Denying humanness to others: a newly discovered mechanism by which violent video games increase aggressive behavior

Psychol Sci. 2011 May;22(5):659-65. doi: 10.1177/0956797611403320. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


Past research has provided abundant evidence that playing violent video games increases aggressive behavior. So far, these effects have been explained mainly as the result of priming existing knowledge structures. The research reported here examined the role of denying humanness to other people in accounting for the effect that playing a violent video game has on aggressive behavior. In two experiments, we found that playing violent video games increased dehumanization, which in turn evoked aggressive behavior. Thus, it appears that video-game-induced aggressive behavior is triggered when victimizers perceive the victim to be less human.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Behavior*
  • Students / psychology
  • Video Games / psychology*
  • Violence / psychology*