Outline and Evaluate explanations of media effects on anti-social behaviour

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Outline and Evaluate explanations of Media effects on anti-social behaviour.

One explanation of media effects on anti-social behaviour is called observational learning, which is described to be where we observe and identify with onscreen hero models. We will start to imitate their behaviour depending on the consequences and since we see that heroes are successful we wish to repeat the success.  This is social learning theory since the reward of success increases the chances of imitating the behaviour. However, since heroes also use violence and can still gain success it means that observing an onscreen hero may lead an individual to repeat the violent behaviour and an explanation for anti-social behaviour.

In support of this explanation Bandura set up an investigation using a bobo doll and children aged 3 to 5 years old. Bandura wanted to see whether children observing behaviour will imitate them, so split the children into groups were they either watched adults beat the bobo doll or act gently towards it. In a variation to the original study the violent group also used an action word such as ‘pow’. The findings show that the children who watched the violent adult when allowed to interact with the bobo doll also showed higher levels of violence compared to the children who watched the gentle adult. Although the gentle group showed violent behaviour it was shown that anti social behaviour is imitated since the group that watched adults that shouted action words also shouted the action words. This all suggests that observational learning is an explanation for media effects on anti social behaviour.

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However, criticisms of the study can be found from the findings by Noble that suggest the study had demand characteristics. He goes on to quote a girl who said to her mother: “look mummy that’s the doll I have to hit”. Since the girl already knows what she has to do it undermines the finidngs as the children were already going to show violent so whether not they are imitating behaviour cannot be confirmed.

Another explanation of media effects on anti social behaviour is cognitive priming which is where we are said to be primed to respond aggressively after watching ...

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