Bartholow, B., Bushman, B., & Sestir, M. (2006, July). Chronic violent video game exposure and desensitization to violence: Behavioral and event-related brain potential data. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42(4), 532-539. Retrieved July 6, 2009, doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2005.08.006

Numerous studies have shown that exposure to media violence increases aggression, though the mechanisms of this effect have remained elusive. One theory posits that repeated exposure to media violence desensitizes viewers to real world violence, increasing aggression by blunting aversive reactions to violence and removing normal inhibitions against aggression. Theoretically, violence desensitization should be reflected in the amplitude of the P300 component of the event-related brain potential (ERP), which has been associated with activation of the aversive motivational system. In the current study, violent images elicited reduced P300 amplitudes among violent, as compared to nonviolent video game players. Additionally, this reduced brain response predicted increased aggressive behavior in a later task. Moreover, these effects held after controlling for individual differences in trait aggressiveness. These data are the first to link media violence exposure and aggressive behavior to brain processes hypothetically associated with desensitization. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)(from the journal abstract)