The Impact of Violence in the Media on Human Behavior – Literature review Example

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The paper “The Impact of Violence in the Media on Human Behavior" is a meaty version of a literature review on psychology. Scholars and parents are concerned about the harmful impacts of media violence on viewers, especially on children and adolescents. Current advances in technology and entertainment have resulted in even more concerns expressed about the damaging impacts of media violence. Furthermore, the invention and increasing accessibility of cable TV, computers, and videocassette recorders (VCR) have enhanced the availability of violent media content (Sparks, 2012). As a result, most early studies on the impacts of exposure to violent media content placed emphasis on the impacts on human behavior, mainly aggression, of exposure to medial violence. The findings of the majority of these studies showed that exposure to aggressive behavior on the media boosts the likelihood of aggression among children and adolescents. 

The study of Levermore and Salisbury (2009) entitled The Relationship between Virtual& Actual Aggression: Youth Exposure to Violent Media demonstrates that the correlation between exposure to violent media content and aggressive behavior most likely involves cognitive factors. Aggressive acts on the media may alter teenagers’ perception of violence and may alter their psychological reaction to violence. The study finds out that aggression itself could encourage exposure to violent media content through its impact on the cognitive processes and social context/environment of the adolescent. More aggressive teenagers, ignored and excluded by others, may be encouraged by violent media content to continue their aggressive behavior. Hence, the vulnerable adolescent may become entangled in a vicious cycle of aggressive behavior and exposure to media violence—a pattern which results in the eventual emergence of consistent aggression.

One of the main objectives of the study of Levermore and Salisbury (2009) is to determine ‘actual’ aggression among adolescents who are exposed to media violence. Unruliness, short attention span, and offensiveness may be associated with exposure to media violence, but these are not equivalent to the disruptive aggressive behavior of adolescents that alarms the public. The findings of the study indicate that parents and the public should be very much apprehensive about any medium that encourages the development of habitual aggression in adolescents because these tendencies may continue into adulthood.

The study of Levermore and Salisbury (2009) is related to the theory of priming. Priming is the mechanism by which the brain is activated and stimulated and, consequently, influences behavior and cognition (Freedman, 2002). The external stimulus may be naturally connected to perception, such as the image of a weapon is naturally connected to the perception of aggression. When violent media content primes perception of aggressive behavior, violent behavior is more likely.

On the other, the study of Ward (2011) entitled Video Games and Crimes focuses on the impacts of exposure to violent video games on human behavior. Ward (2011) conducted a correlational analysis of the connection between habitual video game playing and indicators of aggression. He found out that there is a positive correlation. It is vital to consider the possibility that aggressive teenagers may look for violent video games. He concluded that playing these violent video games brings about aggressive behavior. Ward (2011) claims that extreme exposure to violent video games can boost aggressive behavior. The studies he reviewed demonstrated that exposure to violent video games is likely to boost aggressive behavior in adolescents. As shown in the study, a number of experimental studies have employed a methodology where adolescents play either a violent or a non-violent video game and were afterward evaluated on aggression. Most of these studies found out that aggression levels are considerably greater after exposure to violent video games. Ward (2011) concluded that violent video games have a tendency to be more stimulating and thrilling than non-violent ones, thus the outcomes may have been the effect of greater levels of stimulation provoked by violent video games.

The study of Ward (2011) is associated with the theory of arousal. This theory states that in so far as media images stimulate the viewer, aggression may also become more probable (Sparks, 2012). Viewed violence in video games usually comprises aggressive movements that are highly exciting for adolescent. As a result, the teenager who is predisposed to aggression acts even more violently. Basically, excitement plays a major role in determining the possible development of aggressive behavior after exposure to violent video games.

Media violence results in aggressive behavior in the real world. This fact has been proven by numerous studies. These studies reliably demonstrate that violent media content increases the likelihood of aggression. The sheer magnitude of the impact of violent media content on human behavior is sufficient to classify this issue as a public threat.

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