Examining the effects of realism and perspective on aggression in a video game

Eric W. Klingemier, The College of Wooster


This study investigates how differences in perspective (1st vs. 3rd) and realism (realistic vs. unrealistic) in a violent video game affect hostile expectation and directed aggression levels. Participants (N = 29) read an ambiguous story stem and were asked to identify what they felt the main character would do, say, think, and feel when faced with potential conflict. Next, they played a violent video game in 1 of 4 conditions (1st person realistic, 1st person unrealistic, 3rd person realistic, 3rd person unrealistic). Finally they read and responded to another ambiguous story stem and were asked to choose the difficulty rating for the next participant. Not only were there no significant main effects found for perspective and/or realism, but playing the violent video game across all 4 conditions did not significantly affect hostile expectation or directed aggression levels. These results are not consistent with the findings of previous studies or the General Aggression Model.