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Video Games Violence and Aggression

We will be conducting a quasi-experimental study as they are used to distinguish relationships in preexisting variables (Privitera, 2020). We decided to use a quasi-experimental research design as the conditions and experiences of participants are not in our full control and factors are not being manipulated (Privitera, 2020). Our goal is to gain a better understanding regarding the correlation between Video Game Violence and aggression. 

We will be observing aggressive acts therefore, it would be unethical to control for aggressive acts to take place. Specifically, we will be using a Non-equivalent control group pretest-posttest design to compare aggression scores before and after manipulation. We will test the dependent variable compared to the results of the Non-equivalent control group (Privitera, 2020). Quasi-experimental research allows for certain or specific range values for the independent variable where correlation study measures all values for the independent variable (Privitera, 2020). For this study, the treatment group will be instructed to play 3 hours of violent video games whereas the non-equivalent control group will play 3 hours of non-violent video games.

It is important to note that video games are rated E (Everyone), Everyone 10+, Teen, Mature 17+, Adults only 18+, and Rating Pending (ESRB, 2020). We hypothesize that there will be a relationship in the amount of time spent playing video games and reported levels of aggressive behavior. The H0 is that there is a no relationship between time spent playing video games and level of aggressive behavior between the control and treatment groups. The H1 is that the treatment group will have increased levels of aggression following the 3-hour gaming period compared to the control group. The independent variable in this study is the time spent playing video game and the dependent variable is the level of aggressive behavior.

For this study, there are two variables that are being defined and measured. The independent variable for this study is the time spent playing violent video games. To measure how frequently each participant plays violent games, they will be issued a questionnaire asking how often they play video games and for how long, what genre of video games do they play most often, how many violent games do they own, ect. Next, participants were randomly assigned into a control or treatment group. The treatment group are to be instructed to play a violent video game for 3 hours while the control group will play non-violent video games. 

Aggression was measured using the Brief Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & Perry, 1992). This survey consists of 29 questions measuring physical and verbal aggression, anger, and hostility. For this study, aggression is defined as any behavior intended to harm others who want to avoid it (Bushman & Huesmann, 2010, as cited in Webster et al., 2014). The survey was reissued to each participant following the 3-hour gaming period to distinguish any differences in their level of aggression. 

Participants will be obtained randomly through email following IRB approval. To avoid any ethical issues, participants had to be 18 years or older to partake in this study. Although there is no previous gaming experience required for this study, it is recommended that participants are familiar with the nature of violent video games. Individuals who are sensitive to flashing lights and/or epilepsy should also refrain from this form of study. 

Internal validity is used to measure whether or not the experiment was conducted correctly (Slack & Draugalis, 2001). Internal validity is based on the number of confounding variables (Slack & Draugalis, 2001). To have a high internal validity than you must avoid confounding variables because the more confounding variable you have the lower the internal validity will be. This experiment will have a high internal validity because there will be no confounding variables such as regressions to the mean or changing the instruments used. The experiment will also not include confounding variables such as participants dropping out, unexpected changes, and not completing protocols. This will ensure that the internal validity will be high for this experiment. 

The group will ensure that the study has high internal validity by having a single independent variable. The group will also ensure that the study has high validity by making sure to using random sampling. Each participant will be randomly assigned to either the control or treatment group because it ensures that there will be a sample that can represent the entire population and makes sure that the chance of being selected is equal.

When conducting an experiment is essential that the study be conducted in a way that is ethical for the researcher and the participants (Britton, 1979). When the participants are presented with the informing and consent form it is important that they must be aware of any risks that may be associated with the study. The participants also must be aware that their data will remain anonymous This ensures that the researcher is conducting the experiment in an ethical manner. 

The debriefing form also allows the participants to have access to the necessary information for reporting in case they felt that the study was performed in an unethical manner. In this specific study the ethical concerns that emerge about the participants is that the video games may make them become more of an aggressive person which can be displayed in many different ways. Another ethical concern that could emerge from this study is that the participants will be exposed to video games that contains violence, cursing, and sexual nature. This study also could be a risk for those sensitive to bright and flashing lights or epilepsy, or seizures.

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References

Britton, B. K. (1979). Ethical and educational aspects of participating as a subject in psychology  experiments. Teaching of Psychology, 6(4), 195-198.

Privitera, G.J. (2020). Research methods for the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA:  Sage 

Ratings Guides, Categories, Content Descriptors. (2020, June 26). Retrieved September 22,  2020, from https://www.esrb.org/ratings-guide/

Slack, M. K., & Draugalis Jr, J. R. (2001). Establishing the internal and external validity of experimental studies. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 58(22), 2173-2181.

Webster, Gregory & Dewall, C & Pond, Jr, Richard & Deckman, Timothy & Jonason, Peter & Le, Bonnie & Nichols, Austin & Orozco, Tatiana & Crysel, Laura & Crosier, Benjamin & Smith, Carrie & Paddock, E. & Nezlek, John & Kirkpatrick, Lee & Bryan, Angela & Bator, Renee. (2014). The Brief Aggression Questionnaire: Psychometric and Behavioral Evidence for an Efficient Measure of Trait Aggression. Aggressive Behavior. 10.1002/ab.21507.

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