The allure of the forbidden: Breaking taboos, frustration, and attraction to violent video games

J.L. Whitaker, A. Melzer, G. Steffgen, B.J. Bushman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Although people typically avoid engaging in antisocial or taboo behaviors, such as cheating and stealing, they may succumb in order to maximize their personal benefit. Moreover, they may be frustrated when the chance to commit a taboo behavior is withdrawn. The present study tested whether the desire to commit a taboo behavior, and the frustration from being denied such an opportunity, increases attraction to violent video games. Playing violent games allegedly offers an outlet for aggression prompted by frustration. In two experiments, some participants had no chance to commit a taboo behavior (cheating in Experiment 1, stealing in Experiment 2), others had a chance to commit a taboo behavior, and others had a withdrawn chance to commit a taboo behavior. Those in the latter group were most attracted to violent video games. Withdrawing the chance for participants to commit a taboo behavior increased their frustration, which in turn increased their attraction to violent video games. © The Author(s) 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-513
JournalPsychological Science
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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