24TH August 2011 Essay Example

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Topic: Media Violence

Lecturer’s name

24TH August 2011

Literature review


According to Carnegy, Anderson & Bartholow (2007) media violence is the type of violence that results from television, stories, news stories, sports and violent music. According to the authors media violence has for a long time been taken as a source of entertainment by different media channels. In the recent past electronic media such as the internet have overtaken the use of the digital media such as the television and radio in spreading media violence. Media violence range from physical fights to abusive husbands and wives which greatly affect the observers or the audience.

Carnegy, Anderson & Bartholow (2007 noted that one of the reasons why media violence is considered a problem is that it changes the behaviour of the observers from positive to negative behaviours particularly when the audience does not have control over its thoughts and actions such as children who need guidance from their parents. The authors reiterated that media violence is also a problem because it results into physical harm, deaths and unnecessary injuries particularly when media violence is emulated by young children. For instance, when children or adults begin to experiment different techniques and tactics applied by wrestlers in wrestling programs it results into physical harm or injuries.

How does media violence affect behaviour?

According to Anderson (2007) media violence affects the behaviour of the people who watch the violence by resulting into a malformed superego. Anderson defined a superego as something that is acquired through experience as people learn what acceptable behaviour in their society is. The author noted that a superego imposes a lesson of avoiding aggression and violence and therefore every human being is born with a superego both in the short term and in the long term. However, media violence disrupts the process of formation of the superego which increases the likelihood that those exposed to violence in the media may develop into aggressive and violent human beings. According to the author the reason for this is that media violence weakens the superego by exposing people to as many different value systems as there are channels thus leaving children and those who watch violence in the media to develop their superego in a moral vacuum (Anderson, p. 3).

In their research study on violent components and interactive mode of computer video game on player’s negative social effect Xue-min Zhang et al. (2009) noted that media violence whether in the digital or electronic media affects the social behaviour of the people who watch violence videos or programs continuously. The authors noted that this is a long term effect because media violence disrupts and breaks the social skills that enhance interpersonal relationships. This is particularly the case when media violence is depicted as resulting from distrust and lack of confidence in other people. When watching such a video or a program on the television people tend to develop the tendency of distrusting their partners, friends and the people around them which breaks the ability of the people to socialize (Xue-min Zhang et al, p. 96). Video game violence has numerous effects in the lives of the children because it affect the performance of the children in school and paves way for aggressive behaviours which is depicted by children in different venues such as in the playground or in the classroom or at home.

Potter (2003) observed that media violence has behavioural and physiological effects. In the short term the behavioural effects of media violence include imitation and copying of different styles and techniques used in the violence. The long term behavioural effects include malformed superego. Potter (p. 33) noted that the short term physiological effects include fight-flight reaction while the long term physiological effects of media violence include narcotizing and physiological habituation (p 33).

Levels of analysis help us to understand the effects of media violence in that through environmental level of analysis we are able to understand how stimuli in the physical and the social environment shape our behaviour, thoughts and feelings. For instance, environmental level of analysis may help us understand how media violence which is one of the stimuli in the physical and the social environment shape people’s behaviour such as increasing aggression amongst the young people (Lin & Lepper, 1987). The notion of correlation vs causation helps us to understand the effects of media violence in that it show how the amount of television viewing affects behaviour or relating the amount of violence viewing in the media affects the behaviours of those that view the violence. It generates knowledge about the cause and the effect of media violence in the behaviours of the observers.


Anderson, C. (2007). “The video game industry has been lax in its responsibilities” Focus, 180, p.3.

Carnegy, N., Anderson, C., & Bartholow, B. (2007). Media violence and social neuroscience: New questions and new opportunities. Current directions in psychological science, 16, 178-182.

Lin, S., & Lepper, M. R. (1987). Correlates of children’s usage of videogames and computers. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 17, 72–93

Potter, W. (2003). The 11 myths of media violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers, pp. 31-51

Xue-min Zhang et al. (2009). Violent components and interactive mode of computer video game on player’s negative social effect. School of Psychology, Beijing, China, pp. 95-99.