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Effect of Violent First-Person Shooter (FPS) Video Games on Shooting Accuracy

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03445156
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : February 26, 2018
Results First Posted : August 5, 2019
Last Update Posted : August 5, 2019
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Brad Bushman, Ohio State University

Study Type Interventional
Study Design Allocation: Randomized;   Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment;   Masking: None (Open Label);   Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Condition Gun Shot Wound
Interventions Behavioral: Video game
Behavioral: Controller
Enrollment 327
Recruitment Details Participants were college students who completed the study as part of a course requirement.
Pre-assignment Details After giving their consent, participants completed a survey. Next, they were randomly assigned to play either a violent First-Person-Shooter video game or a nonviolent shooting video game for 20 minutes. Video game play was recorded. A debriefing followed.
Arm/Group Title Violent Shooter Game Non-violent Shooter Game Non-violent Game
Hide Arm/Group Description Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a violent shooter game which rewards players for shooting realistic human targets. Headshots are rewarded. Wii Play, a non-violent shooter which punishes players for hitting bull's-eye targets with faces on them and rewards players for shooting other targets (e.g., balloons, clay discs, bull's-eye targets without faces). Super Mario Galaxy, a non-violent game which rewards players for collecting stars and completing challenging levels in a creative, animated world. Does not involve shooting a weapon.
Period Title: Pilot Study
Started 20 20 0
Completed 20 20 0
Not Completed 0 0 0
Period Title: Experiment Proper
Started 113 115 59
Completed 113 115 59
Not Completed 0 0 0
Arm/Group Title Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Game Total
Hide Arm/Group Description Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a violent shooter game which rewards players for shooting realistic human targets. Headshots are rewarded. Wii Play, a non-violent shooter which punishes players for hitting bull's-eye targets with faces on them and rewards players for shooting other targets (e.g., balloons, clay discs, bull's-eye targets without faces). Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a violent shooter game which rewards players for shooting realistic human targets. Headshots are rewarded. Wii Play, a non-violent shooter which punishes players for hitting bull's-eye targets with faces on them and rewards players for shooting other targets (e.g., balloons, clay discs, bull's-eye targets without faces). Super Mario Galaxy, a non-violent game which rewards players for collecting stars and completing challenging levels in a creative, animated world. Does not involve shooting a weapon. Total of all reporting groups
Overall Number of Baseline Participants 20 20 113 115 59 327
Hide Baseline Analysis Population Description
Undergraduate college students.
Age, Categorical  
Measure Type: Count of Participants
Unit of measure:  Participants
Number Analyzed 20 participants 20 participants 113 participants 115 participants 59 participants 327 participants
<=18 years
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
Between 18 and 65 years
20
 100.0%
20
 100.0%
113
 100.0%
115
 100.0%
59
 100.0%
327
 100.0%
>=65 years
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
0
   0.0%
Age, Continuous  
Mean (Standard Deviation)
Unit of measure:  Years
Number Analyzed 20 participants 20 participants 113 participants 115 participants 59 participants 327 participants
19.5  (1.32) 19.1  (1.07) 21.39  (4.27) 20.70  (2.34) 20.24  (1.81) 20.68  (3.06)
Sex: Female, Male   [1] [2] 
Measure Type: Count of Participants
Unit of measure:  Participants
Number Analyzed 20 participants 20 participants 113 participants 115 participants 58 participants 326 participants
Female
10
  50.0%
10
  50.0%
59
  52.2%
61
  53.0%
32
  55.2%
172
  52.8%
Male
10
  50.0%
10
  50.0%
54
  47.8%
54
  47.0%
26
  44.8%
154
  47.2%
[1]
Measure Description: Note: one participant in the study proper did not provide information on their gender. As such, the total is one fewer than the full 327.
[2]
Measure Analysis Population Description: One participant did not give information on their gender.
Region of Enrollment  
Measure Type: Number
Unit of measure:  Participants
United States Number Analyzed 20 participants 20 participants 113 participants 115 participants 59 participants 327 participants
20 20 113 115 59 327
Gun Attitudes Scale   [1] [2] 
Mean (Standard Deviation)
Unit of measure:  Units on a scale
Number Analyzed 0 participants 0 participants 113 participants 115 participants 59 participants 287 participants
3.00  (0.70) 2.96  (0.63) 2.97  (0.80) 2.98  (0.69)
[1]
Measure Description: 17-item, 5-point Likert scale. Range: 1-5, with higher numbers representing more positive attitudes toward guns.
[2]
Measure Analysis Population Description: Note: information on attitudes toward guns was not collected in the pilot study
Number of guns owned   [1] [2] 
Mean (Standard Deviation)
Unit of measure:  Number of guns owned
Number Analyzed 0 participants 0 participants 113 participants 115 participants 59 participants 287 participants
0.24  (0.88) 0.23  (0.69) 0.25  (1.21) 0.24  (0.89)
[1]
Measure Description: Participants were asked how many guns (i.e. personal firearms including handguns and long guns) they had owned over the course of their lifetime.
[2]
Measure Analysis Population Description: Note: information gun ownership was not collected in the pilot study
Number of times shot gun   [1] [2] 
Mean (Standard Deviation)
Unit of measure:  Number of times shot gun
Number Analyzed 0 participants 0 participants 113 participants 115 participants 59 participants 287 participants
7.20  (27.55) 6.15  (20.88) 14.17  (73.65) 8.23  (39.88)
[1]
Measure Description: Self-report of the number of times each participant had shot a gun (i.e. personal firearm) before. Range: 0 - 550.
[2]
