Relationship Between Media Exposure And Desensitisation To Violence

3267 words - 14 pages

Relationship between media exposure and desensitisation to violence


The aim of this study was to construct a questionnaire, which will assess the relationship between media exposure and desensitisation to violence. 

The design employed for this study was a correlational survey using single blind conditions. There were 22 respondents to the questionnaire who were asked to fill in the given questionnaire (see appendix). I used an opportunity sample, which was the students of South Cheshire College. The research was also conducted in the college. The questionnaire tested for two conditions 1. The amount of television watched and 2. The sensitivity to violence rating. The ...view middle of the document...

As with drug tolerance increasingly violent programmes may be required to produce an emotional response (Gadow and Sprafkin 1989)

Baron (1977) refers to ‘phase two’ research (research into the effects of media violence) has been conducted using various methodological approaches. Correlational studies typically involve asking people which programmes they like best and what they watch most often. This data is then correlated with measures of aggression given by, parents, teachers, self-report peers and so on. Evidence from such studies has generally been inconsistent but on finding is that the overall amount of viewing is related to self-reports of aggressive behaviour. There is also the possibility that those who watch violent television are in some way different from those who do not and the inability to infer cause and effect in correlational studies weakens this methodology.

Laboratory studies are designed to enable the causal link between watching violent television and behaving aggressively to be established (if it existed) Liebert and Baron (1972) randomly assigned children to two groups. One group watched The Untouchables, a violent television programme, whilst the other group watched an equally engaging and arousing but non-violent sports competition. Afterwards the children were allowed to play. Those who had watched the violent programme behaved more aggressively than the others did. The problem with laboratory studies is that they use small and unrepresentative samples that are exposed to the independent variable under highly contrived and unnatural viewing situations. The measures of television viewing and aggression tend to be so far removed from normal everyday behaviour that it is doubtful whether such studies have any relevance to the real world.

Field experiments have higher ecological validity than lab experiments. Parke et al. (1977) showed that aggression in delinquent boys rises if they watch violent films at home. No change in behaviour is observed if they view non-violent films. Field experiments have higher ecological validity than lab experiments. Natural experiments show that the introduction of televisions to a town increases the aggressive behaviour of the inhabitants (Joy et al. 1986)

Questionnaires are written methods of gaining data from subjects that do not necessarily require the presence of the researcher. By conducting a questionnaire to assess the relationship between media exposure and desensitisation to violence will allow a large amount of standardised data to be collected which will be highly replicable and easy to score.

543 Words


I plan to construct a questionnaire, which will assess the relationship between media exposure and desensitisation to violence. A positive correlation between hours of television watched and frequency of aggressive behaviours has already been found by Robinson and Bachman (1972). I predict that I will find that the higher the media exposure (i.e. the...

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