mediaviolencefactsheet - Copy - Copy (2)

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Unformatted text preview: may be a lower threshold for a media-violence-induced activation of aggressive behavior. Studies of violent television, film, and video games (e.g., Anderson & Dill, 2000, Study 1; Bushman, 1995; Bushman & Geen, 1990; Friedrich & Stein, 1973; Josephson, 1987) have found that highly aggressive individuals show greater effects (on aggressive behavior, attitudes, emotions, and beliefs) of exposure to media violence than their relatively less aggressive counterparts. Children who are at the greatest risk to grow up to be very aggressive are those who both were initially aggressive and watched relatively high amounts of TV violence (Dorr & Kovaric, 1980; Huesmann, Eron, Lefkowitz, & Walder, 1973). At the same time, this does not mean that the relatively nonaggressive child is unaffected by violent portrayals. Several studies have shown significant effects of media violence on later aggression among children with low levels of earlier aggression, as well as their highly aggressive peers (e.g., Eron et al., 1972; Gentile & Anderson, 2003; Huesmann et al., 1973, 2003). Furthermore, studies sometimes obtain essentially equal-size media-violence effects for individuals with low and high aggressive tendencies (e.g., Anderson & Dill, 2000, Study 2) and sometimes find that less aggressive individuals are more affected by media violence than more aggressive individuals are (e.g., Anderson, 1997). Bandura's (1977) concept of "reciprocal determinism" helps to make sense of some of these findings. Different types of people seek out different types of media content but then are also affected differently by the content. Thus, children with strongly aggressive predispositions may be especially attracted to viewing violent media, perhaps because it helps them justify their own behavior (Bushman, 1995; Fenigstein, 1979; Gunter, 1983; Huesmann et al., 2003; O'Neal & Taylor, 1989), but, as noted, they may also be more likely than other children to be influenced by such exposure. For example, they may perceive the violence as more normative and may identify more with the violent characters. Both of these factors should increase the likelihood that the media Anderson, Berkowitz, Donnerstein, Huesmann, Johnson, Linz, Malamuth, & Wartella 50 exposure will influence them. Along these lines, studies focusing on sexually violent media have shown that young men who are relatively high in risk for sexual aggression are more likely to be attracted to and aroused by sexually violent media (e.g., Malamuth & Check, 1983) and may be more likely to be influenced by exposure to such violent media than those low at risk for sexual aggression (e.g., Malamuth & Check, 1985). Finally, it is important to realize that experiments and longitudinal studies have shown that aggressive youths' attraction to violent media cannot explain away the effect of the violent media on those youths. Rather, their attraction is an added risk factor that increases the likelihood they will be affected by the violence they observe. Intelligence of the Viewer The relevant theories do not make a clear prediction about the role of the viewers’ intelligence as a moderator of the effect of media violence. On the one hand, children of lower intellectual ability watch more television and see more television violence (see Comstock & Paik, 1991, pp. 8695) than children of higher intelligence, and also are more at risk to behave aggressively (Huesmann, Eron, & Yarmel, 1987). On the other hand, children of higher intelligence usually learn more rapidly, through either conditioning or observational learning, so one might expect them to be influenced more. The existing empirical research provides little support for either argument. Although statistically controlling for intelligence has frequently lowered observed media-violence correlations in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies (see Milavsky et al., 1982), differences in intelligence do not explain the media-violence effects on aggression, and there is little evidence that either high or low intelligence exacerbates the media-violence effects (see Eron et al., 1972; Huesmann & Eron, 1986; Huesmann et al., 2003). Perceptions of Realism and Identification With Aggressive TV Characters Observational-learning theory suggests that children who identify fairly strongly with an aggressive character or perceive a violent scene as realistic are especially likely to have aggressive ideas primed by the observed violence, to imitate the character, or to acquire a variety of aggressive Media Violence 51 scripts and schemas (beliefs, attitudes, interpretational biases).. Of course, identification and realism depend on the portrayal as well as the viewer. Some evidence indeed suggests that relatively realistic portrayals are more likely to increase viewers’ aggression than those presented in a more fictionalized or fantastic fashion (Atkin, 1983; Berkowitz & Alioto, 1973; Feshbach, 1972; Geen, 1975; Hapkiewicz & Stone, 1974). Also, when people are asked to imagine themselves as the protagonist...
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2013 for the course ELECTRICAL 205 taught by Professor Tom during the Spring '13 term at American University in Cairo.

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