Estudos videogame e violencia

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Video Game Effects—Confirmed, Suspected, and Speculative
A Review of the Evidence
Christopher P. Barlett Craig A. Anderson Edward L. Swing
Iowa State University, USA

Simulation & Gaming Volume 40 Number 3 June 2009 377-403 © 2009 SAGE Publications 10.1177/1046878108327539 hosted at

This literature review focuses on the confirmed,suspected, and speculative effects of violent and non-violent video game exposure on negative and positive outcomes. Negative outcomes include aggressive feelings, aggressive thoughts, aggressive behavior, physiological arousal, and desensitization, whereas positive outcomes include various types of learning. Multiple theories predict, and empirical findings reveal, that violent video game exposure iscausally related to a host of negative outcomes and a few positive outcomes. Some non-violent video games have been causally related to some specific positive learning effects as well as certain types of visual cognition (e.g., spatial rotation abilities) and may be associated with some negative effects on executive control and attention disorders. Keywords: aggression; computer games;desensitization; General Aggression Model; General Learning Model; learning; negative effects; positive effects; prosocial effects; video games; violence; visual cognition

ecent statistics suggest that youth in the United States play video games an average of 9 hours per week (Gentile, Lynch, Linder, & Walsh, 2004). Survey research has found that approximately 21.4% of college freshmen played video gamesat least 6 hours per week during their senior year in high school (Cooperative Institutional Research Program, 2005), and approximately 70% of college students consider themselves avid gamers (Weaver, 2003). Statistics comparing males and females reveal that boys play violent video games more frequently than girls (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007; Gentile et al., 2004). Any way you look at it,video games are very popular, which is reflected in the 17.9 billion dollar revenue that the video game industry grossed in 2007, a 43% increase from 2006 (Berardini, 2008). In light of this massive exposure, it is important to understand the impact video games have on players. We discuss the relevant video game literature in terms of


Authors’ Note: Special thanks are warranted to Dr.Bruce Bartholow (Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, USA) and Dr. Karen Dill (Department of Psychology, Lenoir-Rhyne College, USA) for their comments on an earlier version of this article. 377
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Simulation & Gaming

confirmed, suspected, and speculative findings for negativeand positive outcomes. By confirmed, we mean effects that have received consistent empirical support using multiple research designs, paradigms, and populations, with appropriately large total samples of participants. In other words, effects are labeled confirmed when we believe that there is enough converging evidence to make causal claims regarding the effects of video game exposure on certainoutcomes. Suspected effects are those for which there is substantial empirical support, but that support currently does not allow strong causal statements because of a combination of relatively few studies, few participants, or few research designs. For example, existing studies may have used only one specific of research design (e.g., only cross-sectional), making causal claims difficult.Speculative effects are those that have received only limited empirical attention and support. The three labels (confirmed, suspected, or speculative) refer to the strength of the evidence that the video game effect is a causal one. Though all study types can vary in quality and diagnosticity of causality, in general experimental and longitudinal studies are more diagnostic of true causal effects than...