Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dina Anselmi


The relationship between video games and aggressive and prosocial behavior has been a topic of special interest for psychologists, as it may have important implications for society. Research has suggested that violent video games increase aggressive behavior, and prosocial video games increase prosocial behavior (Adachi, Good and Willoughby, 2012; Brauer, Greitemeyer and Osswald, 2010). However, the literature on aggressive behavior is somewhat conflicting and the research on prosocial behavior is relatively recent. Therefore, the current study aimed to fill in some of the gaps in the current literature by examining the effect of prosocial and aggressive video games on prosocial and aggressive behavior. Participants were given the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire and Self-Report Altruism Scale to measure individual characteristics. They were then randomly assigned to one of the following three games: Monster Shooter 2: Back to Earth (aggressive), Ants: Mission of Salvation (prosocial) or Monkey Ball 2 (neutral) and, afterwards, engaged in a Prisoner’s Dilemma task in order to determine the game’s influence on their aggressive or prosocial behaviors. It was hypothesized that students assigned to play Monster Shooter 2:Back to Earth would display more aggressive behavior in the Prisoner’s Dilemma task and students assigned to play Ants: Mission of Salvation would exhibit more prosocial behavior in the Prisoner’s Dilemma task. Results indicated that there was no significant relationship between game type and behavior. The implications of this research for the field of psychology are discussed.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Psychology.