Abstract Title

Psychophysiological Stress Reactivity of Psychopathic Male Gamers

group

Authors' Class Standing

Rebecca DeMarco, Sophomore Jacob Werchan, Junior Tori Barkley, Senior Nathan Sonnenfeld, Senior Christopher Via, Doctoral Student

Lead Presenter's Name

Rebecca DeMarco

Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Christina Frederick, Dr. Amy Bradshaw-Hoppock

Abstract

There have been two traditional tests used in psychology experiments to assess cortisol production in human participants; one test is the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) which has been used as a performance-based stressor, and the other is social rejection stressor (O’leary et al. 2012). To date, limited research has been performed on video games and the amount of stress they provide. This project is designed to understand stress provided by a video game, Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar, 2008), and the psychophysiological reaction by the autonomic nervous system in the form of cortisol and testosterone secretion analyses. The present study will categorize male participants based upon their levels of psychopathy through the use of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP). These participants will be grouped according to their answers as low, medium, or high levels of psychopathy. A 3 (low, medium, high) X 4 (baseline, 10 minutes, post-game play, 20 minutes post-game play) multivariate analysis of variance will be performed to answer our four research questions: “Does Grand Theft Auto IV act as a psychological stressor” and “Do psychopathic gamers react to this stressor, psychophysiologically, in the manner in which the literature alludes to with respect to other stressors, or does this game facilitate some type of difference?” Also of interest is the relationship psychopathy has with the hormones cortisol and testosterone, specifically, “Is there linearity or non-linearity in the production of cortisol and/or testosterone?” Our fourth research question asks, “Is there latency or an absence of either testosterone or cortical response between these groups?”

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Psychophysiological Stress Reactivity of Psychopathic Male Gamers

There have been two traditional tests used in psychology experiments to assess cortisol production in human participants; one test is the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) which has been used as a performance-based stressor, and the other is social rejection stressor (O’leary et al. 2012). To date, limited research has been performed on video games and the amount of stress they provide. This project is designed to understand stress provided by a video game, Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar, 2008), and the psychophysiological reaction by the autonomic nervous system in the form of cortisol and testosterone secretion analyses. The present study will categorize male participants based upon their levels of psychopathy through the use of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP). These participants will be grouped according to their answers as low, medium, or high levels of psychopathy. A 3 (low, medium, high) X 4 (baseline, 10 minutes, post-game play, 20 minutes post-game play) multivariate analysis of variance will be performed to answer our four research questions: “Does Grand Theft Auto IV act as a psychological stressor” and “Do psychopathic gamers react to this stressor, psychophysiologically, in the manner in which the literature alludes to with respect to other stressors, or does this game facilitate some type of difference?” Also of interest is the relationship psychopathy has with the hormones cortisol and testosterone, specifically, “Is there linearity or non-linearity in the production of cortisol and/or testosterone?” Our fourth research question asks, “Is there latency or an absence of either testosterone or cortical response between these groups?”