Social Kombat in video games: interacting with others while playing violent video games may reduce levels of aggression and frustration

Henry Ernest Cook IV, The College of Wooster


The current study examines the influence of social interaction on the effects of playing a violent video game. Previous research has provided mixed results on the effects of violent video games and the factors that contribute to increase in aggression and frustration. Behavioral aggression and frustration were measured in 66 participants using the State Hostility Questionnaire after playing a violent fighting game known as Tekken in three experimental conditions: Player versus Computer; Player versus Player; Player versus Computer (w/ non-playing individual). Results suggest that face-to-face interaction while playing against another human being reduces reported and observable levels of aggression and frustration, in comparison to playing against the computer. Enhancements of aggression during game play against the computer may be a result of the mechanisms of the game's computer controlled opponent, though the violent content within the game itself may influence these levels to a limited degree; this effect was not seen to play pivotal role in situations of social interaction.