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"Violence on Television may have behavioural effects, emotional effects or ideological effects." (Buckingham in Barker and Petley(eds) 1997:39). Comment critically on the notion of television's effects under these three headings.

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Introduction

Amy Best Audiences and Impacts Batar 2 Carole O'Reilly 3. "Violence on Television may have behavioural effects, emotional effects or ideological effects." (Buckingham in Barker and Petley(eds) 1997:39). Comment critically on the notion of television's effects under these three headings and demonstrate how the available evidence remains contradictory. Concern about violence within popular media has a long history. Plato proposed to ban poets from his ideal republic, because he feared that their stories about immoral behaviour would corrupt young minds. In modern times, moral pressure groups have tried to 'protect' people, especially children from television, the cinema, and 'video nasties'. It's important to see the issue of television violence and it's link with behaviour in a social, cultural and historical context, and to also know that the media is often used as a scapegoat. For example, tremendous violence is almost always seen in classic Shakespearean theatre and yet it is considered necessary and educational in today's society. Blaming the media helps to divert attention from other causes of change, and so claims about the 'effects of television' can be massively exaggerated. The extremely broad and often ambiguous nature of violence seen on television can and has resulted in many disagreements concerning the degree of effects this can have on an audience. ...read more.

Middle

It is also thought that the theorists conducting the study may have intentionally encouraged the aggression, something that most parents would not. So although Bandura did prove that the children's behaviour was undoubtedly linked to the images they had seen, it was an artificially made environment (both literally and by means of behaviour expressed by all parties) and therefore I would argue that it couldn't possibly reflect a true scenario. Other studies relating to this concept reached the same conclusions until a study by Feshbach and Singer (1971). Understanding that the environment of a laboratory may be a establishing factor in the behaviour of children, Feshbach and Singer decided to conduct their experiment in schools, an environment in which the children would feel comfortable and therefore more inclined to react in a way which is more accurate. Going into a boy's home the theorists spilt a class into two groups, and conducted a manipulated situation over a duration of six weeks. The boys were exposed to different types of television, one group were shown typically 'violent' shows, and the other observed generally neutral television. The results proved an opposite reaction to Bandura's study; the boys exposed to the violent television remained the same, while the other group had gotten considerably more aggressive during the experiment. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, in regard to emotional effects, there have been a number of studies relating to a slight change in attitude and emotional feelings expressed. A 1999 experiment for example looked at the emotional consequences of repeated exposure to extensive violence on film. Researchers assigned both male and female college students to view either extremely violent or non-violent feature films for four days in a row. On the fifth day, in an unrelated study, the participants were put in a position to help or hinder another person's chances of future employment. The results did indicate that both the men and the women who had been exposed to the film violence were more harmful to that person's job prospects, whether she had treated them well or had behaved in an insulting fashion. The study concluded that the repeated violence viewing provided an 'enduring hostile mental framework' that damaged interactions that were affectively neutral. This experiment records a specific change in attitude and emotional behaviour but does not provide any evidence of direct violent changes in that person, and therefore simply states that a short term change of state may be apparent through increasing larges amounts of exposure to violence on television. Again, studies are extremely contradictory and ambiguous when referring to the emotional effects of violent television and it is increasingly difficult to result in a clear conclusion when discussing the degree of effects that is has on the audience as a whole. ...read more.

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