Anderson, C.A., & Morrow, M. (1995). 

Competitive aggression without interaction: Effects of competitive versus cooperative instructions on aggressive behavior in video games. 

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 1020-1030.


Two experiments extended and tested Deutsch's (1993) theory of competition effects. A knowledge structure approach predicted that people view competitive situations as inherently more aggressive than cooperative ones. Furthermore, it was predicted that leading people to think of an ambiguously aggressive situation in competitive terms would increase aggressive behavior. In Experiment 1 knowledge structures of competitive situations had more aggressive content than cooperative ones. In Experiment 2 competition primed subjects unnecessarily killed more video game characters (Mario Brothers) than cooperation primed subjects. This increase in kill ratio occurred in the absence of changes in hostility, friendliness, or liking for one's game partner. Implications for understanding cooperation and competition, and for further research on such "affectless aggression," were discussed.

 © 1995 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

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