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July 1996, Week 4


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Ulf Dalquist <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 27 Jul 1996 09:40:08 +0200
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J. Senft" <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>When it comes to "numbing" from screen violence, I can only add that media
>>violence only works de-sensitizing when it comes to... screen violence. No
>>research whatsoever has proved an effect of media violence (neither ficti=
>>nor non- fictitiuos) on the perceptions of real-life violence.
>There *is* research that shows that watching violence leads to violent
>behaviour.  See Bandura's experiments with bobo dolls, where the children
>who were shown violent material on t.v. then behaved violently toward the
>dolls, while the other children did not.  I believe following experiments
>supported these findings as well.  I realize this isn't precisely what you
>were talking about, but it is related enough to cause concern, yes?
I'd rather put it this way: there *is* research (and quite a lot of it too)=
*claims* to show that watching violence leads to violent behaviour. The Ban=
study has - in my view quite deservingly - been severely critizied on both=
theoretical and methodological grounds. I will not go further into the crit=
here, I think it is sufficent to say that the fact that you can provoke a=20
certain behavior in a laboratory situation doesn't have much to do with=20
real-life behaviour in real-life situations. And, naturally, you can questi=
whether striking an inanimate object equals violence.
And, no, I do not think Banduras hypothesis (the social learning hypothesis=
) is=20
closely related to the desensitization hypothesis, the former claims that w=
learn certain behaviour from the media, the latter that the media disinhibi=
ts us=20
from certain behaviour that is labelled as undesirable for society in gener=
For those interested in an overview of the shortcomings of media effects=20
research, I strongly recommend David Gauntlett's "Moving Experiences" (John=
Libbey, London 1995) .
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