Measure Analysis Population Description: Information on number of times the participant had shot a gun was not collected in the pilot study.
Number of violent video games among 3 favorites   [1] [2] 
Mean (Standard Deviation)
Unit of measure:  Number of games
Number Analyzed 0 participants 0 participants 113 participants 115 participants 59 participants 287 participants
0.72  (0.91) 0.83  (0.92) 0.78  (0.91) 0.78  (0.91)
[1]
Measure Description: Participants were asked to list their three favorite video games. Games rated "T" or "M" by the ESRB were considered violent.
[2]
Measure Analysis Population Description: Information on favorite games was not collected for the pilot study.
1.Primary Outcome
Title Hits to Head and Face
Hide Description In the Pilot Study, we counted hits to the head and face for targets within the game. In the Experiment Proper, we counted hits to the head and face of the mannequin.
Time Frame Up to one hour
Hide Outcome Measure Data
Hide Analysis Population Description
[Not Specified]
Arm/Group Title Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Game Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Game Experiment Proper: Violent Shooter Game Experiment Proper: Non-violent Shooter Game Experiment Proper: Non-violent Game
Hide Arm/Group Description:
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a violent shooter game which rewards players for shooting realistic human targets. Headshots are rewarded.
Wii Play, a non-violent shooter which punishes players for hitting bull's-eye targets with faces on them and rewards players for shooting other targets (e.g., balloons, clay discs, bull's-eye targets without faces).
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a violent shooter game which rewards players for shooting realistic human targets. Headshots are rewarded.
Wii Play, a non-violent shooter which punishes players for hitting bull's-eye targets with faces on them and rewards players for shooting other targets (e.g., balloons, clay discs, bull's-eye targets without faces).
Super Mario Galaxy, a non-violent game which rewards players for collecting stars and completing challenging levels in a creative, animated world. Does not involve shooting a weapon.
Overall Number of Participants Analyzed 20 20 113 115 59
Mean (Standard Error)
Unit of Measure: headshots
132.7  (2.68) 3.88  (37.86) 5.33  (4.07) 4.41  (3.77) 3.86  (3.26)
Hide Statistical Analysis 1
Statistical Analysis Overview Comparison Group Selection Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Game
Comments [Not Specified]
Type of Statistical Test Other
Comments ANCOVA
Statistical Test of Hypothesis P-Value 0.04
Comments [Not Specified]
Method ANCOVA
Comments F(2, 273) = 3.16, p = .044, partial c^2 = .023
Hide Statistical Analysis 2
Statistical Analysis Overview Comparison Group Selection Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Game
Comments [Not Specified]
Type of Statistical Test Other
Comments ANCOVA
Statistical Test of Hypothesis P-Value .0001
Comments [Not Specified]
Method ANCOVA
Comments F(1, 36) = 44.42
2.Primary Outcome
Title Other Hits
Hide Description In the Pilot Study, we counted other hits to targets (i.e. not to a face) within the game. In the Experiment Proper, we counted other hits to the mannequin (i.e., torso instead of the head).
Time Frame Up to one hour
Hide Outcome Measure Data
Hide Analysis Population Description
[Not Specified]
Arm/Group Title Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Game Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Game Experiment Proper: Violent Shooter Game Experiment Proper: Non-violent Shooter Game Experiment Proper: Non-violent Game
Hide Arm/Group Description:
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a violent shooter game which rewards players for shooting realistic human targets. Headshots are rewarded.
Wii Play, a non-violent shooter which punishes players for hitting bull's-eye targets with faces on them and rewards players for shooting other targets (e.g., balloons, clay discs, bull's-eye targets without faces).
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a violent shooter game which rewards players for shooting realistic human targets. Headshots are rewarded.
Wii Play, a non-violent shooter which punishes players for hitting bull's-eye targets with faces on them and rewards players for shooting other targets (e.g., balloons, clay discs, bull's-eye targets without faces).
Super Mario Galaxy, a non-violent game which rewards players for collecting stars and completing challenging levels in a creative, animated world. Does not involve shooting a weapon.
Overall Number of Participants Analyzed 20 20 113 115 59
Mean (Standard Deviation)
Unit of Measure: shots not at head or face
1509.25  (432.41) 586.10  (145.83) 6.74  (4.47) 7.70  (4.39) 8.03  (5.56)
Hide Statistical Analysis 1
Statistical Analysis Overview Comparison Group Selection Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Game, Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Game
Comments Hypothesis: Participants who played a violent FPS game were expected to have more hits to targets with heads or faces than were participants who played a nonviolent shooting game.
Type of Statistical Test Other
Comments ANCOVA
Statistical Test of Hypothesis P-Value <.001
Comments [Not Specified]
Method ANCOVA
Comments F(1, 36) = 44.42
Hide Statistical Analysis 2
Statistical Analysis Overview Comparison Group Selection Experiment Proper: Violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Game
Comments Hypothesis: Participants who played a violent FPS game were expected to hit the mannequin's head more often than were participants who played either the nonviolent shooting game or the nonviolent non-shooting game Covariates: participant gender, number of guns owned over their lifetime, attitudes toward guns, and number of times they had fired a gun.
Type of Statistical Test Other
Comments ANCOVA
Statistical Test of Hypothesis P-Value .044
Comments [Not Specified]
Method ANCOVA
Comments F(2, 273) = 3.16
Hide Statistical Analysis 3
Statistical Analysis Overview Comparison Group Selection Experiment Proper: Violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Game
Comments

