THE INFLUENCE OF MEDIA - PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE IN THE...

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PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST VOL. 4, NO. 3, DECEMBER 2003 Copyright © 2003 American Psychological Society 81 Summary—Research on violent television and films, video games, and music reveals unequivocal evidence that media vio- lence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behav- ior in both immediate and long-term contexts. The effects appear larger for milder than for more severe forms of aggres- sion, but the effects on severe forms of violence are also sub- stantial ( r ± .13 to .32) when compared with effects of other violence risk factors or medical effects deemed important by the medical community (e.g., effect of aspirin on heart attacks). The research base is large; diverse in methods, samples, and media genres; and consistent in overall findings. The evidence is clearest within the most extensively researched domain, tele- vision and film violence. The growing body of video-game re- search yields essentially the same conclusions. Short-term exposure increases the likelihood of physically and verbally aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, and aggressive emotions. Recent large-scale longitudinal studies provide converging evidence linking frequent exposure to vio- lent media in childhood with aggression later in life, includ- ing physical assaults and spouse abuse. Because extremely violent criminal behaviors (e.g., forcible rape, aggravated as- sault, homicide) are rare, new longitudinal studies with larger samples are needed to estimate accurately how much habitual childhood exposure to media violence increases the risk for extreme violence. Well-supported theory delineates why and when exposure to media violence increases aggression and violence. Media violence produces short-term increases by priming existing aggressive scripts and cognitions, increasing physiological arousal, and triggering an automatic tendency to imitate ob- served behaviors. Media violence produces long-term effects via several types of learning processes leading to the acquisi- tion of lasting (and automatically accessible) aggressive scripts, interpretational schemas, and aggression-supporting beliefs about social behavior, and by reducing individuals’ THE INFLUENCE OF MEDIA VIOLENCE ON YOUTH Craig A. Anderson, 1 Leonard Berkowitz, 2 Edward Donnerstein, 3 L. Rowell Huesmann, 4 James D. Johnson, 5 Daniel Linz, 6 Neil M. Malamuth, 7 and Ellen Wartella 8 1 Department of Psychology, Iowa State University; 2 Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin; 3 College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of Arizona; 4 Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan; 5 Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina-Wilmington; 6 Department of Communication and Law and Society Program, University of California, Santa Barbara; 7 Department of Communication/Speech, University of California, Los Angeles; and 8 College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin normal negative emotional responses to violence (i.e., desen-
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THE INFLUENCE OF MEDIA - PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE IN THE...

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