Philippa Nottingham – U1652980
HIB 2004 – Cognition; Brain and Behaviour
Anderson and Bushman (2002) conducted research into violent media which suggested that aggressive cognitions (schema) and increased arousal can be triggered by short term exposure to violent media. Within this experiment, it was examined whether short term exposure to fantasy violent media posed an impact on the internal state in the General Aggression Model (GAM). An independent design with a total of 81 undergraduate students, 43 male and 38 female, was used. Participants were randomly assigned to watch either a fantasy violent film clip (Starship Troopers) or a nonviolent film clip (waterfall). EDA transducers were attached to the participants’ fingers and the Biopac MP35 Acquisition Unit was used to measure the participants pulse. The participants then filled out the Buss and Perry Aggression Questionnaire (1992). Results suggested that the total aggression score was significantly higher, with a mean difference of 19.82, with the violent clip and that the pulse score was also significantly higher with the violent film clip with a mean difference of 7.15.
Anderson and Bushman (2002) defined aggression as behaviours which are directed towards other individuals, with immediate “intent to cause harm’. When the General Aggression Model (GAM) was formed as it describes interactions that individuals have with their environment which could increase interpersonal aggression likelihood. A door was opened for other theories to be better integrated as it provided a more substantial explanation based on aggression with ‘multiple motives’ like passive or instrumental aggression (Anderson & Bushman, 2001).
The centre of the GAM (Anderson &Bushman, 2002) is that an individual has a present internal state down to two input variables, one being person factors and the other being situational factors. An example for personal factors would be an individuals own attitudes when referring to aggression and situational factors would be the violent media they are exposed to or the violence they see around other people. In terms of the GAM, cognition, affect, and arousal is representative of the present internal state. Exposure to violent media is a situational variable which will lead to the probability of increased aggressive behaviour. Therefore, short-term exposure to violent media is something that could cause an individual to form primed aggressive cognitions such as an aggressive perceptual schemata, later resulting in possibilities of both impulsive and thoughtful aggressive actions due to an aggressive affective state and arousal increase.
Research on the effects of fantasy media on aggression mainly focusses on video games and the violent exposure they give to young people. Anderson et al., (2010) concluded that its strongly suggested that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increasing generalised aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, and a general lack of empathy and prosocial behaviour characteristics. Berkowity and Geen (1966) reported that men who had witnessed a violent fight scene were more likely to administer more shocks to a person. There was an association made with witnessed aggression as cues were heightened for aggressive responses leading to participants evoking stronger volumes of aggression. This means that exposure to violent media leads to aggressive knowledge structures in a persons memory being activated leading to priming (Anderson & Bushman 2001). Its further suggested that the cognitive route of the GAM can be linked to violence in media content. While it is argued that violence in video games is affective the cognitive route of the GAM, it’s also shown how competitive non-violent video games can subsequently lead to aggression in a person’s internal state due to excitement within the game (Anderson & Dill, 2000). Through this it is learnt that differentiations in situational variables impact a person’s internal state but Anderson and Bushman (2001) argue that a development in primed aggressive cognitions, like schemas or scripts, is down to the continuity in exposure to violence in media.
Barlett et al., (2009) resulted in the indication that aggressive feelings, thoughts, behaviour increased following violent gameplay, alongside peoples’ heart rate which also initially increased after violent video game play. This supports that physiological arousal has a scientific contribution when referring to the GAM (Anderson & Bushman 2002) as it tends to be characteristic of increased aggression.
The experimental aim of this research was to attempt a replication of Anderson and Bushmans’ (2002) findings of which support the GAM which they developed through their findings. The aim is to expeller whether a fantasy violent film clip is functional as stimuli in affecting the components of the GAM which are both arousal and cognition.
For the experiment there are two research hypotheses; the first hypothesis is that the total aggression score (Buss & Perry, 1992) will be significantly higher with the fantasy violent film clip (starship troopers) in comparison to the nonviolent film clip (waterfall), the second is that the score for the pulse will be significantly higher with the fantasy violent clip compared to the nonviolent clip.
Participants or Subjects
A total of 81 undergraduate students was used to conduct this research and from this sample 43 participants were male and 38 were female. The method for getting participants was an opportunity sample, as they were students at the University of Huddersfield, meaning that the mean age was 21.
