Media and Violence 4/20
Media and Violence 4/20 CDAE 127
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Date Created: 04/20/16
iClicker Question Which of the following effects tends to the strongest, statistically speaking? a. The effect of condom use on decreased HIV risk b. The effect of exposure to passive smoke at work on lung cancer c. The effect of exposure to violent video games on aggressive behavior d. The effect of calcium intake on bone mass 14-1 iClicker Exercise The aim of today’s reading was a. to investigate the long-term relations between viewing media violence in childhood and young- adult aggressive behavior. b. to examine the short-term relationship between exposure to media violence and subsequent aggressive behavior. Predisposing and Precipitating Factors Most researchers of aggression agree that severe aggressive and violent behavior seldom occurs unless there is a convergence of multiple predisposing and precipitating factors such as neurophysiological abnormalities, poor child rearing, socioeconomic deprivation, poor peer relations, attitudes and beliefs supporting aggression, drug and alcohol abuse, frustration and provocation, and other factors. Media exposure serves long term and short term factors Predisposing and Precipitating Factor The evidence is already substantial that exposure to media violence is one such long-term predisposing and short-term precipitating factor. Media Violence and Violent Behavior •Numerous experimental studies, many static observational studies, and a few longitudinal studies all indicate that exposure to dramatic violence on TV and in the movies is related to violent behavior. •Freedom of speech is why 14-6 Long-Term and Short-Term Effects Long-term effects with children are now generally believed to be primarily due to long-term observational learning of cognitions (schemas, beliefs, and biases) supporting aggression (Berkowitz, 1993; Huesmann, 1988, 1998), whereas short-term effects with adults and children are recognized as also due to priming (Huesmann, 1998), excitation transfer (Zillmann, 1983), or imitation of specific behaviors. TEST Q: what theorys try to explain the long term effects of this ? Social-Cognitive Structure In recent theorizing, long-term relations have been ascribed mainly to acquisition through observational learning of three social-cognitive structures: (1)schemas about a hostile world, (2)scripts for social problem solving that focus on aggression, and (3) normative beliefs that aggression is acceptable (Bushman & Huesmann, 2001; Huesmann, 1988, 1998). Long term exposure would provide you with theses structures and schemas about a hostile world, provide you with a violent script and develop a norm about it- -desensitize Social-Cognitive Structure -- Scripts •The observation of specific aggressive behaviors at that age leads to the acquisition of more coordinated aggressive scripts for social problem solving and counteracts environmental forces aimed at conditioning the child out of aggression. •As the child grows older, the social scripts acquired through observation of family, peers, community, and the mass media become more complex, abstracted, and automatic in their invocation (Huesmann, 1988). •What you see around you is what shapes you and how you see your world 14-9 Social-Cognitive Structure -- Schemas Extensive observation of violence around them biases children’s world schemas toward attributing hostility to others’actions (Comstock & Paik, 1991; Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, & Signorielli, 1994). Such attributions in turn increase children’s likelihood of behaving aggressively (Dodge, 1980; Dodge, Pettit, Bates, & Valente, 1995). Attribution Theory -- Weiner Attributions are classified along three causal dimensions: 1. Locus of control (internal vs. external) 2. Stability (do causes change over time or not?) 3. Controllability (causes one can control such as skills vs. causes one cannot control such as luck, others’ actions, etc.) Social-Cognitive Structure -- Beliefs As children mature further, normative beliefs about what social behaviors are appropriate become crystallized and begin to act as filters to limit inappropriate social behaviors (Huesmann & Guerra, 1997). Children’s own behaviors influence the normative beliefs that develop, but so do the children’s observations of the behaviors of those around them, including those observed in the mass media (Guerra, Huesmann, Tolan, VanAcker, & Eron, 1995; Huesmann, 1999; Huesmann, Guerra, Zelli, & Miller, 1992). 14-12 Social-Cognitive Structure In summary, social-cognitive observational learning theory postulates long-term effects of exposure to violence through the influence of exposure on the development of aggressive problem-solving scripts, hostile attributional biases, and normative beliefs approving of aggression. Desensitization Theory This theory is based on the empirical fact that most humans seem to have an innate negative emotional response to observing blood, gore, and violence. Increased heart rates, perspiration, and self-reports of discomfort often accompany such exposure (Cline, Croft, & Courier, 1973; Moise-Titus, 1999). However, with repeated exposure to violence, this negative emotional response habituates, and the observer becomes desensitized. The presumption is that lack of a negative emotional response to observing violence also indicates a flat response to planning violence or thinking about violence. Thus, proactive-instrumental aggressive acts become easier to commit. 14-14 Social Comparison Theory Drawing on social comparison theory, Huesmann (1988, 1995, 1998) elaborated on this theme by suggesting that aggressive children feel happier and more justified if they believe they are not alone in their aggression, and viewing media violence makes them feel happier because it convinces them that they are not alone. Priming • Exposure to mediated communication activates related (or semantically similar) thoughts that have been stored in one’s mind . 16 Storage Bin Model 17 Storage Bin Model Recently primed concepts are strongest. 18 Priming •The observation of stimuli that have been paired in the past with observed violence or that inherently suggest violence (e.g., weapons) activates memory traces for aggressive scripts, schemas, and beliefs sufficiently to make their utilization more probable (Berkowitz, 1993; Josephson, 1987). •Aprovocation that follows a priming stimulus is more likely to stimulate aggression as a result of the priming. 