Video Games, Booze, and Aggression: A Tale of Unintended Consequences

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bruce D. Bartholow

University of Missouri

Human aggression is at once a very basic and a very complex social behavior. Aggression is basic in that it occurs in virtually everyone at one time or another and tendencies toward aggression might be present at birth. But aggression is much more complicated than such characterizations would suggest, in terms of both the biological processes that support it and the psychological processes that determine when and how it will be expressed. This talk will focus on current research investigating how two psychologically and ecologically relevant situational variables, media violence and alcohol-related cues, bias interpretation of ongoing interactions and change underlying neural and cognitive processes in ways that can increase the expression of aggressive behavior. Going beyond traditional notions of priming, the research to be presented here discusses how misattribution of accessible mental content can play a key role in explaining the often subtle and unintended consequences of exposure to situational cues on aggressive responding.


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