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Finally through inferences they make from repeated

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Unformatted text preview: f “rules” for how to interpret, understand, and deal with a variety of situations, including conflict); e. g., Anderson & Huesmann, 2003; Huesmann, 1988, 1998; Huesmann & Miller, 1994). Once learned, such scripts serve as cognitive guides for future behavior. For example, from observing violent people, children may learn that aggression can be used to try to solve interpersonal conflicts. As a result of mental rehearsal (e.g., imagining this kind of behavior) and repeated exposure, this approach to conflict resolution can become well established and easily retrieved from memory. Finally, through inferences they make from repeated observations, children also develop beliefs about the world in general (e.g., is it hostile or benign) and about what kind of behavior is acceptable. Observational learning and imitation are often thought of as conscious processes, but that need not be the case. Recent theoretical and empirical work (e.g., Bargh & Chartrand, 1999; Neuman & Strack, 2000) suggests that some types of imitative behaviors are very automatic, nonconscious, and likely to be short-lived. Similarly, observational learning of complex scripts and schemas (e.g., beliefs, attitudes, and other types of knowledge that guide perception, interpretation, and Media Violence 43 understanding) can also occur outside of awareness, even with no immediate imitation of behaviors. Theoretically, it should not matter much for the long-term consequences of observation of violent behavior whether or not the child is aware of its influence. Repeated observation of aggressive behavior should increase the likelihood that children will incorporate aggressive scripts into their repertoires of social scripts, particularly if their own use of those scripts is followed by reinforcement. Priming and Automatization of Aggressive Schematic Processing Neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists have discovered that the human mind often acts as an associative network in which ideas are partially activated (primed) by associated stimuli in the environment (Fiske & Taylor, 1984). An encounter with some event or stimulus can prime, or activate, related concepts and ideas in a person’s memory even without the person being aware of this influence (Bargh & Pietromonaco, 1982). For example, exposure to violent scenes may activate a complex set of associations that are related to aggressive ideas or emotions, thereby temporarily increasing the accessibility of aggressive thoughts, feelings, and scripts (including aggressive action tendencies). In other words, aggressive primes or cues make aggressive schemas more easily available for use in processing other incoming information, creating a temporary interpretational filter that biases subsequent perceptions. If these aggressive schemas are primed while certain events--such as ambiguous provocation--occur, the new events are more likely to be interpreted as involving aggression, thereby increasing the likelihood of an aggressive response. Priming effects related to aggression have been empirically demonstrated both for cues usually associated with violence, such as weapons (Anderson, Benjamin, & Bartholow, 1998; Berkowitz & LePage, 1967; Carlson, Marcus-Newhall, & Miller, 1990), and for initially neutral cues that have been observed repeatedly to be connected to violence, such as the color of a room in which violence is repeatedly observed (Leyens & Fraczek, 1983). For example, the mere presence of a weapon within a person’s visual field can increase aggressive thoughts and aggressive behavior (Bartholow, Anderson, Anderson, Berkowitz, Donnerstein, Huesmann, Johnson, Linz, Malamuth, & Wartella 44 Benjamin, & Carnagey, in press). Priming effects are often seen as purely short-term influences. But research by cognitive and social-cognitive scientists has shown that repeated priming and use of a set of concepts or schemas eventually makes them chronically accessible. In essence, frequently primed aggression-related thoughts, emotions, and behavioral scripts become automatically and chronically accessible. That is, they become part of the normal internal state of the individual, thereby increasing the likelihood that any social encounter will be interpreted in an aggression-biased way, and therefore increasing the likelihood of aggressive encounters throughout the individual's life (e.g., Anderson & Huesmann, 2003). This automatization process, which changes short-lived increases in aggressionbiased perceptions into relatively long-lasting aggression-biased perceptual filters, is essentially another type of learning process, one that has long-term consequences. Arousal and Excitation Transfer Media violence is exciting (arousing) for most youth. That is, it increases heart rate, the skin's conductance of electricity, and other physiological indicators of arousal. There is evidence that this arousal can increase aggression in two different ways. First, arousal, reg...
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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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