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Violent and non-violent virtual reality video games: influences on affect, aggressive cognition, and aggressive behavior. Two pre-registered experiments

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 22:03 authored by Drummond, A, James SauerJames Sauer, Ferguson, CJ, Cannon, PR, Hall, LC
Immersive Ambulatory Virtual Reality (IA-VR) video games are relatively new and highly immersive. Given speculation that immersion may increase psychological effects of playing games, we examined whether violent IA-VR (cf. flat-screen) games increase aggression. Here, we report the first experimental studies to assess the effects of violent and non-violent IA-VR (cf. flat-screen) games on affect, aggressive cognition, and behavior. In Study 1, 200 participants played violent or nonviolent IA-VR or flat-screen games in a pre-registered protocol. IA-VR was associated with slightly higher positive affect, but no higher aggression than comparable flat-screen games. Although violent games (IA-VR and flat-screen) increased aggressive cognition, this did not translate to hostile affect or aggressive behavior. In Study 2, 96 participants played a violent IA-VR or flat-screen video game. Again, no effects of IA-VR were observed on aggressive cognition, behavior, or hostile affect. In both studies, the relationship between aggressive cognitions, behavior and hostile affect was virtually nil. Though further replications are required with a greater variety of stimulus games, our studies provide early evidence against the notion that IA-VR increase aggression compared to flat-screen games. The lack of relationship between aggressive cognition and behavior suggests potential weaknesses in fundamental assumptions of the General Aggression Model.


The Royal Society of New Zealand


Publication title

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology



Article number







School of Psychological Sciences


Academic Press Inc Elsevier Science

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525 B St, Ste 1900, San Diego, USA, Ca, 92101-4495

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Expanding knowledge in psychology

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