Participants in lab-based research have been asked to provide conclusions to vignettes that describe interpersonal conflict; those exposed to media violence are more likely to provide aggressive finales (e.g., Bushman & Anderson, 2002). Exposure has also been shown to lead to an increased willingness to deliver extremely loud noise blasts in a ‘punishment’ regime that participants believe may cause hearing damage (Konijn, Bijvank, & Bushman, 2007). Moreover, experimental findings are not limited to the laboratory. For instance, juvenile offenders exposed to violent films engaged in more subsequent physical assaults than those who viewed nonviolent films (Leyens et al., 1975). After watching a violent movie, adult moviegoers were slower to help an injured stranger who dropped her crutches, whereas those who watched a nonviolent film were equally helpful before and after the movie (Bushman & Anderson, 2009).
Experimental. Experimental studies have shown that even brief exposure to media violence can teach the observer how to behave aggressively, and can cause increases in aggressive thinking (e.g., aggressive attitudes, expectations, beliefs), emotions (e.g., anger), and behavior (e.g., attempts to hurt others) (see references in bold for major reviews). Experimental studies have also causally linked media violence exposure to desensitization, defined as a decrease in empathy, prosocial behavior, and physiological reactivity to violence in the real world (e.g., Bushman & Anderson, 2009; Carnagey, Anderson, & Bushman, 2007).
Cross-sectional. Although it is more difficult (and riskier) to draw causal conclusions based on cross-sectional/correlation studies (typically, surveys in which all variables are measured at one point in time), this methodology can be utilized to test concepts which are difficult or impossible to examine experimentally. For example, cross-sectional studies have been used to (a) test hypotheses derived from causal models; (b) test alternative explanations for the association between media violence and aggressive and violent behavior; (c) examine media violence effects while accounting for the impact of a range of other relevant factors such as family background; and (d) examine the link between media violence and real world aggression and violence (Prot & Anderson, 2013). Such studies yield clear results that are consistent with the experimental data: Media violence exposure is associated with higher levels of aggressive and violent behavior, even after statistically controlling for possible confounding variables such as participant sex, total media exposure, age, family background, and a host of other individual differences (e.g., DeLisi, Vaughn, Gentile, Anderson, & Shook, 2013).
In the wake of the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting in which 20 young children and six school staff were gunned down, the American public and policymakers have expressed renewed concerns about the role of violent media consumption on aggressive and violent behavior. According to a recent 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll, 84% of Americans believe that depictions of violence in popular culture - through "movies and video games" -–contribute either “some” or “a lot” to violence in society. Major newspapers and TV networks, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, and NPR, have run stories or segments on violence in the media. President Obama has called for more research on media violence, and the Violent Content Research Act (S. 134, 113th Cong.) urges the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact of violent television and video games on children.
Effects of Television Violence on Children and Teenagers
This report focuses primarily on the potential effects of violent screen media (as opposed to other forms of media) for three reasons. First, there exists a huge research literature on the effects of television, movie, and video game violence. Second, screen media usage accounts for the largest portion of leisure time in the lives of most youth in modern industrialized societies, in many cases more than the amount of time spent in school. Third, there are good theoretical reasons to expect that screen media have a greater impact on social (and antisocial) behavior than non-screen media.
Media does contribute to violence in our society
Media violence has long been a controversial topic, especially since the widespread adoption of television in the 1950s. This statement was inspired by several factors: (1) a recognition that electronic media use now dominates the waking hours of many young people; (2) a growing knowledge base demonstrating that violent media can have multiple harmful effects on children, adolescents, and young adults; (3) more detailed and accurate theoretical models that explain these effects; and (4) a belief that public policies can be important for addressing this social issue.
There have been many previous scientific statements on media violence including by the U.S. Surgeon General (1972), representatives of six major professional health societies such the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association (2000), a panel of media violence experts originally convened by the National Institute of Mental Health (2003), the American Academy of Pediatrics (2009), and the International Society for Research on Aggression (2012). All of these statements conclude that exposure to media violence is a risk factor for aggression and violence.
Media Violence and Children Essay - 1508 Words
This SPSSI report builds on these earlier statements, reflecting the unique interests and expertise of a large group of psychological scholars dedicated to the study of societal issues from a scientific psychological perspective. It jointly emphasizes understanding underlying psychological processes and broader societal impact, and therefore brings the best psychological science to bear on a practical societal problem. This report also benefits from several high quality studies on media violence effects published since the last major report.