Short-term effects of prosocial video games on aggression: an event-related potential study

Yanling Liu, Zhaojun Teng, Haiying Lan, Xin Zhang, Dezhong Yao
2015 Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience  
Previous research has shown that exposure to violent video games increases aggression, whereas exposure to prosocial video games can reduce aggressive behavior. However, little is known about the neural correlates of these behavioral effects. This work is the first to investigate the electrophysiological features of the relationship between playing a prosocial video game and inhibition of aggressive behavior. Forty-nine subjects played either a prosocial or a neutral video game for 20 min, then
more » ... participated in an event-related potential (ERP) experiment based on an oddball paradigm and designed to test electrophysiological responses to prosocial and violent words. Finally, subjects completed a competitive reaction time task (CRTT) which based on Taylor's Aggression Paradigm and contains reaction time and noise intensity chosen as a measure of aggressive behavior. The results show that the prosocial video game group (compared to the neutral video game group) displayed smaller P300 amplitudes, were more accurate in distinguishing violent words, and were less aggressive as evaluated by the CRTT of noise intensity chosen. A mediation analysis shows that the P300 amplitude evoked by violent words partially mediates the relationship between type of video game and subsequent aggressive behavior. The results support theories based on the General Learning Model. We provide converging behavioral and neural evidence that exposure to prosocial media may reduce aggression.
doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00193 pmid:26257620 pmcid:PMC4513560 fatcat:pok2m6hufzffnlj5ugdcslfhhm