Research on the Effects of Media Violence

7 Mar

effects_media_violence.cfm

Research strand: Children who consume high levels of media violence are more likely to be aggressive in the real world

Whether or not exposure to media violence causes increased levels of aggression and violence in young people is the perennial question of media effects research. Some experts, like University of Michigan professor L. Rowell Huesmann, argue that fifty years of evidence show “that exposure to media violence causes children to behave more aggressively and affects them as adults years later.” Others, like Jonathan Freedman of the University of Toronto, maintain that “the scientific evidence simply does not show that watching violence either produces violence in people, or desensitizes them to it.”

media violence is notoriously hard to define and measure. Some experts who track violence in television programming, such as George Gerbner of Temple University, define violence as the act (or threat) of injuring or killing someone, independent of the method used or the surrounding context. Accordingly, Gerber includes cartoon violence in his data-set. But others, such as University of Laval professors Guy Paquette and Jacques de Guise, specifically exclude cartoon violence from their research because of its comical and unrealistic presentation.

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