Computer Games Research Term Paper

Pages: 20 (5997 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 34  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Recreation


This development among others means that public safety has declined precipitously and that no one has complete immunity from the possibility of physical victimization by violent acts.

However, not all researchers have found a positive relationship between video game playing and violence. For example, Goldstein states that studies do not necessarily demonstrate the actual effects. "Some social psychologists argue that playing violent video games causes aggressive behavior, among other things (desensitization to violence, disinhibition of violence, belief in a 'scary world,' acquisition of cognitive schemas supportive of aggression). Three types of evidence are said to converge in support of this conclusion: correlational studies, field studies (which are typically correlational in nature), and laboratory experiments." Correlational research, he adds, can relate nothing about whether violent video games cause aggression. Even if it is accepted that a correlation exists between amount of time spent playing violent video games and aggressive behavior, there is no reason to think that games are the cause of aggression. Furthermore, some correlational studies find no significant relationship with aggression (Sacher; van Schie & Wiegman).

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Not only are there inconsistent results, when two researchers will study the impact of a violent game such as "Mortal Kombat" and find opposite results, but there are no regularities in definitions. For example, studies of violent video games do not always distinguish aggressive play from aggressive behavior. Observations of children on the playground may confuse mock aggression, such as pretending to engage in martial arts, with real aggression or actually trying to hurt someone. Confusing aggressive play with aggressive behavior can lead to faulty conclusions.

Measuring violent behavior is also extremely difficult and inconsistent. It is not possible to observe real aggression in the laboratory, so researchers must improvise indirect measures and indicators of potential aggression. Some of the dependent variables used in video game research include:

Hitting a bobo doll (Schutte, Malouff, Post-Gordon & Rodasta)

TOPIC: Term Paper on Computer Games Research When Considering Assignment

Coding children's interpretations of ambiguous stories (for example, a child is hit in the back with a ball). Responses were coded for the amount of negative and violent content (Kirsh).

Listing aggressive thoughts and feelings (Calvert & Tan)

Administering blasts of white noise to an unseen person, in the teacher-learner paradigm, in which errors on a learning task are punished. (Anderson & Dill).

Withholding money from another. Winkel, Novak & Hopson tested eighth-grade students in a situation in which they played teacher and were to deduct money for errors made by another student. This served as a measure of aggression.

Killing characters in a video game (Ask, Autoustinos, & Winefield).

Lee looked at the social/antisocial aspects of video game playing. The purpose of this study was to explore whether video-game play can influence the antisocial and prosocial behaviors of the players. It was hypothesized that prosocial and antisocial behaviors would depend on the degree of violence in games. More prosocial behaviors were expected by those who played non-violent games; more antisocial behaviors were expected for those playing violent games. The researchers observed male and female gamers from a wide range of age and racial/ethnic backgrounds at two arcades for instances of prosocial and antisocial behaviors when playing against each other or teamed together against the computer. Observation took place for about two to three hours on each of three days. Contrary to the hypothesis, no antisocial behavior was observed in the sample. Prosocial behavior was seen occasionally, but its appearance was not significantly different in violent and non-violent gamers, indicating that prosocial behavior was independent of game violence.

There are also several studies that find advantages to video game playing, such as socialization. Sorensen and Jessen say that it is surprising that studies on video games so rarely consider the social life of gamers. A Danish study of 5- to 17-year-olds that these researchers conducted found that "Children's fascination with violent computer games cannot be understood without considering these [social] aspects. The violent elements fascinate some children, but this fascination should not be mistaken for a fascination with violence in the real world. On the contrary, all children in the investigation repudiated real-life violence. The violent elements in computer games are attractive as spectacular effects, but also because they prompt excitement and thrill." Therefore, add Sorensen and Jessen, these games have commonality with genres known from the film industry: action movies, animation, thrillers and horror movies. The games have inherited the content of violence from a cultural tradition within fiction. Normally, these effects contain an element of exaggeration that is completely recognized by children. Similarly, playing violent computer games can be seen as a parallel to the violent and rough play traditionally found among boys (120). Some mental health professionals believe that playing video games helps certain children develop a sense of proficiency that they might not otherwise achieve.

