“Boom, Headshot!”: Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy

Jodi L. Whitaker, Brad J. Bushman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Citations

Abstract

Video games are excellent training tools. Some writers have called violent video games “murder simulators.” Can violent games “train” a person to shoot a gun? There are theoretical reasons to believe they can. Participants (N = 151) played a violent shooting game with humanoid targets that rewarded headshots, a nonviolent shooting game with bull’s-eye targets, or a nonviolent nonshooting game. Those who played a shooting game used either a pistol-shaped or a standard controller. Next, participants shot a realistic gun at a mannequin. Participants who played a violent shooting game using a pistol-shaped controller had 99% more headshots and 33% more other shots than did other participants. These results remained significant even after controlling for firearm experience, gun attitudes, habitual exposure to violent shooting games, and trait aggressiveness. Habitual exposure to violent shooting games also predicted shooting accuracy. Thus, playing violent shooting video games can improve firing accuracy and can influence players to aim for the head.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-891
Number of pages13
JournalCommunication Research
Volume41
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

playing
Video games
Controllers
Habitual
computer game
participant
weapon
Simulators
Bull
Theoretical reason
Murder
Simulator
Aggressiveness
Train
Firearms
aggressiveness
homicide
writer
human being
training

Keywords

  • controller
  • gun
  • pistol
  • shooting accuracy
  • violent video game

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

“Boom, Headshot!” : Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy. / Whitaker, Jodi L.; Bushman, Brad J.

In: Communication Research, Vol. 41, No. 7, 01.10.2014, p. 879-891.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Whitaker, Jodi L.; Bushman, Brad J. / “Boom, Headshot!” : Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy.

In: Communication Research, Vol. 41, No. 7, 01.10.2014, p. 879-891.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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