Benchmark – Critical Thinking Essay
Video Games and Violent Behavior
Cunningham, S., Engelstätter, B., & Ward, M. R. (2016). Violent video games and violent crime. Southern Economic Journal, 82(4), 1247-1265. Retrieved from
Gentile, D. A., Bender, P. K., & Anderson, C. A. (2017). Violent video game effects on salivary cortisol, arousal, and aggressive thoughts in children. Computers in Human Behavior, 70, 39–43. Retrieved from
The articles provided argue opposite sides of the controversy. In 1,250-1,500 words:
Briefly analyze and compare the claims of both articles as well as the background of the controversy and how it became controversial. Include how historical perspectives and theories add to the controversy.
Examine the evidence given in the articles and explain which article creates a stronger argument. You are not choosing a side that supports your beliefs. Describe why one article’s argument is stronger than the other. Give examples from both. Include how current perspectives and theories support your rationale.
Identify any logic fallacies that exist in both and explain what makes them logic fallacies (For a list of logical fallacies, follow this link https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/logic_in_argumentative_writing/fallacies.html ).
Describe how the controversy you chose is applicable and significant to the world.
Use at least four scholarly references to support your claims. Be sure to carefully review the rubric for specifics on selecting and integrating sources to effectively support your rationale.
Video Games and Violent Behavior
Video games have become a popular form of entertainment, increasing the concerns about their impact on violent behavior among individuals. There are various conclusions that have been made based on different forms of studies conducted by researchers linking violent video games to development of aggressive behavior. Other studies have indicated that violent video games have no impact on crime based on the observation of behavioral patterns of individuals after engaging in violent video games. The discussion of the paper will involve two articles that argue the opposite sides of the controversy, and the paper will comprise of analysis and comparison of the claims by each article, an explanation on which article creates a stronger argument, logic fallacies that exist in both arguments, and a description of how the controversy chosen can be applied in the world.
A Brief Analysis and Comparison of the Claims of the Two Articles
One of the articles involved an experiment that was conducted to investigate effects of violent video games on the physiological indicators of fight-or-flight response, which include arousal, and cortisol levels (Gentile, Bender, & Anderson, 2017). The study also investigated the impact of aggressive thoughts in children. The findings of the study indicated that playing a violent video game had an impact on the sympathetic nervous system leading to more aggressive behavior through activation of semantic memory and increased cortisol levels. Activation of the SNS increases the release of stress hormones. Scary and violent behavior increases the levels of salivary cortisol. The findings of the study add to the existing theoretical understanding of various mechanisms on how violent video games have short-term effects on the likelihood of aggression.
The second article focused on identifying the short-term and middle-run effects associated with the sale of violent video games on violent claims (Cunningham, Engelstätter, & Ward, 2016). The findings of the study indicated that there was no evidence indicating an increase in violent crime due to engagement in violent video games. Findings indicated that crimes were invariant or there is a decrease in video game popularity. The results were for both intensely violent and non-violent video games. The study’s findings suggested that the existing generalized aggression hypothesis that associates violent behavior to violent media and even suggests that the hypothesis might be negligible or might be mitigated by other factors.
The controversy depicted by the two articles on the impact of video games has been a growing concern. The controversy can be traced back to the launch of Death Race in theb1976 although at the time digital games although digital games were a novelty. The video game triggered a moral panic, which in return triggered sales. The advocates of video games have depicted it as an educational tool and a platform promoting freedom of speech, while the detractors argue that they are harmful and should be regulated. According to the American Psychological Association, there is a correlation between violent video games and aggressive behavior. Data indicating higher crime rates and aggressive behavior among the lower socioeconomic class adds to the controversy since exposure to video games is correlated with incomes, and social class, with those with high income, have more access to video games (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007).
There are three theoretical mechanisms that describes impact of violent media including video games on crime. They include aggression, incapacitation, and catharsis. The aggression mechanism is founded on the general aggression model (GAM), which asserts that violent video games lead to increased aggression. The GAM model generalizes various theories such as script theory, social learning theory, and semantic priming (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007). The study connecting violent video games to aggressive thoughts is based on the social learning theory, which asserts that people can learn through observing, with eternal mental states being key elements in the process. One can therefore argue that children and adolescents can learn violent behavior from violent video games. The theory can also support the findings of a study linking violent video games to aggression through increased levels of cortisol and heart rate. The other article that found no correlation between violent video games and violent behavior also has a basis on social learning theory as the theory recognizes that learning does not always result in a change in behavior (Cunningham, Engelstätter, & Ward, 2016). The argument also has roots in instinctive aggression theory that recognizes aggression as an innate biological drive, and video game acts as a catharsis that provides a socially acceptable and safe outlet for aggression. The findings of the study can also be supported by the incapacitation mechanism. The mechanism is based on the economic theory of time use. Based on the theory, individuals would spend a significant amount of time playing violent video games, hence reduced the chances of getting involved in crimes.