mediaviolencefactsheet - Copy - Copy (2)

This kind of effect is usually short lived perhaps

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Unformatted text preview: ardless of the reason for it, can energize or strengthen whatever an individual's dominant action tendency happens to be at the time. Thus, if a person is provoked or otherwise instigated to aggress at the time increased arousal occurs, heightened aggression can result (e.g., Geen & O'Neal, 1969). Second, if a person who is aroused misattributes his or her arousal to a provocation by someone else, the propensity to behave aggressively in response to that annoyance is increased (e.g., Zillmann, 1971, 1982). Thus, people tend to react more violently to provocations immediately after watching exciting movies than they do at other times. This kind of effect is usually short-lived, perhaps lasting only minutes. Such arousal-transfer effects can occur with any kind of exciting activity, not just exciting movies, TV shows, music videos, or video games. For this reason, the arousal properties of violent media have not drawn as much attention as their other consequences. Nonetheless, it bears noting Media Violence 45 that frequent episodes in which exposure to violent media is followed by frustrating or provoking events could well lead to an increase in the viewers’ aggressive social encounters, which in turn can affect their self-images and the aggressiveness of their social environment. Indeed, recent research shows that playing a violent video game for as little as 10 min increases the player’s automatic association of “self” with aggressive actions and traits (Uhlmann & Swanson, in press). In the same study, the researchers also found that past history of exposure to violent video games was positively associated with aggressive views of the self. Emotional Desensitization The term “desensitization” has been employed in so many different ways that the exact meaning of any particular usage can be quite unclear. We specifically use the label emotional desensitization to refer to a reduction in distress-related physiological reactivity to observations or thoughts of violence (Carnagey, Bushman, & Anderson, 2003). In the present context, emotional desensitization occurs when people who watch a lot of media violence no longer respond with as much unpleasant physiological arousal as they did initially. Because the unpleasant physiological arousal (or negative emotional reactions) normally associated with violence has an inhibitory influence on thinking about violence, condoning violence, or behaving violently, emotional desensitization (i.e., the diminution of the unpleasant arousal) can result in a heightened likelihood of violent thoughts and behaviors (Huesmann et al., 2003). Habituation of neurophysiological responses over time is a well-established psychological phenomenon (though some responses resist habituation); repeated presentation of the same stimulus usually results in smaller and smaller neurophysiological responses to that stimulus. Similarly, systematic desensitization procedures are highly successful in the treatment of phobias (e.g., Bandura & Adams, 1977; Wolpe, 1958, 1982) and other anxiety or fear disorders (e.g., Pantalon & Motta, 1998). For example, systematically exposing someone with a snake phobia to snakes (initially under conditions designed to minimize anxiety and later under more anxiety- Anderson, Berkowitz, Donnerstein, Huesmann, Johnson, Linz, Malamuth, & Wartella 46 producing conditions) reduces the original anxiety reactions to such an extent that the person is no longer snake phobic. One feature of modern systematic desensitization treatments is to have the phobic person observe other people (live or filmed) successfully interacting with the feared stimulus (Bandura, Grusec, & Menlove, 1967; Bandura & Menlove, 1968). Similarly, violent scenes do become less unpleasantly arousing over time (see Cline, Croft, & Courrier, 1973), and more aggressive (relative to less aggressive) college students do tend to show decreased arousal to repeated scenes of violence (Titus, 1999). Research has shown that even relatively brief exposure to media violence can reduce physiological reactions to the sight of realworld violence (Carnagey et al., 2003, Thomas, Horton, Lippincott, & Drabman, 1977) and can decrease helpful behavior toward victims of aggression (Carnagey et al., 2003; Drabman & Thomas, 1974, 1975; Thomas & Drabman, 1975). However, it still has to be established whether or not such decreased arousal in response to violent scenes stimulates violent behavior, and it is therefore uncertain how big a role emotional desensitization plays in the long-term cumulative effects of media violence on the instigation of aggression. Unfortunately, there have been few attempts to date to test this hypothesis directly. RESEARCH ON MODERATOR EFFECTS Although the psychological processes through which media violence operates are present in every child, children are not affected equally by media violence. Some studies indicate that different children are affected differently by media violence. Similarly, not all p...
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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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