The participants were randomised into the two film conditions and it was run on a voluntary basis. In each lab session there were about 8-10 participants exposed to one film clip, each session running a different clip.
Materials and/or Apparatus
The materials used were the 2 film clips as each lab was showing a different one (3 min each): the fantasy violent clip (Starship troopers) and the nonviolent clip (waterfall). Then the model of the Biopac was Biopac MP35 Acquisition Unit as they were used to measure the physiological responses. The other materials were Biopac Student Lab pro which was the software that was used to analyse the data and Signa Gel which was used for the electrodes.
Buss, A. H., & Perry, M. (1992). The aggression Questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 63, 452-459 was one of the cognition measures, being the questionnaire used to measure four factors: Physical aggression (PA), Anger (A), Hostility (H), and Verbal aggression (VA) and in order to find the Total Aggression Score, these four factors were added together.
The two physiological measures were the Pulse rate – Beats per minute (BPM) and then the Data for the baseline condition and experimental condition was taken.
For this research an independent design was used as each participant only engaged with one independent variable . There was one independent variable having the two levels of fantasy violence or nonviolent film clips, then the dependant variables were pulse (BPM) and Total aggression score.
Firstly Instructions were presented to the participants as they were also told about ethics prior to the experiment and then commanded to attach pulse electrodes. EDA transducers were attached to the participants fingers with Signa gel. The baseline condition was established by exposing participant to blank screen for 3 minutes, then the film began for another 3 minutes. Individuals were made to remain seated throughout the clip as their physiological responses were recorded to prevent any other confounding variables (being movement) from effecting the result. Finally, participants were then told to fill the Buss and Perry Aggression questionnaire.
An independent-samples t-test was used to evaluate the hypotheses that fantasy violent media causes short-term effects on cognition (aggression score) and on physiological arousal (Pulse). The independent variable (IV) was the film clip and whether or not it contained fantasy violence, and the dependent variables (DV) were pulse and the aggression scores. All parametric assumptions were met for an independent-samples t-test to be conducted. A two-tailed test was used and normality assumptions were met and Levenes test for homogeneity of variance was not significant (p >.05), ensuring homogeneity of variance (Field, 2006). There was no missing data or data cleaning needed in this experiment and the results are normally distributed.
Means and standard deviations for total aggression scores for each condition is presented in Table 1. While means and standard deviations for the pulse scores are in Table 2.
It was found that there was a significant difference on the media content and total aggression score, t(79) = 24.12, p < 0.05. The extent in score differences in the means for total aggression (mean difference = 19.82, 95% Cl 21.46 - 18.18) was very large (eta squared = 0.88). In hypothesis two it was also found that the pulse score difference was significant, pulse: t(79) = 12.92, p <0.05. The magnitude of the difference in the pulse means (mean difference = 7.15, 95% CI 8.25 - 6.05) was substantial (eta squared = 0.68). Discussion According to the results, hypothesis one was accepted as the score for total aggression was significantly higher with the fantasy violent clip than the nonviolent clip. Regarding the pulse, the second hypothesis was also accepted as the pulse was significantly higher with the fantasy violent clip than the nonviolent clip. The results showed that total aggression scores has significantly risen following the fantasy violent film clip (hypothesis 1), which corresponds with results acquired by Anderson et al., (2010) who found that results showed that violent video-games is significantly related to higher cognitions for aggression. The difference between the violent and non-violent conditions was significant, therefore supporting the GAM where Anderson and Bushman (2001) stated that violent media, fantasy or not, will prime aggressive thoughts. Anderson and Dill (2000) had results where a positive correlation was shown when exposure to violent video games was present in regards to aggressive cognitions. Individuals have been found to be much more likely to show aggressive behaviours resulted by aggressive scripts due to predispositions of certain traits (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). However this contrasts results found by Ferguson et