Underlying Factor that Effect Frustration and Aggression during Video Game Play
Annette G Peebles
Park University

This paper discusses the different ways that outside forces affect individuals during violent video game play. These articles show how age, mental health, trash talk and even trust is a concern when it comes to frustration and aggression while playing violent video games. In one article it referred to the outside influences that can cause additional aggressive behavior. One test went on to show how frustration and aggression can escalate due to opponents’ comments during game play. Most of the research that was performed included junior high to college students since they are the dominate video game players. So according to the research that is included in the papers violent video games are not solely responsible for the frustration and aggression an individual may have after playing certain video games. Outside source play a huge role on the reactions of the individuals post game play mindset and attitudes.
Keywords: mental health, forbidden fruit, trash talk

Aggression and Underling Factors
According to the study performed by (Whitney DeCamp and Christopher J Ferguson. 2016) it is not necessarily the act of playing violent video games that causes aggressive behavior. With all the current mass shootings that are taking place you really need to consider is it the video gaming industry or is it something more.
Some of the questions posed in the study that was performed asked if it could possibly be mental health, family or social issues. Is or was the individual a victim of violence or a witness to some kind of violence either social or family. Could this influence the aggression perceived from a violent video game. The study went more in-depth into the personal aspect of what may cause additional aggression.
Unlike most studies this particular study did not just test the play time and the type of games played. It looked at the overall picture of what the individual is having to deal with on a more personal day to day basis. The test was set for eighth and eleventh graders of diverse races with 49% male and 51% female participants. The amount of time that one plays video games was also included in the study.
According to the study, under laying factor such as violence in the home or being African American had a greater risk of violent video game play having a negative effect. Some other factors that play into a negative outcome are little to no parental control, drug sale or use in the neighborhood, violence in home, depression or mental health issues. Violent video game play does not necessarily indicate that you would be aggressive, in fact it shows that attributing factors play a very important role in the outcome.
The study concludes with “youth often eagerly seek out violent fictional narratives, from fairy tales to video games, but rarely seek out direct exposure to violence in real life.” (DeCamp, Ferguson. 2016 pg. 397) Indicating as children start to mature they understand the difference between fiction and reality. This study deducts that there were minimal effects of aggression with violent video games and further testing is needed to validate that underlying issues can exist when measuring violent video games and aggression.
Age and game play
A yearlong longitudinal study was performed using 14 to 21-year-old video game players. (Johannes Breuer, Jens Vogelgesang, Thorsten Quandt, ; Ruth Festl 2015) The study was to test if it is the game that causes aggression or an aggressive person that seeks violent video games. Unfortunately, the study was unable to clearly show that an aggressive person seeks out specific video games. The information that was obtained through their research seemed to speculate that age was a significant factor.
According to the study, age was a factor along with the type of games that are accessible to a certain age group. As the individual ages so does their game preference. The term forbidden fruit, was used as a reason why minors seek the aggressive games. This is due to the lack of accessibility of specific games. So, the younger the age the more attracted they are to games that are out of their reach. However, once they reach adolescents they no longer seek that type of video game due to its availability to them.
Younger participants were attracted to violent video games in comparison to older subjects. Males seek violent games at a point in their adolescents that corresponded with some kind of sensation seeking aspect that is normal at a certain age. The information regarding an increase in aggression for the young participants did not state how they tested for aggression.
Overall the study was unable to state that aggression was due to violent video games or that aggressive people sought out these types of games. It did state that aggressive behavior could be a part of the individuals family history or environment and did not necessarily have to do with the type of games they play. They suggest that further investigation is needed with the study lasting longer than a year to gain more information in age being a factor in the development of the brain.
Chili Sauce and Aggression
The study performed by Jack Hollindale and Tobias Gritemeyer used a chili sauce test that would link the amount of chili poured out with the aggression of the individual. For this experiment they tested nonviolent video games both on and off line while also conducting violent video games on and offline to see if they had a difference. The experiment was also to test if by playing online the individuals aggression level would increase.
The test was to show by playing aggressive games online that the violent video game player would show less empathy for the participant that would be tasting the chili sauce. All the participants were informed that the person that would be testing the chili sauce was not a fan of hot chili sauce. Given that information would this make a difference in how much was poured for the taste tester?
For the study each participant was assigned on or offline game violent or neutral games and then allowed to play for a certain amount of time. To avoid influences from other online game participants the sound was left off. Upon completion of time, everyone was given a type of survey regarding the specific game. Unfortunately, the games that were selected for the neutral games did not have the same amount of competitiveness that the violent games had which may have made a difference in the outcome. The study was suggesting that the violent video game would become less empathetic due to its graphic nature and the overall violence the individual participated in, to advance to the next level.
Once the gamers poured the chili sauce into containers for the taste testers they where informed of the true nature of the experiment. I fell that if they requested additional information from the individual after being informed of the true nature of the experiment they probably would have walked away with additional insight to how the games affected them. However, that was not the purpose of the study. The online and offline violent video games did not seem to show a huge difference with the amount poured. It was assumed that the online violent video games would make the individual more aggressive due to the competitiveness against another player.
Overall the information obtained from the experiment concurred with the theory that aggressive behavior would pour more chili sauce than the nonviolent gamers. Unfortunately, the amount that was poured by the violent video gamer was not a significant amount to state that it was without a reasonable doubt that it was due to aggressive behavior from the game play. Regarding the way the test was performed they should have had the participant initially pour the chili prior to game play and then see if there was a difference after the game play.
