By Andrew Przybylski, Edward Deci, C. Scott Rigby, & Richard Ryan.
Published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol 106, pp 441-457).
Do games foster aggression? The extent to which games contribute to aggression is hotly debated. In this research based on Self-Determination Theory, we tested whether gaming would be associated with indicators of human aggression to the degree that elements in games impede players’ fundamental psychological need for competence. The seven studies in this research, (using multiple methods to manipulate player competence and a range of approaches for evaluating aggression), indicated that competence-impeding play led to:
- higher levels of aggressive feelings,
- easier access to aggressive thoughts, and
- a greater likelihood of enacting aggressive behavior.
Results indicated that player perceived competence was positively related to gaming motivation, a factor that was, in turn, negatively associated with player aggression. Overall, this pattern of effects was found to be independent of the presence or absence of violent game contents.