Higher graphical fidelity decreases players' access to aggressive concepts in violent video games

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Published copy (DOI)



Publication details

Title of host publicationCHI PLAY 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play
DatePublished - 5 Oct 2015
Number of pages11
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print)9781450334662


Several features of violent video games (hence VVGs) may cause gamers to access aggressive concepts during play. Two of these features are graphical fidelity and use of narrative. In particular, the increased graphical fidelity of modern VVGs is widely theorised to cause increased access to aggressive concepts. However, despite this theoretical speculation, there is little empirical evidence of whether these formal features of VVGs actually do influence players to access aggressive concepts during play. Therefore, a 2x2 between-subjects factorial online experiment (N = 710) was employed. This examined the effects of graphical fidelity and narrative content on the extent to which players accessed aggression-related concepts when playing a VVG. Results indicated that the presence of realistic graphics in a video game representing aggression caused players to access aggressive concepts less (p = 0.014). The presence of narrative content was not found to have a statistically significant effect. Under an influential (though controversial) model of VVG effects known as the General Aggression Model, increased access to aggressive concepts causally contributes to anti-social behaviour by players of VVGs. These findings suggest that even if playing modern VVGs did lead to these negative effects, they would not be influenced by the increased graphical fidelity of modern VVGs.

    Research areas

  • Aggression, GAM, Games, Graphical fidelity, Narrative content, Video game effects, Violent video games, VVGs

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