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					The Effects of Violent Media Upon Aggressive Behavior
Jennifer Stahl
Saint Joseph’s University
Dr. Phyllis Anastasio – Advisor/Mentor

                  The Effects of Violent Media Upon Aggressive Behavior

       The viewing of violent media and the effects it has on its viewers has been studied

and there has not been complete agreement as to whether the violent media leads to

aggressive behavior. Evidence shows that continuous exposure to violent media causes

an increase in the likelihood of a person becoming aggressive (Bushman & Anderson,

2001). The overt aggressive behaviors have been the main focus of the research

conducted thus far. However, the focus of the current study is to examine the covert

effects that violent media has on its viewers, particularly, the effect that violent media has

on its viewers.

       The purpose of the present study is to further investigate the covert effects of

violent media by studying the cooperative behavior of two people working on a problem

together. It was hypothesized that those who view violent media will be more aggressive

than those who did not view violence, by being less cooperative with their partner.

       Participants viewed an eight-minute clip of either a violent film or a non-violent

film. After viewing the clip, they were asked to work on a problem and devise a solution

by talking with each other and making joint decisions. The conversation that was held by

the partners was audio taped in order for the content to be analyzed. After the problem

was completed, they were then asked to fill out a questionnaire in which they were asked

such questions such as “I feel the solution to the problem would have been enhanced if I

did not have a partner” or rate questions a Likert scale such as “I enjoyed working with
my partner.” These questions were used in order to determine the level of

cooperativeness, or the level of aggression. The tapes of the conversations were then

transcribed and their content was analyzed by counting the number of times a word or

phrase was used such as “no, we and I think.”

       When the questionnaires were analyzed, the results indicated that when the

females viewed the violent media, they said that the solution would have been enhanced

if they did not have a partner. When the content of the audio tapes were analyzed, it was

found that males who viewed the violent clip said “I think”, an uncooperative phrase,

significantly fewer times than did the males who viewed the non-violent media as well as

the females in both conditions. The results also indicated that females in the violent

condition said “no”, a negative term, significantly fewer times than did females in the

non-violent condition, as well as the males in both conditions.

       These findings reveal that the viewing of violent media does in fact have an

impact on the covert aggressive behavior of its viewers. This subtle effect of being less

patient and less cooperative could lead people to become more aggressive in other ways

as well, that we are not aware of. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge that violent

media is having subtle effects upon its viewers.

				
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