This study examined the effects of interactivity in violent video games on aggression and tested identification as the moderated mediating mechanism. A total of 169 male undergraduate students participated in a 2 media interactivity (enactive mediation vs. observational mediation) × 2 violence (violent vs. nonviolent) experiment. Results supported a moderated mediation model in which the effect of media interactivity on aggressive affect through identification was moderated by violence. When violence was present, interactive play resulted in higher short-term aggressive affect through higher character identification than when violence was not present. Additionally, an interaction effect between media interactivity and violence was found for automatic self-concept in which players associated themselves more with the game character's traits than video viewers.
Journal of Communication, Vol.64, No.3, pp.682-702