Another pro social study was by Sprafkin, Liebert and Poulos in 1975. They studied 6 year olds. Some kids watched an episode of “Lassie”, which involved a heroic scene were a boy rescued a dog. The others saw an episode of the “Brady Bunch” (comedy)
After watching the Television the children were given an option. They could help some distressed puppies but they would have to stop playing the game that they were playing were you could win “a big prize”. The kids who had watched “Lassie” spent on average 90 seconds with the puppies, however the others spent under 50 seconds. This shows they had imitated specific acts they had seen.
One final pro social study is Baran 1979. Baran studied children between the ages of eight and ten years old. They watched an episode of “The Waltons” in which there was an emphasis on helping behaviour. It was discovered that these children, who had watched the Waltons, behaved in a more helpful way than other children who had not seen the programme. This could of course be down to characteristics of the children. However it does show that Television at least makes a short-term impression on influential children.
The effects that media has on anti social behaviour has been discovered through various experiments discussed below.
The first one, Ahmed 1998, is simply statistics, but they reveal shocking figures.
He discovered that before a child reaches the age of 18, they will have seen 32,000 murders, 40,000 attempted murders, and 250,000 acts of violence on television.
Another study, Leyens et al 1975, involved juvenile delinquents in Belgium. They were split into 4 dormitories. Two of them had high aggression and the other two had low aggression. Two of the dorms, one of each category, watched violence during the “movie week” at the school, and the other two dorms watched non-violent/aggressive TV.
Verbal aggression increased in the dorm of high aggression (who watched aggressive TV) but decreased in the dorm of low aggression. Physical aggression increased with all people who watched violent TV but it did not if they didn’t watch violent TV. Leyens did note that the effects of the programme were stronger shortly after the film. I think that time is an important factor when assessing the effects of media on both pro and anti social behaviour.
The last study is Eron 1982 he concluded that the amount of violent TV watched at a young age, predicted the level of later aggressiveness. There was also additional information that children who were aggressive when young tended to watch more violent TV in later years. However Eron measured “level of later aggressiveness” as the number of criminal convictions by the age of 30. Criminal convictions are not the same as aggressiveness. For example, is a conviction for stealing some videos, or fraud aggressive?
The effects of media on pro and anti social behaviour appear to be short lived. Research is varied but has not “dug deep” enough.