Title page for ETD etd-1107102-220029

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Meyers, Kelly Stephen
URN etd-1107102-220029
Title Television and Video Game Violence: Age Differences and the Combined Effects of Passive and Interactive Violent Media
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Katie Cherry Committee Chair
Donald P. Marzolf Committee Co-Chair
Bjorn Meyer Committee Member
Jason Hicks Committee Member
Robert Mathews Committee Member
Laura Sells Dean's Representative
  • children
  • violence
  • television
  • video games
Date of Defense 2002-11-04
Availability unrestricted
The present research examined the combined effects of violent video games and violent TV programs on third and sixth-grade boys’ thoughts and behavior. In individual sessions, demographic information about the children’s television viewing and video game playing habits was collected. Participants were exposed to one of six following media conditions for 15 minutes; a) watch a violent (wrestling) or a non-violent video segment (basketball), b) play a violent or a non-violent game, or c) watch a violent or non-violent video segment and then play a video game containing the same characters and content.

The potential for violent media to prime aggression was examined by utilizing two cognitive (word-stem completion task and normative beliefs about aggression questionnaire) and one behavioral measure (Bobo doll interaction). Exposure to violent media was expected to lead to increased aggressive thoughts and behaviors in both younger and older children. Younger children were expected to be more strongly influenced by violent media than older children. However, older boys were expected to demonstrate greater priming on the word-completion task. Finally, consistent with Huesmann’s (1986) social developmental theory, the combination of violent video games and violent television content was expected influence children more strongly than either video games or television alone.

Key findings of the present research were as follows: 1) Children exposed to violent media content endorsed higher levels of aggressive behavior than did children exposed to non-violent content. 2) Children exposed to violence in the combined media condition endorsed significantly higher levels of aggressive behavior than did those in the non-violent media condition. 3) Sixth-grade boys endorsed higher levels of aggressive behavior and produced more aggressive words on the word-stem completion task than did third-grade boys. 4) Third-grade boys were more aggressive toward the Bobo doll than were sixth-grade boys.

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