Television Born Killers


This essay attempts to evaluate the view that television violence is a cause of real world violence. Several studies supporting and opposing this view are examined as well as Gerbner's cultivation theory, which provides an alternative view. The critique offered by Cumberbatch has been applied where relevant and his views on some major methodological problems evident in research in this field are also highlighted.
The overall pattern of research findings indicates a positive association between television violence and aggressive behaviour. A Washington Post article (Oldenburg, 1992. pE5), states that "the preponderance of evidence from more than 3,000 research studies over two decades ...

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lab findings can be equated with real life. The experiments done in this field are all controlled. They do not correlate with real life problems. While these experiments support the argument, many do not live up to good empirical research. Cumberbatch (1989) examined the main methodological problems he felt were evident in many major studies of the relationship between television violence and aggression.
He focused on five areas that cause problems and question the validity of certain studies. Firstly, researchers have difficulty in handling non significant results. They tend to ignore these and focus only on significant findings which can lead to false conclusions about the genuine effects of television violence on society.

Secondly, the effects of mass media research are viewed as a unidimensional process. The researchers do not take into account that the aggressor is only part of the equation of violence as a social problem. For example, are victims more or less vulnerable ...

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concerns about mass media violence is lacking. Public opinion has shown inconsistencies in earlier studies. That is that although the majority feel that there is too much violence on television, the number of complaints to broadcasting authorities do not support this. (Cumberbatch, 1989. pp. 47-50.)

Many studies have been done suggesting that violence on television does, in fact, influence the behaviour of children. However, some of the studies mentioned below have problems which cast doubt on their validity.

If one were to ask a child what their favorite television show is, very often the child will respond with a television show that contains a lot of violence. For example, ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 8/17/2005 12:40:09 PM
Category: Social Issues
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3181
Pages: 12

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