Media and Its Effects on Criminal Activity

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The Psychological Effect of Popular Media on the Increase of Crime

Over time, it has been observed that people have a tendency to learn from the world around them and from the people they interact. The phenomenon of learning within a social context by observation can be termed as social learning. Most individuals tend to observe and replicate the behavior of things with which they come in frequent contact and this is more likely to occur if their feel an emotional attachment with the object they are emulate. Children copy their seniors when they feel a certain amount of respect and admiration for them, and likewise, people emulate figures in popular media because they feel a psychological connection and they elevate these figures to a status of power within their lives. When people choose, consciously or subconsciously to imitate characters that display violent or criminal tendencies, the likelihood that crime levels will increase. Hollywood and other popular movies are a likely candidate for the increase in crime. Copycat killers are common and cause untold damage in their desperate attempts to recreate the psychology of their favorite killers. Movies like Natural Born Killers and The Clockwork Orange have long been inspiring people who are naturally susceptible to social influences. What has not been considered as completely as it should have been is the effect of psychologically disturbing books. Books such as Fight Club or Choke are equally effective in the conveyance of their messages but have not been recognized for the damaging effect it could have on an individual’s psyche. Social Learning also plays a key role in the increase of criminal behavior, as it is only through observation that the media can work its way into a person’s behavioral patterns. There are many concepts regarding learning but Bandura’s theory and experiments in the effect of role models is the most pertinent in the situation. He conducted experiments on children in which they...
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