Schleifer, E. (2005). Long and short-term effects of video games on impulsive responses in boys: An alternative to content-based research. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, Vol 66(5-B), 2005. pp. 2862. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from PsycINFO database.
Prior research in the field of video games has focused primarily on how violent content affects aggressive behavior. The current study was designed to show that game-users’ ability to press a button and elicit an immediate and fixed response from the game will have an effect on impulsive reactions outside the gaming environment. Forty boys, age ten to fourteen, were given two questionnaires that gathered information regarding their video gaming habits (past and present) and their propensity for disinhibition or impulsivity in certain situations as measured by the Behavioral Activation System (BAS) Sensitivity Scale (Carver & White, 1994). Before and after engaging in a reward-based activity (playing video games vs. shooting baskets for a prize), participants were asked to perform a Time Perception Task as a measure of cognitive impulsivity. There were no significant differences between the experimental conditions. Participants who reported playing more video games per day, however, showed greater cognitive impulsivity following cessation of the reward-based activity regardless of which condition they were in. Results concerning the BAS Sensitivity Scale yielded findings in two of the three sub-scales of this measure. Participants who reported playing more video games per day reported a more impulsive, persistent pursuit of desired goals (Drive scale). Results also indicated that these same participants tended to respond more positively to the occurrence and anticipation of rewards (Reward Responsiveness scale). When viewed collectively, these findings indicate some support for the model proposed in this study, which attempted to link video game play with Patterson and Newman’s (1993) theory of disinhibition. Also discussed are possible applications of the proposed model for future studies correlating high video game play and high BAS ratings with affect regulation, capacity for fantasy/imagination, clinical populations (ADHD, ODD, and Bi-polar), agency/locus of control, academics, and gender differences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)