Effects of Media Violence Wong Renhao Graham Choo Heng Hailee Kenny Yeo Roshni Rawla Hans Yamin
It seems to be an inevitable human reaction to search for a cause for everything, to find something responsible (be it to be blamed on or to be used as an excuse) for any happenings.Throughout the entire history of humanity, for as long as humans have roamed this earth, violence has been a part of our daily activities. It has been prevalent since the days media had not even existed, and yet today the mass media is being blamed for promoting violence. As we walk into an era where humans have become (and are still becoming) more and more dependent on the mass media, it seems to have become a consensus among people that the mass media indeed carries an inalienable impact on violence in our society today. In this paper, we would uncover more about the relationship between media and violence, and discover the real truth behind it.
The Copycat Phenomenon • Imitation of exact behaviors depicted in the media • The Doomsday Flight (1966) • Altitude bomb (5000 feet above sea level) • The Burning Bed (1984) • An estranged housewife murdering her husband while he slept
The Copycat Phenomenon • MTV’s Jackass • The fire stunt • The World Wrestling Federation • Children have died, imitating wrestling moves on each other • As many as 1/3 of convicted male felonies admit to copycatting crimes (Centerwall, 1992) Lionel Tate
The Copycat Phenomenon • Are the murder and mayhem on television really to blame for the increased violence in society?
Statistics • The presence of violent content on television • ↑ in ownership of television sets from 1/10 homes having 1 (1950) to 1/10 homes NOT having 1 (1960) • The average child spends >3 hrs each day in front of the tube (Minow, 1996) • According to the APA, the typical child will view >8,000 murders and over 100,000 acts of TV violence in the course of a lifetime
Statistics • BUT these studies have nothing to say about how the violence may be affecting people • Content ≠ effect • Humans react differently to media messages
Research Studies • The causal link between viewing violence and behaving aggressively
Research Studies • Albert Bandura’s social learning theory • Emphasized the importance of rewards and punishments • 2 groups of children watched 2 different videos • Video 1: The leading characters acted aggressively and received rewards for his actions • Video 2: The leading characters acted aggressively and received punishment for his actions • The children played in the room and their actions were monitored • 2 findings: • Children who saw aggressive behavior rewarded were more likely to imitate the aggression • The effects emerged most strongly for boys (predisposition to behave more aggressively)
Research Studies • BUT not every child who saw the aggression being rewarded behaved aggressively after the video
Research Studies • Leonard Eron and Rowell Huesmann’s long term studies • Studied over 800 children under the age of 10, during the 1960s • Tendency for children who watched higher levels of TV violence to have higher scores on the ratings of aggressive behavior
Research Studies • BUT there is no way to tell which came first – the TV viewing or the aggressive behavior?
Research Studies • Leonard Eron and Rowell Huesmann’s long term studies • Longitudinal investigation (2003) that followed children into adulthood • Boys and girls in the upper 20% on TV viewing were significantly higher on the measures of adult aggression
Research Studies • BUT not every child who watched large amounts of TV violence ended up getting involved in crimes • Was childhood viewing a causal factor in the later commission of crimes? • Research potentially links media violence with real-life violence
Research Studies • Brandon Centerwall’s research • ↑ in U.S. crime statistics from 3 homicides per 100,000 people (1945 – Just before TV emerged) to 6 (1974) • Claimed that TV was the major culprit in the rise of homicides
Research Studies • Brandon Centerwall’s research • But the homicide rate in South Africa dropped by 7% from 1945 – 1974 • As a result of a ban on TV • When the ban was lifted in 1974, the murder rate i ↑ by 56% by 1983 • If we adopt a conservative estimate, the numbers still have to be taken seriously
Research Studies • Seymour Feshbach’s Catharsis Hypothesis • Viewing TV violence could be therapeutic for a person filled with anger • Catharsis – To cleanse or purge; to get rid of • Media violence was actually a +ve thing
Research Studies • Seymour Feshbach’s Catharsis Hypothesis • The detention facility for boys experiment • Nonviolent TV diet vs. violent TV diet for several weeks • The boys who had watched TV violence behaved less aggressively • BUT we should be slow to arrive at definitive conclusions from any single study • Only demonstrated that people will act more violently if they can’t watch their favorite TV programs than if they can watch them
Research Studies • Leonard Berkowitz and associates’ priming analysis • Angry people and media violence make for volatile mix • Offered the explanation of the facilitating / priming effect of media violence • Understood in terms of association • Process whereby one thing you think about reminds you of other thins in your mind that you associate with the first thing
Research Studies • Leonard Berkowitz and associates’ priming analysis • 3 findings: • Violence can prime thoughts that are related to hostility • Media violence might prime thoughts that lead one to believe that aggressive behavior might be warranted in certain situations and might bring about certain benefits • Media violence might prime action tendencies that cause people to be more inclined to act violently
Desensitization • making us numb to violence in real life so that we don’t react to it as we should if we had never seen it on the screen
Evidence • Anecdotal • Research
Anecdotal Evidence • sequels have more violence than previous movie • Increased violence to give viewers who have seen the previous movie heightened emotional charge • There is no easy way to go backwards • Ever-increasing level of violence
Evidence from Research • Ronald Drabman and Margaret Thomas • Children watch violent/non-violent film • Asked children to watch TV monitor to observe children interacting in another room while researcher went to adjacent room, to report if there was any trouble • Monitor was actually playing video of children fighting • Children who watched violent video were far less likely than other children to actually make an attempt to notify the experimenter about the fight that they observed on the monitor
Funny Violence • From the concept of desensitization • Viewers experience desensitization particularly when the violence is in a comical context • Effects of funny violence > Effects of regular violence?
