Kurita, S. (2010). Playing violent and non-violent video games: Physiological and emotional responses as a function of motivational activation. Dissertation Abstracts International, 70,

This study attempts to expand our understanding of how the presence or absence of violence in video games influences the gaming experience by measuring real time physiological and emotional responses during game play. Those examinations were done within the theoretical framework provided by the limited capacity model of motivated mediated message processing (LC4MP) (A. Lang, 2006). More specifically, this study investigated how games of differing genres (sports vs. adventure) which contain or do not contain violence are processed physiologically and emotionally with the focus on habituation or sensitization. In this study, participants played four different video games, two sports and two adventure games. Within each genre, one game contained violence and one did not. Heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator activation were measured during game play as indicators of external attention, physiological arousal and aversive responses, respectively. In addition, individual differences in motivational activation were assessed and their influences on the results and interaction with gender were also investigated. Following game play, participants viewed and rated a series of emotional pictures to determine whether the presence of violence and genre influenced emotional desensitization. The results showed a faster habituation (decreased skin conductance), more external attention (slower HR) and more aversive motivation (increased corrugator activation) during violent adventure games compared to violent sports games and other games. In addition, there were both predicted and unpredicted influences of individual differences in motivational activation on the general results. People who are high in both appetitive and aversive motivation exhibited the fastest habituation and the highest level of arousal. The importance of studying violent videogames from a perspective of information processing and motivated attention is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)