Monday, April 24, 2017

Grand Theft Auto Violence

Grand Theft Auto is a popular roleplaying video game where you, the main character, get to act out the role of a criminal involved in organized crime. You are given tasks from various mob bosses and kingpins. Grand Theft Auto has garnered a lot of media attention about its possible influence on it's audience, mainly linking gameplay to real life violence. The question of the week is: "Do media have direct effects?". This is related to the question by analyzing the immediate effects Grand Theft Auto may have on its users. According to a study on video game effects done by researchers at Iowa State University, video games and higher aggression showed to have a correlation at a high level (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). However, according to a different study published in a Media Psychology journal, video games and violence have a very small amount of correlation, also suggesting that there is no proof of causation (Weber, Ritterfeld, & Mathiak, 2006). Although there is a debate on to what extent video games has on its users, Grand Theft Auto has come to the forefront of the debate with many lawsuits having been filed against the franchise. This suggests that although not completely backed by scientific research, societies feelings on the franchises message have had a direct effect on who they perceive is to blame for violence.

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Straubhaar, Joseph, and Robert Larose. (2008). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture and Technology. Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Company.
Weber, R., Ritterfeld, U., & Mathiak, K. (2006). Does playing violent video games induce aggression? Empirical evidence of a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Media psychology8(1), 39-60.

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