Sunday, November 10, 2019

Does violence on televison lead to violence in real life? Essay

The debate on television violence has been on going for many years now and has produced a wide and varied set of views and research results. Many well established psychologists have attempted, through various types of experiments and observations, to either support or negate a link between violence on television and the violent episodes in â€Å"real† life. These sets of data have thrown up some interesting views and personal conclusions regarding the subject of television violence, and we will show the varying views and conclusions that some of these psychologists have reached; and by using a respected and well known system we will try to show the views of a small section of our community. Previous research into the link between violence and television Over the years numerous psychologists have produced thousands of experiments and or research to support or negate the link between violence and television. In 1987 a psychologist named Cumberbatch produced data on the actual amounts of violence found to be in British television programmes. He concluded that 30% of the programmes contained some form of violence, with an overall frequency of 1.14 violent acts per programme and 1.68 violent acts per hour. Each act of violence lasted an average 25 seconds leading to violence occupying just over 1% of total television airtime. His research showed that in 26% of violent acts death occurred, but in 61% no injuries were shown and the victim was portrayed as being in pain or stunned. In 83% of cases, no blood was shown as a result of a violent act, and considerable blood and gore occurred in only 0.2% of cases. Cumberbatch also revealed that most perpetrators of violent acts were more likely to be portrayed as â€Å"baddies† rather than â€Å"goodies†, and violence occurred twice as frequently in law breaking than in law-upholding contexts. His research, although neither for or against violence on television, gives us an idea of the amount of violence on television we are exposed to. Howitt and Cumberbatch in 1974 analysed 300 studies of television violence and it’s direct effect on children’s behaviour, they played down the link between television violence and the children’s behaviour. A further study into the relationships between the media and violence carried out by Eron 1987and Phillips 1986 found a different conclusion. They concluded that a positive correlation between the amount of aggression viewed at 8 and later aggression at 30 could be seen. George Gerbner (1989) researched television and its influences on human behaviour and said: † Television influences human behaviour because there are â€Å"routes† or mechanisms whereby the content of television can have an effect on what we do, and how we act. Thus, part of televisions influence comes about because of how we learn (by observation and imitation), because of how we respond to certain kinds of story material (arousal/desensitisation), and because of the structure of our inhibitions and the way television provides the kind of stimulation necessary to release them (disinhibition). I called these behavioural mechanisms, because for the most part the influence was shown on some activity† (p128 The Psychology of Television) Aletha Huston (university of Kansas 1989) studied the effects of television violence on children’s behaviour and stated: † Children who watch violent television programmes, even ‘just funny’ cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the non violent programmes.†(p 142 The Psychology of Television) We can see from the varying studies, different results and opinions of these psychologists just how hard it can be to support or negate a link between violence on television and in real life. How the questionnaires were prepared in class In a classroom environment we produced a questionnaire on peoples opinions relating to the link between television violence and real life. The class split into small groups of three or four and discussed possible questions to add to the questionnaire, trying to have a balance of pro television and anti television questions. The individual group questions were discussed and eight questions picked to make up the actual questionnaire, these questions consisted of four pro television and four anti television, the questions were set out so an anti television was followed by a pro television question. The obvious reason for the split into pro and anti television is to try and produce a questionnaire that will give the people taking part a non-biased set of alternate answers. The questions we decided on where as follows: 1. Violence on TV causes certain people to copy those actions in real life 2. People understand TV is not real life and have no wish to copy what they see 3. Children often act out violence from TV especially cartoons 4. Violence in playgrounds is not influenced by TV 5. Violence is sensationalised in TV soaps to boost ratings 6. Violence in soap story lines is vital to keep viewers interested 7. News programmes use to much graphic violence 8. Graphic violence is needed in the media to show reality in news stories To measure these results we required a scale, this scale is known as the Likert questionnaire scale and was devised in the 1930s, and it works on the principle of asking the question and then giving the subject five possible answers, strongly agree, moderately agree, unsure, moderately disagree and strongly disagree (the first two and last two can be reversed) Questions one, two, five and six were prepared using the answer scale, 1: strongly agree, 2: moderately agree, 3 unsure, 4: moderately disagree and 5: strongly disagree. Questions three, four, seven and eight were