Frustration-Aggression and Video Games

gamerCheck out the following article, which is an interesting combination of two topics we explore in the lecture on aggression: the effects of violent media and the frustration-aggression model.

In the studies described, the researchers find evidence for the idea that playing video games can be frustrating, and that this experience plays just as much a role in producing subsequent aggression as does the violent content of the media itself (since they find the effects for both violent and non-violent games).

What do you think?  Do you find their conclusions persuasive?  Moreover, what do you think about the creative DV used here to operationally define aggressive behavior?

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5 Responses to Frustration-Aggression and Video Games

  1. This is very true to my experiences playing video games. When I lived at home, I often played video games with my little brother. We played a wide variety of video games together, including first person shooters and Grand Theft Auto, as mentioned in the lecture. However, out of all the games we played, the only game that produced aggressive behavior that I remember is the NFL football game Madden.

    Madden basically works by both players selecting plays, then executing a series of actions within those plays. Based on how well those players execute their actions, as well as the attributes of their team, they either succeed or fail. Because of the team attribute component of it, frustration on both our parts came about much more easily (for example if a receiver dropped a pass, it was always his fault, never that of the player controlling him). Honestly, other than this, I’m not sure why Madden is more frustrating than any other game I’ve played, but playing it almost always resulted in anger from at least one of us.

  2. Swhite13 says:

    I believe the theory that failure to master a game leads to frustration and aggression regardless of how violent the content is.

    There are certain MMORPGs (such as World of Warcraft- mentioned in article) where a player’s skills/statistics are cumulative and create an ability threshold. From that point, when battling with other online players- a random number generator creates a number within that threshold and executes it in-game. I believe this is where much of the frustration and anger derive from.

    And as Samuel mentioned above- a player dropping a pass; much of that has to do with the statistical inputs of the game’s creator. Regardless of how well the user passes the ball- the player will drop the ball X amount of times out of X, a technique used to make the game more authentic. The same theory applies for most, if not all other sports games. The only time I’ve ever seen someone throw a controller at a wall was playing NHL

  3. ahoi01 says:

    I have never been into playing video games, but I can completely empathize with this idea, even with the limited exposure I have had to them. I distinctly remember being a child and playing a very mundane game with absolutely no violence (think Tetris or PacMan), and feeling intense frustration and anger. For me, my frustration was always derived from the dissonance between what I wanted to happen on the game, and what was actually happening, which was completely independent of what game I was actually playing.

    • I agree that the frustration makes sense and I loved the creative use of DV but I think that just immediately agreeing with these findings is not a good approach. The violence in these games may not effect aggression after losing but more needs to be studied when it comes to if these games cause aggression outside of the immediate competitiveness and frustration of a game loss. I worry that findings like this can end up oversimplifying an issue and accidentally making people believe that violent video games are okay

  4. Aubrey Tan says:

    I can relate to this article a lot since I used to be pretty big into gaming back in high school. My go to system was the xbox 360 online and I can think of so many instances over the years where I got go angry towards the console. During online match play with first person shooting games such as call of duty, there was crazy amounts of competition between players who all tried super hard to kill off the other team and win the match. Being on the losing side especially by another team that is significantly better than you can be so gut-wrenching when they have all the momentum in their favor. When this happened I would end up throwing my controller and turning off the xbox in rage.

    Another more recent example of this aggression in video games that i experienced happens during “friendly” 1v1 sport games against a friend. Most of the time things can get very heated and I can be a bit of a sore loser sometimes. In games such as Fifa soccer, I remembered that I scored 3 goals against my buddy in a single half. He was so fuming in frustration that he ended ip throwing the controller into his TV and storming out the room. I thought this was hilarious but he broke the TV and controller in that single act.

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