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Priming and Negative Priming in Violent Video Games

Zendle, David (2016) Priming and Negative Priming in Violent Video Games. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This is a thesis about priming and negative priming in video games. In this context, priming refers to an effect in which processing some concept makes reactions to related concepts easier. Conversely, negative priming refers to an effect in which ignoring some concept makes reactions to related concepts more difficult. The General Aggression Model (GAM) asserts that the depiction of aggression in VVGs leads to the priming of aggression-related concepts. Numerous studies in the literature have seemingly confirmed that this relationship exists. However, recent research has suggested that these results may be the product of confounding. Experiments in the VVG literature commonly use different commercial off-the-shelf video games as different experimental conditions. Uncontrolled variation in gameplay between these games may lead to the observed priming effects, rather than the presence of aggression-related content. Additionally, in contrast to the idea that players of VVGs necessarily process in-game concepts, some theorists have suggested that players instead ignore in-game concepts. This suggests that negative priming rather than priming might happen in VVGs. The first series of experiments reported in this thesis show that priming does not happen in video games when known confounds are controlled. These results also suggest that negative priming may occur in these cases. However, the games used in these experiments were not as realistic as many VVGs currently on the market. This raises concerns that these results may not generalise widely. I therefore ran a further three experiments. In these experiments, a variety of different kinds of VVG realism were manipulated and the effects of this realism on priming measured. These experiments suggest that increased realism in VVGs does not lead to increased priming of aggression-related concepts, and therefore that the effects outlined above should generalise to a variety of games regardless of their level of realism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Computer Science (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.707142
Depositing User: Mr David Zendle
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2017 16:10
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:22
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16463

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