Recent research reveals that playing prosocial video games increases prosocial cognitions, positive affect, and helpful behaviors [Gentile et al., 2009; Greitemeyer and Osswald, 2009, 2010, 2011]. These results are consistent with the social-cognitive models of social behavior such as the general learning model [Buckley and Anderson, 2006]. However, no experimental studies have examined such effects on children. Previous research on violent video games suggests that short-term effects of video games are largely based on priming of existing behavioral scripts. Thus, it is unclear whether younger children will show similar effects. This research had 9-14 years olds play a prosocial, neutral, or violent video game, and assessed helpful and hurtful behaviors simultaneously through a new tangram measure. Prosocial games increased helpful and decreased hurtful behavior, whereas violent games had the opposite effects.
Keywords: aggression; helping; media violence; prosocial media; video games.
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.