Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Violence in video games; Aggressiveness; Death--Psychological aspects;


Research indicates that one of the most popular forms of media, violent video games can increase aggressive behavior and cognitions (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). Prior research has examined the effects of these media using the General Aggression Model (GAM; Anderson & Bushman, 2001; Bushman & Anderson, 2002). The current study examines an alternative method by which video games (and other forms of media) can encourage aggressive behaviors, via mortality salience effects. The current study used a 2 (mortality salience vs absence) x 2 (violent video games vs nonviolent video games) experimental design to examine the role of mortality salience and violent video game primes on aggressive cognitions and endorsed harm towards out-group members. Participants were either primed with mortality salience (or not), viewed footage from a violent (experimental) or non-violent (control) game, and completed dependent measures assessing aggressive cognitions and violence towards out-group members. Results indicate that participants exposed to violent media and mortality salience primes endorse more harm towards out-group members, and exhibit more aggressive cognitions. Emotion regulation moderates the relationship between hostile attribution biases and aggressive cognitions, as well as the relation between death-thought accessibility and aggressive cognitions, providing a protective effect.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dilbur D. Arsiwalla

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 106 pages)



File Format


Included in

Psychology Commons