James Paul Gee, an education professor at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, has written a book, What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy, in which he discusses 36 important learning principles that are built into good video games. They include: 1)Active Critical Learning Principle- aspects of learning environment are set up to encourage active learning; 2) Design Principle- learning about and appreciating design; 3) Semiotic Principle- learning about and appreciating interrelations across multiple sign systems (images, words, actions ... ); 4) Semiotic Domains Principle- learning involves mastering semiotic domains and being able to participate in the groups connected to them; 5) Metalevel Thinking About Semiotic Domains Principle- learning involves active and critical thinking about the relationships of the semiotic domain; 6) "Pyschosocial Moratorium" Principle- learners can take risks in a situation where real-world consequences are lowered; 7) Committed Learning Principle- learners participate in an extended engagement; 8) Identity Principle- involves taking on and playing with identities; 9) Self-Knowledge Principle- learners learn not only about the domain but about themselves; 10) Amplification of Input Principle for a little input, learners get a lot of output; 11) Achievement Principle- intrinsic rewards for learners at all levels; 12) Practice Principle- learners get practice in context where it is not boring; 13) Ongoing Learning Principle- there are cycles of new learning, automatization, undoing automatization, and new reorganized automatization; 14) "Regime of Competence" Principle; 15) Probing Principle; 16) Multiple Routes Principle- there are multiple ways to move ahead; 17) Situated Meaning Principle- meanings of signs are situated in embodied experience; 18) Text Principle- texts are not understood purely verbally; 19) Intertextual Principle- understands a text as being part of a group of texts (genre); 20) Multimodal Principle- meaning and knowledge built up through many modalities; 21) "Material Intelligence" Principle- thinking, problem solving, and knowledge "stored" in material objects in environment; 22) Intuitive Knowledge Principle- not just verbal and conscious knowledge rewarded; 23) Subset Principle; 24) Incremental Principle; 25) Concentrated Sample Principle- learner sees many more instances of fundamental signs and actions; 26) Bottom-up Basic Skills Principle- basic skills are not learned in isolation or out of context; 27) Explicit Information On-Demand; 28) Just-In-Time Principle; 29) Discovery Principle; 30) Transfer Principle; 31) Cultural Models About the World Principle- learning without degeneration of identities, abilities or social affiliations; 32) Cultural Models About Semiotic Domains Principle; 33) Distributed Principle- knowledge and meaning are distributed across learner, objects, tools, symbols, and environment; 34) Dispersed Principle- learner shares knowledge with others outside the domain; 35) Affinity Group Principle- learners constitute an "affinity group"; and 36) Insider Principle- learner is an "insider" and able to customize the learning experience.


It has been suggested that computer game addiction is like any other behavioral addiction, in that it consists of compulsive behavioral participation, a lack of interest in other activities, association with other addicts, and physical and mental symptoms when attempting to stop the behaviour, such as the 'shakes' (Soper and Millar).

Likewise, there is a concern that video game playing leads to greater obesity, which is a growing problem in Western countries. Children with higher weight status spent moderate amounts of time playing electronic games, while children with lower weight status spent either little or a lot of time playing electronic games," notes Vandewater and colleagues at The University of Texas at Austin in an article in the Journal of Adolescence.

Moderate play, while it sounds benign, can have a great impact, given the large number of American children who play electronic games. The Vandewater surveyed 2,831 children age 1 to 12, recording their media habits and calculating body mass index, a ratio of height to weight that indicates how fat or thin a person is. While both television and video game play can be considered sedentary activities, video game play was related to children's weight status while television was not. This may mean that video game play, but not television use, is indeed displacing the time children spend in more physically demanding pursuits.

Researchers in Japan have noted another physical problem with game players, as well. According to the latest research from this country that introduced video games, prolonged… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Computer Games Research.  (2005, January 23).  Retrieved September 17, 2021, from

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"Computer Games Research."  23 January 2005.  Web.  17 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Computer Games Research."  January 23, 2005.  Accessed September 17, 2021.