Are Boys More Aggressive than Girls after Playing Violent Computer Games Online? An Insight into an Emotional Stroop Task


The study was to examine the gender differences in aggression among Chinese children after playing violent computer games by using emotional STROOP task. 98 children participated in this study, with 49 assigned to violent computer game group and the other 49 assigned to nonviolent computer game group. The results demonstrated that there were significant differences in main affect of game type, and significant Game Type × Gender interaction as well. In particular, boys’ aggression was significantly impacted by violent games, whereas girls’ aggression was not significantly impacted by violent games. The implication of this research is that, the significant difference in aggression to gender is activated, and that boys were more aggressive and sensitive to violent games than girls.

Share and Cite:

Tian, J. & Qian, Z. (2014). Are Boys More Aggressive than Girls after Playing Violent Computer Games Online? An Insight into an Emotional Stroop Task. Psychology, 5, 27-31. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.51006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] American Psychological Association (2013). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.
[2] Anderson, C. A., Gentile, D. A., & Buckley, K. E. (2007). Violent video game effects on children and adolescents. New York: Oxford University Press.
[3] Anderson, C. A. (2010). Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in eastern and western countries: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 151-173.
[4] Anderson, C. A. (1997). Effects of violent movies and trait hostility on hostile feelings and aggressive thoughts. Aggressive Behavior, 23, 161-178.<161::AID-AB2>3.0.CO;2-P
[5] Anderson, C. A., Anderson, K. B., & Deuser, W. E. (1996a). Examining an affective aggression framework: Weapon and temperature effects on aggressive thoughts, affect and attitudes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 366-376.
[6] Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and pro-social behavior: A meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychological Science, 5, 353-359.
[7] Anderson, C., & Bushman, B. J. (2002). Human aggression. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 27-51.
[8] Barlett, C. P., Anderson, C. A., & Swing, E. L. (2009). Video game effects-confirmed, suspected, and speculative: A review of the evidence. Simulation Gaming, 40, 377-403.
[9] Ballard, M. E., & Lineberger, R. (1999). Video game violence and confederate gender: Effects on reward and punishment given by college males. Sex Roles, 41, 541-558.
[10] Ballard, M. E., & Robert, L. (1999). Video game violence and confederate gender: Effects on reward and punishment given by college males. Sex Roles, 41, 541-558.
[11] Baron, R. A., & Richardson, D. (1994). Human Aggression. New York: Plenum.
[12] Berkowitz, L. (1990). On the formation and regulation of anger and aggression: A cognitive-neoassociationistic analysis. American Psychologist, 45, 494-503.
[13] Bingenheimer, J. B., Brennan, R. T., & Earls, F. J. (2005). Sociology: Firearm violence exposure and serious violent behavior. Science, 308, 1323-1326.
[14] Boutwell, B. B., Franklin, C. A., Barnes, J. C., & Beaver, K. M. (2011). Physical punishment and childhood aggression: The role of gender and gene-environment interplay. Aggressive Behavior, 37, 559-568.
[15] Carnagey, N. L., & Anderson, C. A. (2003). Theory in the study of media violence: The general aggression model. In D. A. Gentile (Ed.), Media violence and children: A complete guide for parents and professionals (pp. 87-105). Westport, CT: Praeger.
[16] Craig, L. A., Browne, K. D., Beech, A., & Stringer, I. (2006). Differences in personality and risk characteristics in sex, violent and general offenders. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 16, 183-194.
[17] Cross, C. P., & Campbell, A. (2012). The effects of intimacy and target sex on direct aggression: Further evidence. Aggressive Behavior, 38, 272-280.
[18] Ferguson, C. J., & John, K. (2010). Much ado about nothing: The misestimation and over interpretation of violent video game effects in Eastern and Western nations: Comment on Anderson et al. (2010). Psychological Bulletin, 136, 174-178.
[19] Freedman, J. L. (1984). Effect of television violence on aggressiveness. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 227-246.
[20] Freedman, J. L. (1986). Television violence and aggression: A rejoinder. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 372-378.
[21] Freedman, J. L. (2003). Media violence and its effect on aggression: Assessing the scientific evidence. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
[22] Friedrich-Cofer, L., & Huston, A. C. (1986). Television violence and aggression: The debate continues. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 364-371.
[23] Garandeau, C. F., Ahn, H. J., & Rodkin, P. C. (2011). The social status of aggressive students across contexts: The role of classroom status hierarchy, academic achievement, and grade. Developmental Psychology, 47, 1699-1710.
[24] Geen, R. G., & O’Neal, E. C. (1969). Activation of cue-elicited aggression by general arousal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 11, 289-292.
[25] Huesmann, L. R. (1986). Psychological processes promoting the relation between exposure tomedia violence and aggressive behavior by the viewer. Journal of Social Issues, 42, 125-139.
[26] Huesmann, L. R., Eron, L. D., Lefkowitz, M. M., & Walder, L. O. (1973). Television violence and aggression: The causal effect remains. American Psychologist, 28, 617-620.
[27] Huesmann, L. R., Moise-Titus, J., Podolski, C. L., & Eron, L. D. (2003). Longitudinal relations between children’s exposure to TV violence and their aggressive and violent behavior in young adulthood: 1977-1992. Developmental Psychology, 39, 201-221.
[28] Johnson, J. G., Cohen, P., Smailes, E. M., Kasen, S., & Brook, J. S. (2002). Television viewing and aggressive behavior during adolescence and adulthood. Science, 295, 2468-2471.
[29] Lansford, J. E., Skinner, A. T., Sorbring, E., Giunta, L. D., Deater-Deckard, K., Dodge, K. A., Malone, P. S., Oburu, P., Pastorelli, C., Tapanya, S., Uribe Tirado, L. M., Zelli, A., Al-Hassan, S. M., Pena Alampay, L., Bacchini, D., Bombi, A. S., Bornstein, M. H., & Chang, L. (2012). Boys’ and girls’ relational and physical aggression in nine countries. Aggressive Behavior, 38, 298-308.
[30] Ramirez, J. M., Andreu, J. M., & Fujihara, T. (2001). Cultural and sex differences in aggression: A comparison between Japanese and Spanish students using two different inventories. Aggressive Behavior, 27, 313-322.
[31] Salmivalli, C., & Kaukiainen, A. (2004). Female aggression revisited: Variable- and person-centered approaches to studying gender differences in different types of aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 30, 158-163.
[32] Smith, P., & Waterman, M. (2005). Sex differences in processing aggression words using the emotional Stroop task. Aggressive Behavior, 31, 271-282.
[33] Uhlmann, E., & Swanson, J. (2004). Exposure to violent video games increases automatic aggressiveness. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 41-52.
[34] Zhang, Q., Zhang, D. J., & Wang, L. X. (2013). Is aggressive trait responsible for violence? Priming effects of aggressive words and violent movies. Psychology, 4, 96-100.
[35] Zhang, Q., Zhong, J. X., & Zhang, D. J. (2013). Does violent movie exposure affect aggressive cognition of Chinese adolescents? Evidences from a modified STROOP task. International Journal of Psychological Studies, 5, 11-18.
[36] Zhen, S. J., Xie, H. L., Zhang, W., Wang, S. J., & Li, D. P. (2011). Exposure to violent computer games and Chinese adolescents’ physical aggression: The role of beliefs about aggression, hostile expectations, and empathy. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1675-1687.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.