- Beyond the lab: Investigating early adolescents' cognitive, emotional, and arousal responses to violent games
- Computers in Human Behavior
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Cognitive, emotional, and arousal responses to violent games play a central role in theoretical explanations of how violent media may affect aggression. However, existing research has focused on a relatively narrow range of responses to violent games in experimental settings. This limits our understanding of whether and how violent game-induced responses relate to aggression in real life. To address these gaps, this study investigated how cognitive effort, emotional valence, and arousal in response to violent games relate to early adolescents' aggression, both cross-sectionally and over a period of one year. In addition, we investigated how a social context variable (i.e., family conflict) predicts these responses to violent games and subsequent aggression. A sample of 448 early adolescents (10–14 years) completed survey questions and media diaries that measured their responses to violent games. Results showed that, outside the lab, a positive cross-sectional relationship between violent game-induced arousal and aggression exists. In addition, arousal mediated the relationship between family conflict and aggression. Study findings justify increased research attention to media responses outside the lab and a need for further theoretical and methodological refinement.
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