al., (2008) which concluded that previous experiences of media violence caused no differences in aggressive cognitions. This means that there is a differentiation of the effects dependant on the time period between the exposure to media violence, consistency of exposure, and when the aggression score was taken. It is also suggested by Ferguson and Savage (2012) that the associations with aggression and violent media could also be due to the content being exciting to the individual. It is even further explained by the finding that wherever participants were exposed to violent media and non-violent media may have results dependant on the exciting content rather than whether there was violence shown or not. This is used in regards to physiological arousal as situational factors such as these could also effect the internal state, whether its aggression or not which is representative of Zillman's Excitation Transfer theory (Zillmann, 1983 cited in Anderson, Deuser & DeNeve, 1995). This presents a valid argument that the pulse scores can be depicting excitement over aggression. However, it has been suggested by Becker (2007) that the Buss and Perry questionnaire (1992) has a likelihood to be confounded by social desirability responses. This is relevant when referring to aggression measures as the nature of the questions and response options indicates possibilities of individuals purposely behaving in a way of which is to be expected dependant of the variable they observed. When referring to aggression and media research in general, publications which have a high correlation between the variables are used to a greater proportion than ones which are unsupportive of the relationship between media violence with aggressive cognitions and physiological reactions (Rosenthal & Rosnow, 1991). This has resulted in literature provides a biased sample of all the studies which have actually been carried out which portrays an image that there are more positive findings than what actually exist (Ferguson, 2007). A piece of contrary research applicable to the GAM is of Geen and Berkowitz (1966) where it is suggested that aggression with contextual justifiability can arouse more aggression with an unjust motive. Meaning that the GAM is lacking in the differentiation to the context of aggression and is ignorant to this factor of influence (Ferguson & Dyck, 2012). To conclude this, results are explained by the GAM in a satisfactory manner which means that while the positive relationship is substantial there is more research required in regards to context, realism, and data collection. A state questionnaire would also be more applicable to this research, as the trait questionnaire asks questions which are explanatory of a persons constant personality rather than mood or aggressive emotions. For future research, a questionnaire specific to a persons thoughts and feelings rather than personality types. Overall, this research does have a notable result concerning fantasy media and aggression as the relationship of pulse and Total Aggression Score (Buss & Perry, 1992) with the nature of violent content is substantial and reflective of previous research as discussed. References Anderson, C., & Bushman, B. (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. http://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9280.00366 Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2002). Human aggression. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 27–51. Anderson, C., & Dill, K. (2000). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviour in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(4), 772-790. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037//0022-35188.8.131.522 Anderson, C., Shibuya, A., Ihori, N., Swing, E., Bushman, B., Sakamoto, A., Rothstein, H. and Saleem, M. (2010). Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in Eastern and Western countries: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, online 136(2), pp.151-173. Anderson, C., Deuser, W., & DeNeve, K. (1995). Hot Temperatures, Hostile Affect, Hostile Cognition, and Arousal: Tests of a General Model of Affective Aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21(5), 434-448. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167295215002 Barlett, C., Branch, O., Rodeheffer, C., & Harris, R. (2009). How long do the short-term violent video game effects last? Aggressive Behavior, 35(3), 225-236. doi:10.1002/ab.20301 Becker, G. (2007). The Buss–Perry Aggression Questionnaire: Some unfinished business. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(2), 434-452. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.05.004 Berkowity, L., & Geen, R. G. (1966). Film violence and the cue properties of available targets. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3(5), 525-530. doi:10.1037/h0023201 Buss, A. H., & Perry, M. (1992). The aggression Questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 452-459. Ferguson, C. J. (2007). Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12(4), 470-482. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2007.01.001 Ferguson, C. J., & Dyck, D. (2012). Paradigm change in aggression research: The time has come to retire the General Aggression Model. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17(3), 220-228. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2012.02.007 Ferguson, C. J., Rueda, S. M., Cruz, A. M., Ferguson, D. E., Fritz, S., & Smith, S. M. (2008). Violent Video Games and Aggression. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35(3), 311-332. doi:10.1177/0093854807311719 Ferguson, C., & Savage, J . (2012). Have recent studies addressed methodological issues raised by five decades of television violence research? A critical review. Aggression And Violent Behaviour, 17(2), 129-139. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2011.11.001 Rosenthal, R., & Rosnow, R. (1991). Essentials of behavioral research: Methods and data analysis. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Appendix Strongly disagree Strongly agree 1 Some of my friends think I'm a hothead 1 2 3 4 5 2 If I have to resort to violence to protect my rights, I will 1 2 3 4 5 3 When people are especially nice I wonder what they want 1 2 3 4 5 4 I tell my friends openly when I disagree with them 1 2 3 4 5 5 I have become so mad that I have broken things 1 2 3 4 5 6 I can't help getting into arguments when people disagree with me 1 2 3 4 5 7 I wonder why sometimes I feel so bitter about things 1 2 3 4 5 8 Once in a while I cannot control the urge to strike another person 1 2 3 4 5 9 I am an even tempered person 1 2 3 4 5 10 I am suspicious of overly friendly strangers 1 2 3 4 5 11 I have threatened people I know 1 2 3 4 5 12 I flare up quickly, but get over it quickly 1 2 3 4 5 13 Given enough provocation, I may hit another person 1 2 3 4 5 14 When people annoy me I may tell them what I think of them 1 2 3 4 5 15 I am sometimes eaten up with jealousy 1 2 3 4 5 16 I can think of no good reason for ever hitting a person 1 2 3 4 5 17 At times I feel I have gotten a raw deal out of life 1 2 3 4 5 18 I have trouble controlling my temper 1 2 3 4 5 19 When frustrated, I let my irritation show 1 2 3 4 5 20 I sometimes feel that people are laughing at me behind my back 1 2 3 4 5 21 I often find myself disagreeing with people 1 2 3 4 5 22 If somebody hits me, I hit back 1 2 3 4 5 23 I sometimes feel like a powder keg ready to explode 1 2 3 4 5 24 Other people always seem to get the breaks 1 2 3 4 5 25 There are people who pushed me so far, we came to blows 1 2 3 4 5 26 I know that "friends" talk about me behind my back 1 2 3 4 5 27 My friends say I am somewhat argumentative 1 2 3 4 5 28 Sometimes I fly off the handle for no good reason 1 2 3 4 5 29 I get into fights a little more than the average person 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly agree Strongly disagree 1 My friends say I am somewhat argumentative 1 2 3 4 5 A 2 Sometimes I fly off the handle for no good reason 1 2 3 4 5 PA 3 I tell my friends openly when I disagree with them 1 2 3 4 5 H 4 Some of my friends think I'm a hothead 1 2 3 4 5 VA 5 Once in a while I cannot control the urge to strike another person 1 2 3 4 5 PA 6 Given enough provocation, I may hit another person 1 2 3 4 5 VA 7 At times I feel I have gotten a raw deal out of life 1 2 3 4 5 H 8 I am sometimes eaten up with jealousy 1 2 3 4 5 PA 9 I sometimes feel like a powder keg ready to blow 1 2 3 4 5 A Reverse 10 Other people always seem to get the breaks 1 2 3 4 5 H 11 I wonder why sometimes I feel so bitter about things 1 2 3 4 5 PA 12 If somebody hits me, I hit back 1 2 3 4 5 A 13 I sometimes feel that people are laughing at me behind my back 1 2 3 4 5 PA 14 When people annoy me I may tell them what I think of them 1 2 3 4 5 VA 15 When frustrated, I let my irritation show 1 2 3 4 5 H 16 If I have to resort to violence to protect my rights, I will 1 2 3 4 5 PA Reverse 17 I am an even tempered person 1 2 3 4 5 H 18 There are people who pushed me so far, we came to blows 1 2 3 4 5 A 19 I flare up quickly, but get over it quickly 1 2 3 4 5 A 20 I can't help getting into arguments when people disagree with me 1 2 3 4 5 H 21 I am suspicious of overly friendly strangers 1 2 3 4 5 VA 22 I have trouble controlling my temper 1 2 3 4 5 PA 23 I can think of no good reason for ever hitting a person 1 2 3 4 5 A 24 I have threatened people I know 1 2 3 4 5 H 25 I have become so mad that I have broken things 1 2 3 4 5 PA 26 I often find myself disagreeing with people 1 2 3 4 5 H 27 When people are especially nice I wonder what they want 1 2 3 4 5 VA 28 I get into fights a little more than the average person 1 2 3 4 5 A 29 I know that "friends" talk about me behind my back 1 2 3 4 5 PA