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      Brief use of a specific gun in a violent game does not affect attitudes towards that gun

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          Abstract

          Although much attention has been paid to the question of whether violent video games increase aggressive behaviour, little attention has been paid to how such games might encourage antecedents of gun violence. In this study, we examined how product placement, the attractive in-game presentation of certain real-world firearm brands, might encourage gun ownership, a necessary antecedent of gun violence. We sought to study how the virtual portrayal of a real-world firearm (the Bushmaster AR-15) could influence players' attitudes towards the AR-15 specifically and gun ownership in general. College undergraduates ( N = 176) played one of four modified video games in a 2 (gun: AR-15 or science-fiction control) × 2 (gun power: strong or weak) between-subjects design. Despite collecting many outcomes and examining many potential covariates and moderators, experimental assignment did little to influence outcomes of product evaluations or purchasing intentions with regard to the AR-15. Attitudes towards public policy and estimation of gun safety were also not influenced by experimental condition, although these might have been better tested by comparison against a no-violence control condition. By contrast, gender and political party had dramatic associations with all outcomes. We conclude that, if product placement shapes attitudes towards firearms, such effects will need to be studied with stronger manipulations or more sensitive measures.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          R Soc Open Sci
          R Soc Open Sci
          RSOS
          royopensci
          Royal Society Open Science
          The Royal Society
          2054-5703
          November 2016
          23 November 2016
          23 November 2016
          : 3
          : 11
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania , PA, USA
          [2 ]CARFAX, Inc. , Columbia, MO, USA
          [3 ]Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri , Columbia, MO, USA
          Author notes
          Author for correspondence: Joseph Hilgard e-mail: jhilgard@ 123456gmail.com

          Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3571167.

          Article
          rsos160310
          10.1098/rsos.160310
          5180109
          © 2016 The Authors.

          Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

          Product
          Categories
          1001
          205
          Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
          Research Article
          Custom metadata
          November, 2016

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