Bastian, B., Jetten, J., & Radke, H. M. (2012). Cyber-dehumanization: Violent video game play diminishes our humanity. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology,48(2), 486-491. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2011.10.009
Across two studies we show that engaging in violent video game play diminishes perceptions of our own human qualities. In addition, when other players are the targets of this violence it reduces our perceptions of their humanity also. In Study 1, we demonstrate that playing Mortal Kombat against another player reduces the perceived humanity of the self as well as the humanity of one’s opponent (compared to playing a non-violent game). In Study 2 we replicate this effect on perceived humanity of the self when playing a violent game with a co-player. However, we find no dehumanization of co-players who are not the targets of violence. We demonstrate these effects cannot be reduced to mood, self-esteem, gender, or other characteristics of the game such as excitement and enjoyment. The findings provide a broader perspective from which to view previous work on the adverse effects of violent video games.