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Discussion Of The View That Violence On Screen Can Cause Violence In Society

1106 words - 4 pages

Discussion of the View that Violence on Screen Can Cause Violence in Society

The screening of violence and the effects it has on the media ahs been
a controversial issue for a long time. Many researches have been
carried out to prove or disprove the hypothesis that violence in the
media can cause violence in society and as a result many theories have
been formed. A theory that supports this hypothesis is the Hypodermic
syringe model developed by Vance Packard in 1957 and a reflection of
the popular belief at the era. The hypodermic syringe model sees the
audience as a homogenous mass without any background experiences and
therefore immediately affected by what they see in the media. Even
though this view is very deterministic and ignores the fact that
people may interpret things in different ways, some of the research
carried out to find the relationship between violence portrayed in the
media and violence in society supports this model. In 1963, Bandura,
Ross and Ross showed three groups of children real, film and cartoon
examples of a self righting doll known as the bobo doll being attacked
by mallets, whilst a fourth group saw no violent activity. After being
shown into a room full of toys there were then told that the toys were
not for them and thus made feel frustrated. They were then led into a
room containing a bobo doll and were observed through a one way
mirror. The three groups who were shown violence behaved more
aggressively towards the doll than the fourth group. Nevertheless the
correlation doesn’t prove causation and more importantly the
experiment was carried out on children who are prone to imitate what
they see, however as they get older they would develop a better sense
of judgment and become fully aware of the consequences of their

Another study was carried out by Eron et al in 1987 who studied over
800 eight and nine year old boys and girls. They observed each child
for signs of aggression and asked other people whether each child was
aggressive. They then went on to study the children’s viewing habits
and found a positive correlation between the amount of media violence
watched and the violence in children’s everyday behaviour. This study
like the bobo doll study ignores the fact that other factors might
have been at work, such as peer pressure influences. Also in the Eron
study, there is no distinguishing between the types of violence,
whether it’s fictional or real life violence and also the criteria for
children to be seen as violent is not distinguished.

However there have been real life incidents that would support the
hypodermic syringe theory, such as the shootings in the Columbine High

A theory that disagrees with the Hypodermic syringe model is the
Cultural effects model. This theory doesn’t...

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