Does Media Violence Cause Aggression?
Elizabeth G. Kinser
Motlow State Community College
Does Media Violence Cause Aggression?
Numerous studies and experiments have been conducted to test whether or not media violence can cause aggression. The experiments were set up and conducted with a variety of ages and number of people, starting from the younger generation through the older generation. The experiments and studies also varied in the steps and information. We will be looking at several different examples by looking at various studies that I have found looking at peer reviewed articles. We will be using experiments and studies from Ronald S. Drabman and Margaret Thomas (1973) and Douglas A. Gentile and Brad J. Bushman (2012) that will show us examples that support the argument saying that media violence does in fact cause aggression. On the flipside, we will also be discussing experiments and studies that show us that media violence does not necessarily cause aggression, but is just one of the many factors involved. We will look at this by examining studies and experiments performed by Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman (2002) as well as Douglas A. Gentile and Brad J. Bushman (2012). As you can see, we will be using Douglas A. Gentile and Brad J. Bushman (2012) in both arguments as they provided evidence for both arguments. Yes, Media Violence Does Cause Aggression
First, we will look at the experiments that seem to prove that that media violence does cause, or at least contributes to, aggression in the behavior of people.
In studies done by Douglas A. Gentile and Brad J. Bushman (2012) we will look at two separate results to the same experiment, the only change being the variables. Before Bushman and Gentile (2012) could begin their experiment, they had to take into account six risk factors for aggression, each of which was selected based on previous research done to suggest that the six factors increase a risk of aggression. These six factors are as follows: media violence exposure (TV, movies, video games), physical victimization, participant sex, hostile attribution bias, parental monitoring, and prior aggression. They began by selecting 430 child participants (51% male; Mage = 9.7 years, SD = 1.03, range = 7 to 11; 86% Caucasian, which is representative of the region). The children were selected from five schools in Minnesota, including one suburban private school, three suburban public schools, and one rural public school. The first step was to survey the participants, classmates, and teachers to have data to compare to once the experiment was complete. Once the data had been collected, observed, and noted, the experiment could begin. It all began by providing the participant's with a set amount of time to be spent watching TV and playing video games. The goal of this research was not to test that media violence alone causes aggression, but rather to test whether or not factors like media violence exposure, among others, are associated with aggression. The ultimate find was that yes, media violence does contribute to cause aggression. However, we will see in the next section that the word contribute is an important word here as their studies seemed to show signs both supporting and going against the argument of media violence causing aggression.
In a different experiment performed by Ronald S. Drabman and Margaret Hanratty Thomas (1974), twenty-two boys and twenty-two girls from the fourth grades were selected to be the participants. The procedure went as follows: The experimenter met each subject individually at the classroom and stated that he wanted the subject to "play some games." The experimenter and the subject would then proceed to a "new trailer" to begin playing. The larger trailer was filled with many toys suitable for children to play with. The experimenter had to tell the subject about the TV camera positioned at one end of the room and...
References: Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2002b). Human aggression. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 27 - 51.
Bushman, B. J., & Anderson, C. A. (20012, January 23). Retrieved October 23, 2013 from PsycARTICLES: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=3&sid=4117ae96-16fd- 418d-8d3f- 8cbeb2a4f6fc%40sessionmgr12&hid=22&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d #db=pdh&AN=2002-13736-010
Bushman, B. J., & Huesmann, L. R. (2001) Effects of televised violence on aggression. In D. G. Singer and J. L. SInger ( Eds. ) , Handbook of children and the media (pp. 223 - 254). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Drabman, R. S., & Thomas, M. H. (1974, July 12). Retrieved October 23, 2013 from PsycARTICLES: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=9&sid=e515b5a9-0b00- 4e6b-9f02- dbeba00927ae%40sessionmgr14&hid=22&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3 d#db=pdh&AN=1974-29879-001
Gentile, D. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2012, August 6). Retrieved October 23, 2013, from PsycARTICLES: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=11&sid=e515b5a9-0b00- 4e6b-9f02- dbeba00927ae%40sessionmgr14&hid=22&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3 d#db=pdh&AN=2012-20480-002
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001). Youth violence: A report of the surgeon general. Rockville, MD: Author.
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