Frustration and its effects
The study performed by Kevin Williams was very specific in what they hoped to achieve about video game play and frustration. According to the author it is important to know that aggression and frustration are not the same thing. Frustration can become aggression depending on the person and situation noting that not all people will act on their thoughts or feelings. The author goes on to say that it can become difficult for someone to remove a thought and its effects once they have pondered on it to long.
According to the article the purpose of game play is to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the game. This can only be done by advancing through the difficult levels set up to frustrate its players. With each level achieved you are rewarded for the aggressive behavior which intern enhances aggressive learning.
The research will go on to test that blood pressure is affected by violent video game play. The test was performed solely on male college students, due to their usage of violent video game play compared to female players. The participants were given questionnaires that contained specific questions in the way the person would act, feel, or react to certain situations specific to anger. A few extra questions were added to give a more general type of questionnaire. Players where under the impression that the highest score would be rewarded with a one-hundred-dollar Best Buy gift card. This was done to increase the level of frustration.
The point of this study was to test frustrating and non-frustrating games while measuring heart rate and the two phases of the heart (systolic is contracting diastolic is a rest). Four different types of games where used nonviolent and non-frustrating games where combines with violent and frustrating games. Each gamer had their blood pressure measured prior to the start of the initial game which was set at the easiest level. The gamer was told that their scores would be recorded to compare with other individuals participating in the study. After 5 minutes of game play the players blood pressure was taken and then was asked to leave the room while the tester gathered the data regarding their performance but in reality, they changed the settings on the game. The participant then returned to the room for additional ten minutes of game play which unbeknownst to them was a harder or more frustrating game then the initial game played.
Upon completion of the game the blood pressure was again taken, and the gamer was given a new questionnaire with question from the initial questionnaire to see how the participants responded after game play.
According to the results the violent video game players had less anger than those that played the nonviolent and non-frustrating games. As the games became more frustrating the participants diastolic and systolic pressure was increased. The amount of violence in the video games did not seem to show any significance during this study. So, what was gathered from this study is that even with the amount of violence and frustration in the violent video games it did not affect participants blood pressure compared to the effect that the non-violent non-frustrating games did to its players.
Trust and video games
Could playing video games effect the way you choose to trust other people? The authors set out to test if playing certain kind of video games effect interpersonal trust and if so, would it affect those that had a sensitivity to victimization more. The study had a second phase that would test victim sensitivity and interpersonal trust after a 12-month period.
The study wanted to prove that after certain types of game play people were less likely to trust others due to them becoming a victim within the game. An increase of suspiciousness over time increases due the individual not wanting to be victimized repeatedly. They study went even further by testing if the active betrayal in game play was the cause or is it the simple possibility of betrayal that can trigger the individuals mind set. They wanted to see if that mindset would follow the participants out into the real world once the game play was done.
For the initial phase of the study the participants were paid 8 euros and were given a questionnaire regarding being victimized. The games that were selected had different types of betrayal one being of confidence and trust sequences. Each player was assigned a game to play for 25 minutes upon completion of time each player was given a trust test. They were under the impression that they and another player were able to contribute money that would be tripled by the experimenter, and it was up the initial player to decide if they were going to divide the money evenly or if they wanted to keep the money completely to themselves. This was to test if they feared being exploited. However, they were unaware that no additional player was matched with them for the money. Once they made their decision on the amount of money they were given the questionnaire about the video game played on how aggressive and trustworthy the opponents where in the game.
They findings matched the trustworthiness and aggressiveness of the players opponents during game play. According to the experiment less money was entrusted to the players non- existent partners showing that the individual would have a different mindset when entrusting money to an unknown participant. All participants did indicate that they enjoyed playing the games, but unbeknownst to them they lost trust in unknown participants because they did not want to become victims as they did in the game.
Trash talk
This study went out on a limb and tried to show that it is not only the video game that effects the game player. The authors felt that game play alone was not enough to cause frustration to aggressive behavior but additional underline factors such as trash-talk. The study conducted game play while allowing trash-talk to take place during the game to see if they language would affect the individual more.
In another study the participants were informed that they would be playing against the same opponents they had previously played. The purpose of this information was given to the participants to create an aggressive encounter with their opponent they had just played. In this part of the study the players would be allowed to set the length of time a buzzer would sound in their opponent’s headphone. This was done to increase frustration. The type of games played were “FIFA World Cup” (soccer) which was very competitive.
The participants were given questionnaires asking if they felt superior to their opponent along with how they felt with the trash-talk that took place during the game. Most participants would rather play without the opponent’s comments during the game. With less negative effect on those that had no comments from their competition they also had less frustration or aggressive feelings.
All the research collected goes to show that it is not simply violent video games affecting the players but additional factors that are contributing to the frustration and aggression some players have after playing. Many of these studies used two years or less to gather the information with individuals playing a few minutes to a few hours in each study. Realistically in many situations as indicated in the studies the participants normally play for several hours in a week. The information that was gathered did show that outside influences such as violence in the home or neighborhood and lack of parental control can be a factor to how the individual chooses to use underlying aggression after game play. Trash talk while playing also proved to be a very powerful influence on how individuals walk away from games upon completion.
Further information needs to be collected to show aggression due to video game play is a factor once the game is completed. All the evidence in these studies failed to show any actual proof that aggression or frustration was acted upon by any of the individuals that partook in the research. Aggression and frustration for the most part lasted only a few minutes following game play this is not enough evidence to state that anything, but underlying factors can influence an individual’s reaction after violent video game play.