The effect of violent video game playing on gamer's views of victims of crime

McLean, L., 2015. The effect of violent video game playing on gamer's views of victims of crime. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This research was designed to explore the relationship between violent video game play and attitudes towards victims. As the violent genre of games become more popular and as the graphics and content becomes even more realistic and immersive, there has been concern that this media form offers a different perspective on violence to players than more passive forms of media. Much of the research in the area of violent video game research has focused on changes in players in terms of aggressive behaviour, following exposure to these games. The present research was designed to explore any changes in affect and cognition, in terms of attitudes, that may be associated with video game play, and also to explore any factors that may moderate or mediate these changes in players, with a particular emphasis on adolescents and female gamers. The overall aims of the thesis were to establish i) the attitudes of gamers towards victims of crime ii) the role of moral disengagement strategies in violent video game play iii) the nature and experience of female violent video game play. The aims were addressed through four stages of linked research utilising a multi method design including a survey of adolescents (n=206), semi structured interviews (n=50), an online and paper survey (n=605) and analysis of a female gamer online discussion posts, in order to explore the impact of violent video game play The principal findings of this thesis noted young people who played violent video games reporting less concern for victims of crime, and attributed more blame to the victims of crime, particularly non serious victims and those that could be viewed as culpable for the crimes. While moral disengagement has been proposed as a mechanism through which people may justify immoral conduct, in the current studies the video game players were less likely than sports players to endorse moral disengagement strategies. They were found however to use a specific set of moral disengagement strategies (cognitive restructuring) than sports players and this may be related to the structures of the games, both virtual and sporting. In relation to female gamers, gaming was found to be a key element of the female gamers’ identity, with females discussing the integration of gaming into their daily lives on a number of different levels. Similar to previous research, the social elements of gaming was highlighted while simultaneous difficulties with Page 12 of 281 online interaction emphasised for female gamers. The results of the studies are discussed in relation to the experience of gaming and the possible mediating and moderating factors that may explain these effects. The results suggest that cognitive distortions, developmental stages, gender and differences in identification with game characters may explain differences in attitudes towards victims which were observed. These concepts are discussed in relation to risk and protective factors that may be important in understanding any relationship between violent video game play and less positive attitudes towards victims.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: McLean, L.
Date: May 2015
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 03 Jun 2016 14:15
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 14:15

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