Aggression and VR Violent Gaming: The Power of Moral Disengagement and Immersion

Proceedings of The 6th World Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2023



Aggression and VR Violent Gaming: The Power of Moral Disengagement and Immersion

FENG Xinger Olivia



Recent studies have revealed that exposure to in-game violence in certain circumstances can prompt players to view the behavior as moral and socially acceptable, leading to increased aggressive behavior. This has led researchers to consider the combination of in-game violence with moral psychology. This article examines the relationship between exposure to violent video games and behavioral aggression, focusing on the moderating effect of immersion. With the theoretical framework of the General Aggression Model (GAM), it is suggested that exposure to violent media leads to the repetition of the cognitive schema of aggression, resulting in increased behavioral aggression in non-gaming contexts. The study posits hypotheses that higher levels of moral disengagement in violent gaming scenarios lead to higher behavioral aggression, and immersion moderates the effect of violent game exposure. In order to investigate these hypotheses, a two-factor between-subjects experimental design will be employed. The study will utilize a VR game setting (on Operation Flashpoint) to maximize the effect of immersion. It will disclose the moderating effect of immersion on the correlation between moral disengagement and behavioral aggression. The Wasabi paradigm will be utilized to measure behavioral aggression. It is predicted that individuals exposed to morally disengaged and VR conditions will exhibit notably higher scores on the Wasabi task compared to those in non-disengaged and non-VR conditions. A significant interactive effect is anticipated between moral disengagement and immersion, which will magnify the impact of moral disengagement on aggressive behavior. The study seeks to contribute to the existing understanding of the factors contributing to aggressive behavior in violent gaming.

keywords: Immersion, Violent Video Games, Behavioral Aggression, General Aggression Model