prepared using the answer scale, 1: strongly disagree, 2: moderately disagree, 3: unsure, 4: moderately agree and 5: strongly agree. The reason for this is to prevent untrue answers and is explained in the next section. Why are there anomalies in preparation and analysis When preparing the questionnaire we realised that we could possibly encounter problems in the way people would answer the stated questions, the Likert scale is specifically designed to prevent this. For example we could encounter people who would pick only their favourite number and pay no attention to the questions being asked, or people would stick to the left side or right side of each column. The way the scale is set out at the moment both someone who is anti and someone who is pro television would both score the same, 24, and somebody who is unsure of every question asked would score 24 as well. Also a person who sticks to only one side of the scale, say the right side, would score a maximum of 40. This would not form a very interesting conclusion and people’s true views would be unknown so we have to alter the scale to produce interesting results, we alter only the scale and not the actual answers. To alleviate these problems the scale has to go through slight changes when we have all the necessary data, but we must emphasise that only the scores are changed and not any of the actual answers given by the participants After we have made these changes it can be seen that we now have a set of interesting results with definite pro and anti opinions and the people who have not completed the questionnaire correctly have no bearing on the result. How the data was analysed To analyse all the data collected from the questionnaires we needed to produce a graph of all the answers. This table would show in detail how the subjects of the questionnaire answered our eight questions and, when we alter the scale, would provide us with evidence of the pro and anti television feeling. The graph shows all the answers to the questionnaire and also shows the changes made, the numbers in red show how we have altered the value for the actual answer e.g. question 1 answer 1 has now become question 1 answer 5 etc Summary results of questionnaire To find the pro and anti television views of our subjects we needed to work out the over all percentages, these were found by the mathematical processes below: 1. Strongly pro television: value 1 (79) divided by the number of participants (520) multiplied by 100 to give us 15.19% 2. Moderately pro television: value 2, 113/520 x 100 = 21.73% 3. Unsure: value 3, 45/520 x 100 = 8.65% 4. Moderately anti television: value 4, 181/520 x 100 = 34.81% 5. Strongly anti television: value 5, 102/520 x 100 = 19.62% These results show that 54.43% of the people who participated in our questionnaire are moderately or strongly anti television, compared to 36.92% who are moderately or strongly pro television. Other theories for the cause of aggressive behaviour Although the debates still continue on the links between television and aggressive behaviour, other links have been researched and their findings well documented. Probably the most well known person to document his findings on aggressive behaviour was Sigmund Freud (1856-1939); he had a psychoanalytical approach and stated that we all have innate instincts in the form of something called Eros (the seeking of pleasure and self-preservation) and Thanatos (a tendency to self destruct) He tells us that this tension can often lead to the Thanatos being projected outwardly and onto others. Freud stated that the need for displaying aggression comes as naturally as the need for food, drink and sex. The aggressive instinct can be displaced through cathartic activities such as sport. Megargee (1966) supported Freud in his findings and found that crimes are often committed by over controlled individuals who, over a period of time, have repressed their anger. Another approach to this topic was Lorenz’s ethological approach, his hydraulic model claimed that ‘aggressive energy builds up gradually over a period of time and needs to be released periodically.’ Lorenz (1966) stated that aggression is connected with our need to be adaptive, to fit in and survive within our environment. Dollard et al (1939) adopted a very different approach, the frustration-aggression hypothesis. This hypothesis claimed that aggression is always a consequence of frustration and the existence of frustration always leads to aggression. Dollard et al view aggression as innate and in doing so agree with the findings of Freud and Lorenz, but, say it would only take place in particular opportune circumstances. Aggression could possibly be delayed or it could be aimed at a third party, a scapegoat. It is as if the mind thinks things through and only acts when the time is perceived to be right, or is advantageous. Another view is that of Berkowitz (1966) who says we rely on certain cues to trigger our responses. Frustration leads to anger, which is different from actual aggression, the frustration cues a readiness to act. Then only an environmental cue will actually trigger aggression. This theory is somewhat similar to the frustration-aggression hypothesis but it has the intermediary response that takes the form of anger, something has to come along that tips us over the edge. Bandura (1961, 1963, 1965, 1973, 1994) produced a theory on social learning. He claimed that aggressive behaviour was learned through observation, imitation and reinforcement of aggressive models. Even non-tangible reinforcements such as the words † be tough† can have the same effect. Bibliography Course notes R Walters & P J Daly 2003 The psychology of Television John Condry

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