In this century, the mass media have come to rival with parents, school, and religion as the most influential institution in individual's lives. There has always been contemplation on whether media is the spark that ignites violence in individuals. Depictions of violence often glamorize vicious behavior. They offend the society and feel less able to respond to others in a sensitive, caring way. This essay will analyze the effects of violent media on the minds of individuals. While it focuses on media vastly, other contributing factors like emotional processing factors or exposure to violence might be reasons too. The Bobo doll experiment was conducted using children as samples and to see how they respond to the behavior they see (Bandura, A., Ross, D. & Ross, S.A., 1961) The subjects were 36 boys and 36 girls enrolled in the Stanford University Nursery' School, with a mean age of 52 months. Subjects were divided into eight experimental groups of six subjects each and a control group consisting of 24 subjects. The idea of this experiment is to observe the behavior of the individual after watching an adult model act aggressively towards a Bobo doll. There are different variations of the experiment. The most notable experiment measured the individual's behavior after seeing the model get rewarded, punished or experience no consequence for beating up the Bobo doll. It was seen that male subjects, for example, exhibited more physical (t = 2.07, p < .05) and verbal imitative aggression (t = 2.51, p < .05), more non-imitative aggression (t = 3.15, p < .025), and engaged in significantly more aggressive gun play (t = 2.12, p < .05) following exposure to the aggressive male model than the female subjects. According to Bandura and Ross (1961) prediction that exposure of subjects to aggressive models increases the probability of aggressive behavior is clearly confirmed as the individuals imitate the models behavior by showing physical and verbal aggression. The researcher concludes that when violent media is observed or watch children tend to act the same way. It is widely believed by many researchers that exposure to violent media causes desensitization towards violence, making violence seems alright and in turn increasing their aggression. The analysis of Carnagey, Anderson and Bushman(2007) examine, how media not only influences violence but a fresh insight towards the desensitization to real life violence. The participants were 257 college students (124 men and 133 women) who received extra course credit in exchange for their voluntary participation. All participants were tested individually and were told that the purpose of the study was to evaluate different types of media. After consent procedures were completed, 5 min baseline HR (Heart rate) and GSR (Galvanic Skin Response) measurements were taken, using finger electrodes placed on the three middle fingers of the non-dominant hand. After 5 min, the experimenter removed the electrodes. Participants played a randomly assigned violent or nonviolent video game for 20 min. Next, participants watched a 10-min videotape of real violence in four contexts: courtroom outbursts, police confrontations, shootings, and prison fights. In one scene, for example, two prisoners repeatedly stab another prisoner. HR and GSR were monitored continuously while they watched the real-life violence. The results demonstrate that playing a violent video game, even for just 20 min, can cause people to become less physiologically aroused by real violence. Participants randomly assigned to play a violent video game had relatively lower HR and GSR while watching actual footage of people being beaten, stabbed, and shot than did those randomly assigned to play a nonviolent video game. With recent developments, the process of mind mapping also known as Stroop tests( Kalnin et al, 2010) have helped identify the relationship between brain activation and history of media violence exposure in adolescents. 22 controls and 22 adolescents with a past of aggressive behavior completed an emotional Stroop task during an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging). The foremost images pointed out that controls with a past of low media violence exposure exhibited more activity in the inferior frontal gyrus and rostral anterior cingulated. On the other hand, in the individuals that had past of aggressive behavior demonstrated less activation in the right Amygdala, compared with those with low media violence exposure. It safe to assess that media violence may affect individuals in different ways depending on the presence of aggressive traits but will still affect an individual (Kalnin et al, 2010). While violence is not new to the human race, it is an increasing problem in modern society. With greater access to firearms and explosives, the scope and efficiency of violent behavior has had serious consequences. Today 99% of homes have televisions. According to Pediatrics(2001), of all animated feature films produced in the United States between 1937 and 1999, 100% portrayed violence, and the amount of violence with intent to injure has increased through the years. On average, children ages 6-11 spend 42 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 12-16 spend about 32 hours a week in front of the TV. The vast majority of this viewing (97%) is of live TV ( Med, n.d). Televised violence and the presence of television in American households have increased steadily over the years, resulting in violent behavior. Like there are two sides to a coin there are also other factors that induce violence, according to Ferguson, Miguel & Hartled (2009) who claim that while others claim a positive relationship between both violence and the media, they believe so otherwise. Violence has become a serious public health problem with children and adolescents suffering greater victimization than any other age group (Finkelhor & DziubaLeatherman, 1994). Media to a certain degree is a causation factor of violence, but there are other factors as well. One such factor discussed in the journal is “emotional susceptibility”. It is defined as the tendency to "experience feelings of discomfort, helplessness, inadequacy and vulnerability" according to Caprara (1985, cited in Bushman, B.J, & Green, G.R). Studies have agreed- and disagreed – the verdicts of whether or not exposure to violent media indeed induces violence. All these findings are done in order to arrive at a simple conclusion while taking account the exposure, the length of exposure and other factors surrounding the individual. These studies have their banes and their boons, and when looked at all together one’s advantage covers up another’s disadvantage like in all situations. In conclusion, it can be ascertained that if violent media is not the main factor, it is still an important constituent in deciding violence.
Bandura, A., Ross, D. & Ross, S.A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-82. Retrieved from http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Bandura/bobo.htm
Bushman, B.J, & Green, G.R (1990). Role of Cognitive-Emotional Mediators and Individual Differences in the Effects of Media Violence on Aggression, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 156-163, retrieved from http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bbushman/bg90.pdf
Finklehor, D., Leatherman, J.D (1994, Feb 18), Children as Victims of Violence, Pediatrics. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/94/4/413.abstract Ferguson, S. J., Miguel, C. S., & Hartley, R. D. (2009). A multivariate analysis of youth violence and aggression: the influence of family, peers, depression, and media violence. The Journal of Pediatrics, 155(6), 904-908. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0022347609005769# Kalnin, A. J., Chad R. E., Wang, Y., Kronenberger, W. G., Hummer, T. A., Mosier, K. M., Dunn, D. W., Matthews, V. P. (2010). The interacting role of media violence exposure and aggressive–disruptive behavior in adolescent brain activation during an emotional Stroop task. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 192, 12-19. Retrieved from http://ac.els-cdn.com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/S09254927103914/1-s2.0-S09252710003914-main.pdf?_tid=06cf7b5e-9923-11e2-8a1c-000aab0f6c&acdnat=1364638829_6ee122be8f9a6b3d8a82e30769e33b Med (n.d), Television and children, U.M Pediatrics. Retrieved from http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm Nicholas L. Carnagey, Craig A. Anderson, Brad J. Bushman (2007). The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(3), 489-496. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0022103106000825 Pediatrics (2001,Nov), Media violence (American Academy Of Pediatrics: Committee on Public Education). Pediatrics, 108.5, 1222. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=DA-SORT&inPS=true&prodId=AONE&userGroupName=monash&tabID=T002&searchId=R1&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=AdvancedSearchForm¤tPosition=1&contentSet=GALE|A80221954&&docId=GALE|A80221954&docType=GALE&role=&docLevel=FULLTEXT