Does Fictional Violence Lead to Real Violence?

Media Violence

 

Purpose:

  • To formulate a thesis and construct a convincing argument that supports the thesis.
  • To support that thesis with convincing reasons and criteria for evaluation.
  • To provide development and support for your ideas.
  • To demonstrate your understanding of essay structure and demonstrate your understanding of how to structure an academic argument.

Background:

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In recent years, popular media seems to have become increasingly violent. This is particularly true of visuals in video games and on some Internet sites, but graphically violent images also appear regularly in films, on TV, in comic books, and even in newspapers. Some research has suggested that these violent images can have a negative effect on those who view them, particularly on adolescents and young children. In fact, some media critics believe that these violent images have helped to create an increasingly violent culture, which in turn has inspired young people to commit violent crimes. Others, however, argue that violent media images are not to blame for such events—and that, in fact, they provide a safe outlet for aggression.

 

Additional Requirements:

Make sure you include adequate support for your position with thoughtful consideration of all sides of the issue.  You are to reference at least 3 texts from the list below or from the CSUN library databases. Also, you are to refer to at least one specific visual example of violence in the media (for example: television, videos including U-Tube, movies, video games, or music videos). In referencing the visual examples make sure to include a complete analysis that will help the reader to situate and understand the reference (do not assume the reader has seen your visual example).

 

Articles on media violence:

  • “Violent Media Numbs Viewers to Pain of Others” – WMIA, pg. 165
  • “Hate Violence? Turn It Off!” – WMIA, pg. 167
  •  “Violent Media is Good for Kids” – WMIA, pg. 181
  • “Media Violence Debates” – Moodle
  •  “Whodunit—the Media?” – Moodle
  • “Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?” – Moodle
  • “Music Videos Promote Adolescent Aggression” – Moodle
  • “Does Fictional Violence Lead to Real Violence” – Moodle
  • “American Psychological Association” – Moodle
  • “When Life Imitates Video” – Moodle

 

This essay will be constructed as an academic argument and therefore should be well-rea

  1. click here for more information on this paper

soned, supported with logic based evidence from your readings, and balanced.  Preparation for this paper must include Exercise 1, Exercise 2, and Exercise 3 – proposal, as well as the 1st draft with peer review and 2nd draft.  It should be oriented toward a general, academic audience and will be evaluated according to the grading rubric for this course.

Paper Requirements:

  • 5 pages (Minimum 5 FULL pages)
  • Times Roman – 12 point font
  • Double spaced
  • One-inch margins (not 1.25, check your default margin settings)
  • MLA documentation and style
  • MLA Works Cited page

Media Violence

 

Purpose:

  • To formulate a thesis and construct a convincing argument that supports the thesis.
  • To support that thesis with convincing reasons and criteria for evaluation.
  • To provide development and support for your ideas.
  • To demonstrate your understanding of essay structure and demonstrate your understanding of how to structure an academic argument.

Background:

In recent years, popular media seems to have become increasingly violent. This is particularly true of visuals in video games and on some Internet sites, but graphically violent images also appear regularly in films, on TV, in comic books, and even in newspapers. Some research has suggested that these violent images can have a negative effect on those who view them, particularly on adolescents and young children. In fact, some media critics believe that these violent images have helped to create an increasingly violent culture, which in turn has inspired young people to commit violent crimes. Others, however, argue that violent media images are not to blame for such events—and that, in fact, they provide a safe outlet for aggression.

 

Additional Requirements:

Make sure you include adequate support for your position with thoughtful consideration of all sides of the issue.  You are to reference at least 3 texts from the list below or from the CSUN library databases. Also, you are to refer to at least one specific visual example of violence in the media (for example: television, videos including U-Tube, movies, video games, or music videos). In referencing the visual examples make sure to include a complete analysis that will help the reader to situate and understand the reference (do not assume the reader has seen your visual example).

 

Articles on media violence:

  • “Violent Media Numbs Viewers to Pain of Others” – WMIA, pg. 165
  • “Hate Violence? Turn It Off!” – WMIA, pg. 167
  •  “Violent Media is Good for Kids” – WMIA, pg. 181
  • “Media Violence Debates” – Moodle
  •  “Whodunit—the Media?” – Moodle
  • “Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?” – Moodle
  • “Music Videos Promote Adolescent Aggression” – Moodle
  • “Does Fictional Violence Lead to Real Violence” – Moodle
  • “American Psychological Association” – Moodle
  • “When Life Imitates Video” – Moodle

 

This essay will be constructed as an academic argument and therefore should be well-reasoned, supported with logic based evidence from your readings, and balanced.  Preparation for this paper must include Exercise 1, Exercise 2, and Exercise 3 – proposal, as well as the 1st draft with peer review and 2nd draft.  It should be oriented toward a general, academic audience and will be evaluated according to the grading rubric for this course.

