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Research Post 4: Theories on Violence

For my fourth post, I read the research article that I discussed briefly in my previous post. The findings of the article were discussed in the New York Times article I read yesterday and were as straight forward as they appeared. The researchers did not just examine video games, but also examined other forms of violent media, including movies, and found that following the release of well reviewed violent media, there was a small drop in violent crimes.

The paper discusses three possibilites for the relationship between violent video games and violent acts, those are “aggression”, “incapacitation” and “catharsis”.

The agression theory holds that violent video game players begin to view the world and the choices they make through a lens tinted by the violent video games they play. Research on this theory holds that playing violent video games “creates reasoning biases, a tendency to jump to conclusions and may even cause personality disorders.” The paper points out that while this theory points to increased violent behavior with increased exposure to video games, all the studies on it have been done over short periods of time.

The incapacitation theory states that video game players spend more time playing video games inside, which means they have less time to spend outside committing acts of violence.

The catharsis theory states that violent video games act as a release for video gamers from violent acts. This theory has been offered by gamers but never proven in a laboratory.

This is an important, reliable source for the writing of my paper. With this source I can start to form a thesis and get a good push on my research done as I will surely be utilizing some of the same articles they used for their research.


Cunningham, Scott, Engelstätter, Benjamin and Ward, Michael R., Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime (April 7, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1804959 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1804959


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