14-19 Excitation Transfer Theory A subsequent provocation may be perceived as more severe than it is because the emotional response stimulated by the observed violence is misattributed as being due to the provocation (Zillmann, 1979, 1983). Such excitation transfer could account for a more intense aggressive response in the short run. Recency Effect-what is “fresh” in your mind is what you attribute to the behavior. Example- red sox win and college kids in boston go crazy, why? THEY WON! Because this theory explains it. They were exposed to this behavior and the cops/police acted as a subsequent provocation Summary of Theoretical Perspectives It is perfectly possible both that observational learning, desensitization, priming, and excitation transfer all contribute to the stimulation of aggression by the observation of violence and that more aggressive children do like to watch more violence. Catharsis Theory Catharsis theory (Feshbach & Singer, 1971; Fowles, 1999) would predict that violence viewing should be followed by reductions in aggression. Because the empirical evidence for any such negative relation is almost nonexistent (see Huesmann, Eron, Berkowitz, & Chaffee, 1991; Paik & Comstock, 1994), catharsis theory seems untenable at this time. No proof in research. It’s the idea that if you let kids let their anger out then they will be less aggressive—not the case Experimental Studies In contrived experimental studies, children (both boys and girls) exposed to violent behavior on film or TV behave more aggressively immediately afterward. Correlation between Media Violence and Aggression Although the correlations are modest by the standards used in the measurement of intellectual abilities (average .41 for experiments and .19 for field studies [Paik & Comstock, 1994]), they are highly replicable and are substantial by public health standards (see Rosenthal, 1986). For example, as a comparison, the correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer was .34 in Wynder and Graham’s (1950) classic study. Longitudinal Studies Although these one-shot field studies showing a correlation between media-violence viewing and aggression suggest that the causal conclusions of the experimental studies may well generalize to the real world, longitudinal studies with children can test the plausibility of long-term predisposing effects more directly. 14-25 Purpose of the Study Our aim was to investigate the long-term relations between viewing media violence in childhood and young-adult aggressive behavior. Child Measures (1970s) •Childhood TV-violence viewing. •Childhood identification with aggressive TV characters. •Childhood judgments of realism of TV violence. •Childhood aggressive behavior. •Childhood intellectual ability. Parent Measures (1970s) •Educational levels •Aggressive personality •Severe physical aggression •Fantasizing about aggression •Parents’TV-viewing frequency •TV-violence viewing Adult Measures (1990s) •TV-violence viewing •Multiple measures of aggressive and antisocial behavior assessed from different sources. Measured traffic violation records and criminal records from them and their spouses Findings •For male and female participants, childhood TV-violence viewing correlates significantly with the composite measure of adult aggression 15 years later; •Childhood perceptions that TV violence reflects real life and childhood identification with same sex aggressive TV characters significantly correlate with adult aggression 15 years later. Control for Childhood Aggression For both male and female participants, more childhood exposure to TV violence, greater childhood identification with same-sex aggressive TV characters, and a stronger childhood belief that violent shows tell about life “just like it is” predicted more adult aggression regardless of how aggressive participants were as children. Findings Habitual early exposure to TV violence is predictive of more aggression by them later in life independent of their own (control for:) initial childhood aggression, their own intellectual capabilities, their social status as measured by their parents’education or their fathers’occupations, their parents’ aggressiveness, their parents’mobility orientation (willingness to sacrifice to get ahead) , their parents’TV viewing habits (including violence viewing), and their parents’rejection, nurturance, and punishment of them in childhood. 14-32 Chicken and Egg Question A longitudinal structural modeling analysis of the directionality of the effects suggested that it is more plausible that exposure to TV violence increases aggression than that aggression increases TV-violence viewing. What is the direction then? Findings •The violent films and TV programs that probably have the most deleterious effects on children are not always the ones that adults and critics believe are the most violent. •What type of violent scene is the child most likely to use as a model for violent behavior? Findings It is one in which the child identifies with the perpetrator of the violence, the child perceives the scene as telling about life like it is, and the perpetrator is rewarded for the violence. Under what conditions is it more likely? ^ Effects of Violent Video Games There are a number of negative behavioral, cognitive, and affective consequences of exposure to violent entertainment media, in both the immediate context as well as developmentally across time Effect Size •The best estimate of the effect size of exposure to violent video games on aggressive behavior is about 0.26. •This is larger than the effect of condom use on decreased HIV risk, the effect of exposure to passive smoke at work and lung cancer, and the effect of calcium intake on bone mass (Bushman & Huesmann, 2001). 14-37 Effect Size As a society, we have taken massive and expensive steps to educate the public about these smaller medical effects, but almost none to deal with the larger violent video game effects. 14-38 Effects of Violent Video Games In other words, if youths spent only a little time playing violent video games (e.g. less than 30 min per week), or if only a few youths spent a lot of time playing such games (e.g. 1 in 10,000), then the overall cost to society would likely be fairly small. Effects of Violent Video Games When large numbers of youths (including young adults) are exposed to many hours of media violence (including violent video games), even a small effect can have extremely large societal consequences (see Abelson, 1985; Rosenthal, 1986, 1990).
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