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Psycho-physiological reactions to violent video gaming: Experimental studies of heart rate variability, cortisol, sleep and emotional reactions in teenage boys
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Playing violent video games may provoke aggression. Psycho-physiological methods may provide knowledge about the underlying psychological processes. Most previous studies have been performed in laboratory settings at daytime with adults. Thus the aim of this thesis was to investigate psycho-physiological (autonomic and HPA related reactions), sleep-related and emotional responses in teenage boys to playing a violent and a non-violent video game at home before going to sleep. In Study I the autonomic responses differed between the violent and the non-violent game during playing and more distinctly during sleep. In Study II the HPA axis was not affected by video gaming at all. In Study III, the effect of habits of playing violent games was assessed (≤ 1h/day and ≥ 3h/day). High versus low experience of violent gaming were related to different autonomic, sleep-related and emotional processes at exposure to a violent and a non-violent game, during playing and during sleep. The present thesis demonstrated that violent and non-violent games induce different autonomic responses during playing and – more distinctly – during sleep. Frequent gaming seems to influence physiological, sleep-related and emotional reactions, possibly as an expression of desensitization processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University , 2014. , 84 p.
Keyword [en]
video gaming, media violence, autonomic nervous system, heart rate variability, HPA axis, cortisol, sleep quality, emotional reactions, desensitization, teenagers
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102626ISBN: 978-91-7447-820-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-102626DiVA: diva2:711918
Public defence
2014-05-16, David Magnussalen (U31), hus 8, Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-04-11 Last updated: 2014-04-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Playing a violent television game affects heart rate variability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Playing a violent television game affects heart rate variability
2009 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 98, no 1, 166-172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To investigate how playing a violent/nonviolent television game during the evening affects sympathetic and parasympathetic reactions during and after playing as well as sleep quality during the night after playing.

Subjects and Methods: In total, 19 boys, 12–15 years of age, played television games on two occasions in their homes and participated once without gaming. Heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV) and physical activity were measured during gaming/participating and the night to follow using a portable combined heart rate and movement sensor. A sleep diary and questionnaires about gaming experiences and session-specific experiences were filled in.

Criteria for Selection of Games: Violent game involves/rewards direct physical violence (no handguns) against another person, and nonviolent game involves/rewards no violence; same game design ('third-person game'); conducted in the same manner; no differences concerning motor activity; similar sound and light effects; no sexual content, violence against women or racial overtones.

Results: During violent (vs. nonviolent) gaming, there was significantly higher activity of the very low frequency component of the HRV and total power. During the night after playing, very low frequency, low frequency and high frequency components were significantly higher during the violent (vs. nonviolent) condition, just as total power. There were no significant differences between the three conditions (violent/nonviolent/no gaming) with respect to an index reflecting subjectively perceived sleep difficulties. Nor was there any difference between violent and nonviolent condition for any single sleep item.

Conclusion: Violent gaming induces different autonomic responses in boys compared to nonviolent gaming – during playing and during the following night – suggesting different emotional responses. Subjectively perceived sleep quality is not influenced after a single gaming experience. Future studies should address the development of the autonomic balance after gaming over longer time than a night, physiological adaptation to frequent gaming and potential gender differences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2009
Keyword
autonomic nervous system, children, heart rate variability, sleep quality, television game
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35426 (URN)10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.01096.x (DOI)000261636800035 ()19006532 (PubMedID)P2707 (Local ID)P2707 (Archive number)P2707 (OAI)
Note
This work and the research position of Frank Lindblad were financed by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research. A pilot study and the start of this study were financed by Oscar och Maria Ekmans donationsfond. We would also like to express our gratitude to the boys who participated, to André Lauber for skilful help with data preparation, to Niklas Storck for providing HRV software and to Lennart Högman for doctoral supervision of Malena Ivarsson.Available from: 2010-01-18 Created: 2010-01-18 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Playing a violent television game does not affect saliva cortisol
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Playing a violent television game does not affect saliva cortisol
2009 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 98, no 6, 1052-1053 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2009
Keyword
violent television game, saliva cortisol
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35422 (URN)10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01271.x (DOI)000266636300026 ()19397536 (PubMedID)P2746 (Local ID)P2746 (Archive number)P2746 (OAI)
Note
This work and the research position of Frank Lindblad were financed by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.Available from: 2010-01-18 Created: 2010-01-18 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. The effect of violent and nonviolent video games on heart rate variability, sleep, and emotions in adolescents with different violent gaming habits
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effect of violent and nonviolent video games on heart rate variability, sleep, and emotions in adolescents with different violent gaming habits
2013 (English)In: Psychosomatic Medicine, ISSN 0033-3174, E-ISSN 1534-7796, Vol. 75, no 4, 390-396 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective To study cardiac, sleep-related, and emotional reactions to playing violent (VG) versus nonviolent video games (NVG) in adolescents with different gaming habits.

Methods Thirty boys (aged 13-16 years, standard deviation = 0.9), half of them low-exposed (≤1 h/d) and half high-exposed (≥3 h/d) to violent games, played a VG/NVG for 2 hours during two different evenings in their homes. Heart rate (HR) and HR variability were registered from before start until next morning. A questionnaire about emotional reactions was administered after gaming sessions and a sleep diary on the following mornings.

Results During sleep, there were significant interaction effects between group and gaming condition for HR (means [standard errors] for low-exposed: NVG 63.8 [2.2] and VG 67.7 [2.4]; for high-exposed: NVG 65.5 [1.9] and VG 62.7 [1.9]; F(1,28) = 9.22, p = .005). There was also a significant interaction for sleep quality (low-exposed: NVG 4.3 [0.2] and VG 3.7 [0.3]); high-exposed: NVG 4.4 [0.2] and VG 4.4 [0.2]; F(1,28) = 3.51, p = .036, one sided), and sadness after playing (low-exposed: NVG 1.0 [0.0] and VG 1.4 [0.2]; high-exposed: NVG 1.2 [0.1] and VG 1.1 [0.1]; (F(1,27) = 6.29, p = .009, one sided).

Conclusions Different combinations of the extent of (low versus high) previous VG and experimental exposure to a VG or an NVG are associated with different reaction patterns-physiologically, emotionally, and sleep related. Desensitizing effects or selection bias stand out as possible explanations.

Keyword
children, heart rate variability, emotion, sleep quality, violent video game, desensitiazation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92534 (URN)10.1097/PSY.0b013e3182906a4c (DOI)000330467700008 ()23645706 (PubMedID)P3006 (Local ID)P3006 (Archive number)P3006 (OAI)
Note

AuthorCount: 4

Funding agency:

Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research

Available from: 2013-08-08 Created: 2013-08-08 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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