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Unformatted text preview: en many such experiments involving media violence. Out of ethical
necessity, these generally have not examined effects on the most serious types of physical
aggression. However, longitudinal studies (as reviewed in a later section) reveal that children who
exhibit relatively high levels of the mild forms of aggression common in childhood are more likely
than other children to engage in more severe forms of aggression in adolescence and adulthood.
Similarly, methodological research designed to test the generality of laboratory measures of
aggression (e.g., Anderson & Bushman, 1997; Carlson, Marcus-Newhall, & Miller, 1989) has
demonstrated that high levels of the mild forms of aggression typical of laboratory studies correlate
well with each other and with more extreme forms of physical aggression measured in real-world
contexts. Consequently, experiments on media violence add significantly to understanding of the
causal effects of media violence on aggression, and are especially valuable when their findings are
integrated with the results of more naturalistic surveys and longitudinal studies dealing with serious
forms of physical aggression and violence. In other words, no single methodological approach can
provide unequivocal answers to the key questions about media violence, but converging results
from studies using multiple methodologies can enhance confidence in the validity of the
conclusions drawn. This triangulation approach to science is effective precisely because different
methodologies have different inherent strengths and weaknesses, and converging results essentially
rule out competing alternative explanations (e.g., Anderson & Bushman, 2001).
OVERVIEW OF EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON MEDIA VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION
Most studies of the effects of media violence have examined passive visual media (dramatic
television and movies, television news, and music videos), that is, media that viewers observe only.
However, there have also been a limited number of investigations of interactive visual media (video
games and the Internet), media that viewers both observe and interact with. In this section, we
examine both kinds of studies. Within each genre, we begin with experimental studies, in which
cause and effect are unambiguous but the effects observed are short term. Of necessity, the Media Violence 17 outcomes in these experiments tend to be physical aggression that is not life threatening, or else
verbal aggression, aggressive thoughts, or aggressive emotions. We then turn to surveys, or crosssectional studies, that provide a snapshot of the relation at one point in time between individuals’
habitual consumption of media violence and their aggressive behavior.1 These surveys often deal
with more serious forms of physical aggression, but this type of methodology by itself is not as
conclusive about causation as experimental studies are. For genres for which longitudinal studies
exist, we conclude our review by examining how youths' habitual consumption of violence affects
their violent and aggressive behavior later in life. Like cross-sectional investigations, longitudinal
studies often examine serious physical aggression, but they generally provide better evidence about
causal influences than can cross-sectional studies.
Because of space constraints, we provide illustrative examples of carefully selected key studies
in each area, rather than an exhaustive review of the research literature. However, in addition to
discussing these selected studies, we describe (if available) meta-analyses that have aggregated the
results of most major investigations to reach overall estimates of effect sizes. A meta-analysis
essentially averages the effect sizes of multiple studies, and allows the researcher to ask whether a
particular factor (e.g., exposure to media violence) is significantly linked to a particular outcome
(e.g., violent behavior). There are several commonly used measures of effect size, any of which can
be applied to experimental, correlational, and longitudinal types of studies.. To provide a common
metric for this discussion, we have converted all effect sizes to correlation coefficients (rs).
Dramatic Television and Movies
Randomized Experiments: Examples
A substantial number of laboratory and field experiments over the past half-century have
examined whether exposure to violent behavior on film or television tends to increase aggressive
behavior in the short term (see reviews by Bushman & Huesmann, 2001; Comstock, 1980; Geen,
1990; Geen & Thomas, 1986; Huesmann, Moise, & Podolski, 1997). The consistent finding from Anderson, Berkowitz, Donnerstein, Huesmann, Johnson, Linz, Malamuth, & Wartella 18 such randomized experiments is that youths who watch violent scenes subsequently display more
aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, or aggressive emotions than those who do not.
In the typical experimental paradigm , researchers randomly assign youths to see either a short
violent or a short nonviolent film, and then observe how they interact with other people after
viewing the film. Both physical and verbal aggression toward others may be asse...
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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.
- Spring '13
- The Land