We examined reward and punishment behavior among male college students (N = 119) following video game play. Most participants (N = 96) were White, the remainder (N = 23) were African American; most were from middle- to upper-middle-class backgrounds. The participants played either a nonviolent (NBA Jam(TM)) or one of three levels of a violent (Mortal Kombat(TM)) video game. After playing the video game for 15 minutes participants rewarded and punished a male or female confederate in a teacher/learner paradigm. Participants rewarded male (but not female) confederates with significantly more jellybeans under the basketball condition than under any of the martial arts conditions. Participants rewarded confederates more under the NEA Jam condition than any of the Mortal Kombat conditions, bur the Mortal Kombat conditions did not differ significantly from one another. Participants punished confederates significantly more after playing Mortal Kombat II than after playing NEA Jam. While participants were punished more harshly under the Mortal Kombat II condition than the Mortal Kombat conditions, these differences were not significant. Post hoc analyses showed that females were punished significantly more stringently as game violence increased but this finding should be interpreted with caution.
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