Paper Requirements:

  • 5 pages (Minimum 5 FULL pages)
  • Times Roman – 12 point font
  • Double spaced
  • One-inch margins (not 1.25, check your default margin settings)
  • MLA documentation and style
  • MLA Works Cited pageWHEN LIFE IMITATES VIDEOJohn Leo

    U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 1999

     

    Was it real life or an acted-out video game?

     

    Marching through a large building using various bombs and guns to pick off victims is a conventional video-game scenario. In the Colorado massacre, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris used pistol-grip shotguns, as in some video-arcade games. The pools of blood, screams of agony, and pleas for mercy must have been familiar–they are featured in some of the newer and more realistic kill-for-kicks games. “With each kill,” the Los Angeles Times reported, “the teens cackled and shouted as though playing one of the morbid video games they loved.” And they ended their spree by shooting themselves in the head, the final act in the game Postal, and, in fact, the only way to end it.

     

    Did the sensibilities created by the modern, video kill games play a role in the Littleton massacre? Apparently so. Note the cool and casual cruelty, the outlandish arsenal of weapons, the cheering and laughing while hunting down victims one by one. All of this seems to reflect the style and feel of the video killing games they played so often.

     

    No, there isn’t any direct connection between most murderous games and most murders. And yes, the primary responsibility for protecting children from dangerous games lies with their parents, many of whom like to blame the entertainment industry for their own failings.

     

    But there is a cultural problem here: We are now a society in which the chief form of play for millions of youngsters is making large numbers of people die. Hurting and maiming others is the central fun activity in video games played so addictively by the young. A widely cited survey of 900 fourth-through-eighth-grade students found that almost half of the children said their favorite electronic games involve violence. Can it be that all this constant training in make-believe killing has no social effects?

     

    Dress rehearsal. The conventional argument is that this is a harmless activity among children who know the difference between fantasy and reality. But the games are often played by unstable youngsters unsure about the difference. Many of these have been maltreated or rejected and left alone most of the time (a precondition for playing the games obsessively). Adolescent feelings of resentment, powerlessness, and revenge pour into the killing games. In these children, the games can become a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

     

    Psychologist David Grossman of Arkansas State University, a retired Army officer, thinks “point and shoot” video games have the same effect as military strategies used to break down a soldier’s aversion to killing. During World War II only 15 to 20 percent of all American soldiers fired their weapon in battle. Shooting games in which the target is a man-shaped outline, the Army found, made recruits more willing to “make killing a reflex action.”

     

     

    Video games are much more powerful versions of the military’s primitive discovery about overcoming the reluctance to shoot. Grossman says Michael Carneal, the schoolboy shooter in Paducah, Ky., showed the effects of video-game lessons in killing. Carneal coolly shot nine times, hitting eight people, five of them in the head or neck. Head shots pay a bonus in many video games. Now the Marine Corps is adapting a version of Doom, the hyperviolent game played by one of the Littleton killers, for its own training purposes.

     

    More realistic touches in video games help blur the boundary between fantasy and reality–guns carefully modeled on real ones, accurate-looking wounds, screams, and other sound effects, even the recoil of a heavy rifle. Some newer games seem intent on erasing children’s empathy and concern for others. Once the intended victims of video slaughter were mostly gangsters or aliens. Now some games invite players to blow away ordinary people who have done nothing wrong–pedestrians, marching bands, an elderly woman with a walker. In these games, the shooter is not a hero, just a violent sociopath. One ad for a Sony game says: “Get in touch with your gun-toting, testosterone-pumping, cold-blooded murdering side.”

     

    These killings are supposed to be taken as harmless over-the-top jokes. But the bottom line is that the young are being invited to enjoy the killing of vulnerable people picked at random. This looks like the final lesson in a course to eliminate any lingering resistance to killing.

     

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    SWAT teams and cops now turn up as the intended victims of some video-game killings. This has the effect of exploiting resentments toward law enforcement and making real-life shooting of cops more likely. This sensibility turns up in the hit movie Matrix: world-saving hero Keanu Reeves, in a mandatory Goth-style, long black coat packed with countless heavy-duty guns, is forced to blow away huge numbers of uniformed law-enforcement people.

     

    “We have to start worrying about what we are putting into the minds of our young,” says Grossman. “Pilots train on flight simulators, drivers on driving simulators, and now we have our children on murder simulators.” If we want to avoid more Littleton-style massacres, we will begin taking the social effects of the killing games more seriously.

    American Psychological Association.org

    Violence in the Media — Psychologists Study TV and Video Game Violence for Potential Harmful Effects

    November 2013

    Early research on the effects of viewing violence on television — especially among children — found a desensitizing effect and the potential for aggression. Is the same true for those who play violent video games? Psychological researchers are studying the question.

     

    Television and Video Violence

    Virtually since the dawn of television, parents, teachers, legislators and mental health professionals have wanted to understand the impact of television programs, particularly on children. Of special concern has been the portrayal of violence, particularly given psychologist Albert Bandura’s work in the 1970s on social learning and the tendency of children to imitate what they see. As a result of 15 years of “consistently disturbing” findings about the violent content of children’s programs, the Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior was formed in 1969 to assess the impact of violence on the attitudes, values and behavior of viewers. The resulting report and a follow-up report in 1982 by the National Institute of Mental Health identified these major effects of seeing violence on television:

    • Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
    • Children may be more fearful of the world around them.
    • Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.

