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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Roseann Hannon

First Committee Member

Gary N. Howells

Second Committee Member

David Hall


There has been concern and controversy in recent years pertaining to the effects that video games have on the player. This study examined physiological and psychological responses to video game play, as well as the interplay between the two domains of response. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if there is a difference in cardiovascular response (measured by heart rate and blood pressure levels) between aggressive and nonaggressive video game play. In addition, self-report of perceived arousal and hostility levels were assessed following completion of both levels of video game play. Physiological resting baselines for heart rate and blood pressure were determined prior to both levels of play. A mean heart rate was recorded for each 2-min interval while 16 male participants played both an aggressive and a nonaggressive video game for a period of 18- min each. Blood pressure levels were again assessed postplay. Following each level of video game play psychological tests (perceived arousal and hostility levels) were administered. Results show a main effect for type of video game on heart rate, with heart rate significantly higher in the aggressive game than in the nonaggressive game. In addition, a main effect for intervals was also significant, with heart rate increasing over time. No siqnificant differences were found between levels for blood pressure, perceived arousal, and hostility scores. The only significant correlation resulted between post-diastolic blood pressure measure and the hostility subscale of the Multiple Affect Adjective Check List. Implications for future research are discussed.



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