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Playing a violent television game affects heart rate variability
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
Karolinska Institutet.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
2009 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 98, no 1, 166-172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To investigate how playing a violent/nonviolent television game during the evening affects sympathetic and parasympathetic reactions during and after playing as well as sleep quality during the night after playing.

Subjects and Methods: In total, 19 boys, 12–15 years of age, played television games on two occasions in their homes and participated once without gaming. Heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV) and physical activity were measured during gaming/participating and the night to follow using a portable combined heart rate and movement sensor. A sleep diary and questionnaires about gaming experiences and session-specific experiences were filled in.

Criteria for Selection of Games: Violent game involves/rewards direct physical violence (no handguns) against another person, and nonviolent game involves/rewards no violence; same game design ('third-person game'); conducted in the same manner; no differences concerning motor activity; similar sound and light effects; no sexual content, violence against women or racial overtones.

Results: During violent (vs. nonviolent) gaming, there was significantly higher activity of the very low frequency component of the HRV and total power. During the night after playing, very low frequency, low frequency and high frequency components were significantly higher during the violent (vs. nonviolent) condition, just as total power. There were no significant differences between the three conditions (violent/nonviolent/no gaming) with respect to an index reflecting subjectively perceived sleep difficulties. Nor was there any difference between violent and nonviolent condition for any single sleep item.

Conclusion: Violent gaming induces different autonomic responses in boys compared to nonviolent gaming – during playing and during the following night – suggesting different emotional responses. Subjectively perceived sleep quality is not influenced after a single gaming experience. Future studies should address the development of the autonomic balance after gaming over longer time than a night, physiological adaptation to frequent gaming and potential gender differences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, Inc , 2009. Vol. 98, no 1, 166-172 p.
Keyword [en]
autonomic nervous system, children, heart rate variability, sleep quality, television game
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35426DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.01096.xISI: 000261636800035PubMedID: 19006532Local ID: P2707OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-35426DiVA: diva2:287263
Note
This work and the research position of Frank Lindblad were financed by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research. A pilot study and the start of this study were financed by Oscar och Maria Ekmans donationsfond. We would also like to express our gratitude to the boys who participated, to André Lauber for skilful help with data preparation, to Niklas Storck for providing HRV software and to Lennart Högman for doctoral supervision of Malena Ivarsson.Available from: 2010-01-18 Created: 2010-01-18 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Psycho-physiological reactions to violent video gaming: Experimental studies of heart rate variability, cortisol, sleep and emotional reactions in teenage boys
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psycho-physiological reactions to violent video gaming: Experimental studies of heart rate variability, cortisol, sleep and emotional reactions in teenage boys
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Playing violent video games may provoke aggression. Psycho-physiological methods may provide knowledge about the underlying psychological processes. Most previous studies have been performed in laboratory settings at daytime with adults. Thus the aim of this thesis was to investigate psycho-physiological (autonomic and HPA related reactions), sleep-related and emotional responses in teenage boys to playing a violent and a non-violent video game at home before going to sleep. In Study I the autonomic responses differed between the violent and the non-violent game during playing and more distinctly during sleep. In Study II the HPA axis was not affected by video gaming at all. In Study III, the effect of habits of playing violent games was assessed (≤ 1h/day and ≥ 3h/day). High versus low experience of violent gaming were related to different autonomic, sleep-related and emotional processes at exposure to a violent and a non-violent game, during playing and during sleep. The present thesis demonstrated that violent and non-violent games induce different autonomic responses during playing and – more distinctly – during sleep. Frequent gaming seems to influence physiological, sleep-related and emotional reactions, possibly as an expression of desensitization processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2014. 84 p.
Keyword
video gaming, media violence, autonomic nervous system, heart rate variability, HPA axis, cortisol, sleep quality, emotional reactions, desensitization, teenagers
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102626 (URN)978-91-7447-820-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-16, David Magnussalen (U31), hus 8, Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-04-11 Last updated: 2014-04-16Bibliographically approved

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