Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. Connie Lamm


A number of studies have indicated that violent video gameplay is associated with higher levels of aggression, and desensitization to violent content contributes to this association. Utilizing a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task, the current study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate selective attention (N1 activation), cognitive control (N2 activation), and desensitization (P3 activation) as neurocognitive mechanisms potentially underlying the association between gameplay and subtypes of aggression. Results showed video game players and non-players differed significantly in brain activation when engaged with violent imagery. N1 and P3 amplitude moderated the association between gameplay and pleasure-oriented aggression. Follow-up analyses further revealed that individuals who play games for many hours and show large N1 activation (high selective attention) in the face of violence have small P3 activation (heightened desensitization). Thus, our results suggest that selective attention to violent content and subsequent desensitization effects moderate the association between video gameplay and aggression.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.