    Research by psychologists L. Rowell Huesmann, Leonard Eron and others starting in the 1980s found that children who watched many hours of violence on television when they were in elementary school tended to show higher levels of aggressive behavior when they became teenagers. By observing these participants into adulthood, Huesmann and Eron found that the ones who’d watched a lot of TV violence when they were 8 years old were more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as adults. Interestingly, being aggressive as a child did not predict watching more violent TV as a teenager, suggesting that TV watching could be a cause rather than a consequence of aggressive behavior. However, later research by psychologists Douglas Gentile and Brad Bushman, among others, suggested that exposure to media violence is just one of several factors that can contribute to aggressive behavior.

    Other research has found that exposure to media violence can desensitize people to violence in the real world and that, for some people, watching violence in the media becomes enjoyable and does not result in the anxious arousal that would be expected from seeing such imagery.

     

    Video Game Violence

    The advent of video games raised new questions about the potential impact of media violence, since the video game player is an active participant rather than merely a viewer. Ninety-seven percent of adolescents age 12-17 play video games — on a computer, on consoles such as the Wii, Playstation and Xbox, or on portable devices such as Gameboys, smartphones and tablets. A Pew Research Center survey in 2008 found that half of all teens reported playing a video game “yesterday,” and those who played every day typically did so for an hour or more.

    Many of the most popular video games, such as “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto,” are violent; however, as video game technology is relatively new, there are fewer empirical studies of video game violence than other forms of media violence. Still, several meta-analytic reviews have reported negative effects of exposure to violence in video games. A 2010 review by psychologist Craig A. Anderson and others concluded that “the evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and for decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.” Anderson’s earlier research showed that playing violent video games can increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in daily life. “One major conclusion from this and other research on violent entertainment media is that content matters,” says Anderson.

    Other researchers, including psychologist Christopher J. Ferguson, have challenged the position that video game violence harms children. While his own 2009 meta–analytic review reported results similar to Anderson’s, Ferguson contends that laboratory results have not translated into real world, meaningful effects. He also claims that much of the research into video game violence has failed to control for other variables such as mental health and family life, which may have impacted the results. His work has found that children who are already at risk may be more likely to choose to play violent video games. According to Ferguson, these other risk factors, as opposed to the games, cause aggressive and violent behavior.

    The American Psychological Association launched an analysis in 2013 of peer-reviewed research on the impact of media violence and is reviewing its policy statements in the area. Both are expected to be completed in 2014.

     

    Cited Research

    Anderson, C.A., Ihori, Nobuko, Bushman, B.J., Rothstein, H.R., Shibuya, A., Swing, E.L., Sakamoto, A., & Saleem, M. (2010). Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression, Empathy, and Prosocial Behavior in Eastern and Western Countries: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychological Bulletin, Vo. 126, No. 2.

    Anderson, C. A., Carnagey, N. L. & Eubanks, J. (2003). Exposure to violent media: The effects of songs with violent lyrics on aggressive thoughts and feelings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 84, No. 5.

    Anderson, C. A., & Dill, K. E. (2000). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 78, No. 4.

    Ferguson, C.J. (2011). Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis in Adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 40, No. 4.

    Gentile, D.A., & Bushman, B.J. (2012). Reassessing Media Violence Effects Using a Risk and Resilience Approach to Understanding Aggression. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Vol. 1, No. 3.

    Huesmann, L. R., & Eron, L. D. (1986). Television and the aggressive child: A cross-national comparison. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Huesmann, L. R., Moise-Titus, J., Podolski, C. L., & Eron, L. D. (2003). Longitudinal relations between children’s exposure to TV violence and their aggressive and violent behavior in young adulthood: 1977-1992. Developmental Psychology, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 201-221.

    Huston, A. C., Donnerstein, E., Fairchild, H., Feshbach, N. D., Katz, P. A., Murray, J. P., Rubinstein, E. A., Wilcox, B. & Zuckerman, D. (1992). Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

    Krahe, B., Moller, I., Kirwil, L., Huesmann, L.R., Felber, J., & Berger, A. (2011). Desensitization to Media Violence: Links With Habitual Media Violence Exposure, Aggressive Cognitions, and Aggressive Behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 100, No. 4.

    Murray, J. P. (1973). Television and violence: Implications of the Surgeon General’s research program. American Psychologist, Vol. 28, pp. 472-478.

    National Institute of Mental Health (1982). Television and Behavior: Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the Eighties, Vol. 1. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Psychology Today

    Does Fictional Violence Lead to Real Violence?

    Why we worry too much about media violence

    Published on January 15, 2013 by Jonathan Gottschall, Ph.D. in The Storytelling Animal

 
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