors that entails luring individuals into providing private and sensitive data or information. Measures have been put to sensitize people on measures to put in place to ensure that they do not fall victims of deceitful behaviors performed by the internet. Encouraging internet users to engage in secure online behavior is one of the methods of enhancing safety in the use of the internet. According to a study conducted by Davinson and Sillence (2010), encouraging users to behave securely in using the internet is an effective way of combating deceitful activities such as phishing. Having the information on susceptibility to fraudulent activities enables an individual to be more cautious with who they share essential information with, and in what circumstance they have to disclose the information. In addition, through interactive training program, it has become easy for people to cope with phishing. The study was guided by a model from health psychology and entailed the use of sixty-four participants. The study involved the use of a training program dubbed Anti-Phishing Phil that not only came in handy in recording the results but also trained participants in ways of defending themselves against phishing attacks. The program consisted of four rounds, and in each round, participants were required to identify the reliability of the URLs, which was useful in making them aware of URLs that are not credible. The results were recorded basing on participants with a higher risk of falling victims of fraud and those with a lower risk. From the paper, it is evident that having control measures in managing online crimes is one of the effective ways of ensuring that fraudulent activities are handled before they occur. Internet users should be aware of such practices to ensure that they are more careful in sharing information that could lead to financial losses. As a result, training and sensitization programs should be embraced as a strategy in dealing with the significant increase in deceitful behaviors, with the use of the internet.

Davidson and Sillence's study was limited since it was based on the use of self-reports. It therefore means that people gave responses according to what they thought would fit the study best and not what they experienced in the normal day-to-day use of the internet (Whitty, 2015).

From Davidson and Sillence's essay, it can be concluded that Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) should not be misused by deceiving others or using it a way of making quick money. People should be sensitized on ways of managing cyber-crimes by being made aware of fake accounts or URLs. The relevant authorities should also come up with strict measures against people who are found guilty of participating in cyber-crime, as a way of ending the vice that is leading to psychological problems among victims, entailing depression, guilt, suicidal feelings, loss of trust, and anxiety.


Anderson, C. A. (2004). An update on the effects of playing violent video games. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 113-122.

Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behaviour: A meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychological science, 12(5), 353-359.

Burgoon, J. K., & Buller, D. B. (2008). Interpersonal deception theory. Communication Theory, 6, 203-242.

Bargh, J. A., McKenna, K. Y. A., & Fitzsimons, G. M. (2002). Can you see the Real Me? Activation and expression of the 'true self' on the Internet. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 33-48.

Davinson, N. & Sillence, E. (2010). It won't happen to me: Promoting secure behaviour

among internet users. Computers in Human Behaviour, 26, 1739-1747.

Galanxhi, H., & Nah, F.F.-H. (2007). Deception in cyberspace: A comparison of text-only vs. avatar-supported medium. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 65(9), 770-783.

Hancock, J. T., Thom-Santelli, J., & Ritchie, T. (2004, April). Deception and design: The impact of communication technology on lying behaviour. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 129-134). ACM.

Kim, H., Kim, G. J., Park, H. W., & Rice, R. E. (2007). Configurations of relationships in different media: FtF, email, instant messenger, mobile phone, and SMS. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1183-1207.

Lea, M., Spears, R., & de Groot, D. (2001). Knowing me, knowing you: Anonymity effect...

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