Funny Violence Family Guy: A Case Study
Family Guy • 9 clips from ‘Best of…’ compilation videos, 1 standalone clip • Played in ascending order of level of (funny) violence
Trend of Increasing Violence • Best of Stewie • 4 violent clips • Average Level of Violence: 3 • Best of Stewie #2 • 8 violent clips • Average Level of Violence: 3 • Best of Stewie #3 • 9 violent clips • Average Level of Violence: 3.78
Living with violent games… • Plenty of violent games in the market • Guns, machine guns, bombs and all sorts of weapons • Realistic • Technology improves, game graphics improves as well • Close to life-like.
Violence… • Grand Theft Auto • Counter-Strike • Evil Dead *all are rated Mature(M) – blood and gore
Banned… • Because they are too violent • In 2000, Singapore banned a PC game, Half-Life • Parents supported the act because they see these sort of game as a bad influence. (Marcus Yam, 2000)
Columbine Massacre • Littleton, Colorado, 1999 • Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold • Fans of Doom • Playing violent games = Aggressive behavior?
Professional Opinions… • Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, 2000s • Author of a book about killing • The urge to kill is unnatural • Convinced that violent gaming is the cause • AVIDS (“acquired violence immune deficiency syndrome”)
Coincidently… • 50 years ago, Dr. Frederic Wertham, a psychiatrist wrote a book on harmful effects of comics • Very much like Grossman • Perhaps in the 1950s, comics were the most popular entertainment • Thus the only “bad influence”.
Researchers: Nicola Schutte and colleagues (1988) • Targets: Children 5-7 years old • Karateka (violent) vs. Jungle Hunt (non-violent) • Result: Kids who played Karateka showed aggressive behavior towards other kids. Jungle Hunt kids were more gentle at play.
Researchers: Craig Anderson and Catherine Ford • Targets: College students • Zaxxon (high-aggression) vs. Centipede (mild-aggression). • Result: Students were asked to check off words that describe their feelings. Zaxxon players felt hostile, Centipede players were less hostile. Control group least hostile.
Researchers: Karen Dill and Craig Anderson • Targets: College students • 1st study – Students’ habits of playing video games vs. aggressive delinquent. Measurement of trait of aggression. 2nd study – Wolfenstein 3D (violent game) vs. Myst (non-violent game) Both games generate the same amount of physiological arousal. After that, all students play a reaction game which they did not know it is part of the study. Winners get to blast the losers. • Result: 1st study – Violent games players have been involved in more aggressive delinquents and those who played are more aggressive according to the trait of aggressive. 2nd study – Students who played the Wolf 3D tend to blast their opponents louder and louder.
Researcher: Ron Tamborini • Some guys played violent games, observers were placed beside them. • Result: Players were more hostile after the game, compared to the observers.
Researcher: John Sherry • Meta-analysis • Result: Significant effect of video game play on aggression, however, the effect found was smaller than violent TV on aggression. • Meta-analysis is the combination of the results of several studies that address a set of related research hypotheses. In short, meta-analysis is the studies with small sample sizes; analyzing the results from a group of studies can allow more accurate data analysis.
2005’s Top 10 Most Violent Games • Resident Evil 4 • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas • God of War • NARC • Killer 7 • The Warriors • 50 Cent: Bulletproof • Crime Life: Gang Wars • Condemned: Criminal Origins • True Crime: New York City (Family Media Guide, 2005)
Grand Theft Auto • Game-play revolves around gang warfare • Heavily influenced by gangster films (Scarface, Miami Vice, Boyz N the Hood) • Free-form ‘sandbox’ play • Steal • Rob • Kill • Mass destruction
Case 1 • Shylo Kujawski caught stealing a car • History of convictions • Hardcore GTA fan (tattoo on the back) • Is he really influenced by the game? • Recidivism – mental or crime issue? (Gamespot, 2006)
Case 2 • William and Joshua Buckner • Shot at cars with .22 caliber rifle • “They told the police who arrested them that they were bored, and decided to mimic their favorite videogame, Grand Theft Auto” • Blame Game (Other issues to consider) • Access to firearms • Massive sales around the world • “Or perhaps the answer to the perennial problem of delinquent teenagers dropping bricks from motorway and railway bridges is to sue the creators of Tetris.” (The Register, 2003)
Case 3 • Devin Moore, 18 • Killed 2 police-men and 1 dispatcher • Sentenced to death by lethal injection in 2005 • “Life is a videogame. Everybody’s got to die sometime.” • Again, an isolated case in the US • In the 50s, comic books were blamed for juvenile delinquency (‘scapegoatism’) • Retailers selling games to minors. • David Walsh, child psychologist, believes that teenage brains are wired differently. (Fox News, 2005)
Media Violence- MOVIES ‘In a crowded marketplace, where everyone is trying to be heard and where there's an amazing number of choices, the loudest, coarsest, most shocking voice does tend to be the one that at least grabs your attention for a moment.’(Seabrook, J.,2001)
Top 10 Most Violent Movies 1) Taxi Driver 2) Blood Simple 3) Natural Born Killers 4) A Clockwork Orange 5) Blood In Blood Out 6) True Romance 7) Fight Club 8) Gang Related 9) The Shield 10) Hannibal