Running head: VIOLENCE 1
Media Violence Outline
PSY 101 Introduction to Psychology
A. Thesis Statement
You are what you watch. Easy to say, and not too difficult to imagine either. A little over a decade ago, two boys who later became household names in America, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Colorado and went on a mass murdering spree where they killed 12 students, 1 teacher and injured 23 others before shooting themselves (Anderson & Dill, 2008). While their motives behind doing so cannot be ascertained, one possible contributing element which did surface was the influence of violent video games. At the risk of oversimplifying what is possibly a complex psychological minefield, Harris and Klebold did enjoy playing a game called Doom, which is licensed by the American military for the purpose of training soldiers to kill effectively. Harris had customized his own version of this game and put it up on his website, which was later tracked by The Simon Wisenthal Center (Anderson & Dill, 2008). This version of the game had two shooters with an unlimited supply of weapons and ammunition, and their targets lacked the ability to retaliate. A class project required them to make a video of themselves similar to the game, and in it, they dressed in trench coats, armed with weapons, and conduct the massacre of school athletes. Less than one year had gone by when Harris and Klebold played their videotape out, in real life, and became the protagonists of the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history (Anderson & Dill, 2008).
II. Body paragraph #1
There is nothing new about the presence of violence in our tools of entertainment. Whether they were ancient Greek dramas, theatre in the Elizabethan era or the modern electronic dramas of today, a healthy dose of violence was never missing. In Macbeth for instance, Shakespeare showed Macbeth's head being brought on stage at the end of the play (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). The Great Train Robbery, an 11-minute film directed by Edwin S. Porter was the first firm considered to tell a story in a systematic manner. In one scene, he shows an intense scene where a cowboy fires a pistol directly at the camera, which when first showed to audiences, had them running out of the theaters in disarray and fear (Bushman & Anderson, 2001).
A. Since the advent of media itself, there have been countless studies on the connection between depiction of violence in media and its occurrence in real life.
B. Discussions, debates, conclusions and grey areas have all been further examined and while television is the most prominent target of accusations, comic books, jazz, rock and roll music and video games have not escaped blame either.
C. Research on this topic started as early as the 1960s when television was a recent entrant in the media fray and a causal connection has been derived between media violence and aggressive behavior.
III. Body paragraph #2
Opponents fuss over the definition and measurement of media violence, does actual physical bodily harm constitute violence or can a threatening statement also be deemed so? Then, does media violence cause aggression, or are the two simply associated? Consistency of the relationship also causes doubts over agreed upon data when the example of Japan is quoted, where violent media is extremely common, yet crime rates are significantly low (Anderson & Dill, 2008). Then is media solely to blame for violence in society? Doesn't that take the blame away from a lot of other contributing factors in society itself and make the argument generally unrealistic?
A. All these issues and thorny areas can be settled by the simple logic of the social learning theory which proposes that when people see that a certain behavior causes positive or desired results, there is a high probability of them imitating and enacting that behavior (in this case, violent)...
References: Anderson, Craig and Karen Dill. "Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior in the Laboratory and in Life." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78 (2008): 772-790.
Bushman, Brad and Craig Anderson. "Media Violence and the American Public: Scientific Fact Versus Media Misinformation" American Psychologist 56 (2001): 477-489.
Gunter, Barry and Jill McAleer. Children and Television (second edition), Routledge: London, 1997.
Huesmann, L. Rowell, Jessica Moise-Titus, Cheryll-Lynn Podolski, and Leonard Eron. "Longitudinal Relations between Children 's Exposure to TV Violence and their Aggressive and Violent Behavior in Young Adulthood: 1977-1992." Developmental Psychology 39 (2003): 201-221.
Kooijmans, Thomas. "Effects of Video Games on Aggressive Thoughts and Behaviors During Development". Rochester Institute of Technology. 2004
Nicoll, Jessica and Kevin M. Kieffer. "Violence in Video Games: A Review of the Empirical Research." Presentation to the American Psychological Association, August 2005.
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