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Societies 2013, 3(4), 383-398; doi:10.3390/soc3040383
Article

Biased Estimation of Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression: Contributing Factors and Boundary Conditions

1,* , 1
 and 2
Received: 16 September 2013; in revised form: 8 October 2013 / Accepted: 18 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Media Violence Effects)
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Abstract: In order to improve the understanding of media violence effects, it is crucial to extend knowledge about factors that threaten the validity of such effects in empirical research. Research artifacts can be expected when participants are (a) aware of a scientist’s hypothesis, (b) motivated to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis, and (c) capable of manipulating their responses in line with their motivation. Based on social identity theory (SIT) and self-categorization theory (SCT), we assumed that identifying with the social group of video game players would provide a motivation to disconfirm the “violent video games increase aggression” hypothesis. We further assumed that the use of nontransparent aggression measures and cover stories would prevent research artifacts. Our results showed that highly identified (compared to lowly identified) players of video games reported less aggression on a transparent aggression measure but not on a nontransparent aggression measure. However, providing participants with a cover story did not prevent hypothesis awareness nor eliminate hypothesis-disconfirming response patterns. These results provide empirical support for the ideas that (a) motivational factors may contribute to a biased estimation of media violence effects, (b) cover stories may not always be effective, and (c) the use of nontransparent aggression measures can provide a valid methodological approach for avoiding biases in media effects research.
Keywords: violent video games; aggression; research artifacts; cover story; social identity; nontransparent measures violent video games; aggression; research artifacts; cover story; social identity; nontransparent measures
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bender, J.; Rothmund, T.; Gollwitzer, M. Biased Estimation of Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression: Contributing Factors and Boundary Conditions. Societies 2013, 3, 383-398.

AMA Style

Bender J, Rothmund T, Gollwitzer M. Biased Estimation of Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression: Contributing Factors and Boundary Conditions. Societies. 2013; 3(4):383-398.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bender, Jens; Rothmund, Tobias; Gollwitzer, Mario. 2013. "Biased Estimation of Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression: Contributing Factors and Boundary Conditions." Societies 3, no. 4: 383-398.

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