Does violence on television translate into violence on the street and in the home?

Essay by wisermanUniversity, Bachelor's May 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 116 times

Many movies, as well as fiction and nonfiction television programs, are saturated with violence. According to psychodynamics theory, movie and television violence should be a cathartic pot of gold. But social learning theorists argue that by providing numerous aggressive models - including many who are reinforced - television violence is more likely to increase viewers' aggressive behavior than to reduce it.

Headline-making "copycat" acts of violence clearly illustrate social learning effects. Still, hundreds of millions of people are entertained by television violence. Questions about the effects of television violence have existed since the earliest days of this medium. To most experts, the verdict is clear: The evidence favors the social learning view (Johnson et al.2002). What then are the more general effects of violence of television convert into the street and in the home? This affects individuals biologically, psychologically, and environmentally.

In recent years, it has become apparent that biological and physiological factors are associated with violent behaviour.

Some of these factors may be genetically transmitted from parent to child, others may result from peri-natal events, others still may occur randomly, and some may result from illness or injury over the course of one's life. It should be noted at the outset that violence is not a biological inevitability. Rather, human aggression and its expression through violence result from the complex interaction of physiological and social influences.

P. H. Tannebaum is the leading exponent of the "arousal hypothesis," which holds that exposure to television violence increases aggression because violence increases excitation, or "arouses" viewers (Tannenbaum & Zillman, 1975)."Increased aggression follows when it is appropriate as a response, which is almost always the case in television-and-aggression experiments. The implications are threefold: (1) television violence may stimulate classes of behavior other than aggression; (2) classes of content other than violence may stimulate...