Hypothesis: Because the nonviolent shooting game rewards other shots, participants who played a nonviolent shooting game were expected to hit the mannequin's torso more often than were participants who played the nonviolent non-shooting game.

Covariates: participant gender, number of guns owned over their lifetime, attitudes toward guns, and number of times they had fired a gun.

Type of Statistical Test Other
Comments ANCOVA
Statistical Test of Hypothesis P-Value 0.17
Comments [Not Specified]
Method t-test, 2 sided
Comments t(274) = 2.40
Hide Statistical Analysis 4
Statistical Analysis Overview Comparison Group Selection Experiment Proper: Violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Game
Comments Hypothesis: participants who played a nonviolent shooting game were expected to hit the mannequin's head less often than were participants who played the nonviolent non-shooting game Covariates: participant gender, number of guns owned over their lifetime, attitudes toward guns, and number of times they had fired a gun.
Type of Statistical Test Other
Comments ANCOVA
Statistical Test of Hypothesis P-Value .449
Comments [Not Specified]
Method t-test, 2 sided
Comments t(274) = -0.76
Hide Statistical Analysis 5
Statistical Analysis Overview Comparison Group Selection Experiment Proper: Violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Game
Comments

Hypothesis: participants who played a nonviolent shooting game were expected to hit the mannequin's torso more often than were participants who played the nonviolent non-shooting game.

Covariates: participant gender, number of guns owned over their lifetime, attitudes toward guns, and number of times they had fired a gun.

Type of Statistical Test Other
Comments ANCOVA
Statistical Test of Hypothesis P-Value .645
Comments [Not Specified]
Method t-test, 2 sided
Comments t(273) = -0.46
Hide Statistical Analysis 6
Statistical Analysis Overview Comparison Group Selection Experiment Proper: Violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Shooter Game, Experiment Proper: Non-violent Game
Comments Hypothesis: A positive correlation was expected between the number of violent shooting games participants listed among their three favorite video games and hits to the mannequin's head.
Type of Statistical Test Other
Comments Zero-order correlation
Statistical Test of Hypothesis P-Value .032
Comments [Not Specified]
Method Zero-order correlation
Comments [Not Specified]
Time Frame [Not Specified]
Adverse Event Reporting Description [Not Specified]
 
Arm/Group Title Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Game
Hide Arm/Group Description 20 participants assigned to play a violent shooter game 20 participants assigned to play a non-violent shooter game 113 participants assigned to play a violent shooter game 115 participants assigned to play a non-violent shooter game 59 participants assigned to play a non-violent game
All-Cause Mortality
Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Game
Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%)
Total   0/20 (0.00%)   0/20 (0.00%)   0/113 (0.00%)   0/115 (0.00%)   0/59 (0.00%) 
Hide Serious Adverse Events
Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Game
Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%)
Total   0/20 (0.00%)   0/20 (0.00%)   0/113 (0.00%)   0/115 (0.00%)   0/59 (0.00%) 
Hide Other (Not Including Serious) Adverse Events
Frequency Threshold for Reporting Other Adverse Events 0%
Pilot Study: Violent Shooter Pilot Study: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Shooter Study Proper: Non-violent Game
Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%) Affected / at Risk (%)
Total   0/20 (0.00%)   0/20 (0.00%)   0/113 (0.00%)   0/115 (0.00%)   0/59 (0.00%) 
Certain Agreements
All Principal Investigators ARE employed by the organization sponsoring the study.
Results Point of Contact
Layout table for Results Point of Contact information
Name/Title: Dr. Brad Bushman
Organization: The Ohio State University
Phone: 614-688-8779
EMail: bushman.20@osu.edu
Publications:
Whitaker, J. L., & Bushman, B. J. (2014). "Boom, Headshot!": Effect of violent video game play and controller type on firing aim and accuracy. Communication Research, 41(7), 879-891. doi:10.1177/0093650212446622
Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: Brad Bushman, Ohio State University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03445156    
Other Study ID Numbers: 2010B0261
First Submitted: February 20, 2018
First Posted: February 26, 2018
Results First Submitted: August 11, 2018
Results First Posted: August 5, 2019
Last Update Posted: August 5, 2019