RE: media violence

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue Apr 16 2002 - 09:00:46 BST

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    Subject: RE: media violence
    Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 09:00:46 +0100
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            Hi Steve,

            <Now, how many on this list dispute that ideas and advertising have
    > effect on people?>
            You have to distinguish between kinds of effects- emotional,
    psychological, attitudinal, behavioural. I would certainly dispute the
    behavioural impact of advertising on people. It's more complicated than
    monkey see, monkey do.

            <How many parents in the West dread the the annual Xmas advertising
    for kids
    > toys etc. Never watched a film that doesn't make you laugh or cry? The
    > saddest film I ever saw was Highlander.
    > So we can laugh at the tv, be sad, be disgusted (A porno film on while
    > your
    > kids are able to watch?), be happy, be transported to a fantasy dream
    > world?
    > All of these can affect your emotional state except violence on tv?>
            But the claim is that exposure to media violence makes you behave
    violently. I don't dispute the emotional impact of the media- we can all
    laugh, cry and indeed get angry at things we see in the media- the question
    is about behavioural influence, and the evidence for that is a lot weaker
    than many claim.

            <May not be science but as far as I am concerned the boot is on the
    > foot, unless of course we move to a system of drugs testing that assumes
    > the
    > drugs are safe until proven different. Any one want to volunteer on that
    > basis?>
            Well of course for many drugs we do exactly that- when people do bad
    things under the influence of alcohol (aren't most murder committed with
    alcohol involved?) we persistently blame the individual not the legal drug.
    If it's crack or some other illegal drug, then the drug is blamed. Besides,
    drugs have demonstrable detrimental physiological effects on people, apart
    from eye-strain I'm not sure there's similar evidence of physiological
    effects of watching TV.

            <Advertising does influence people, including me. If advertising
    > others the same way as me then so too should tv in general, and I consider
    > that I have built up an immunity to it to some extent.>
            It depends on what you mean by influence. I do think media
    literacy, the ability to recognise efforts at persuasion whether from
    advertisers, politicians or whoever, is key to undermining the simple
    effects model.

            <My thoughts on this are that tv and visual media do have some
    influence or
    > would people on the list explain why fans of star trek have constructed a
    > klingon language if the program had no influence. It is no good saying
    > they
    > are ill btw, as that is still influence.>
            Good example to show the complexity of the problem, as it's possible
    to view things like this as fans appropriating and using media content
    actively, able to take what they want from media texts to serve their
    purposes. This is not the same as the 'monkey see, monkey do' model of the
    pro-violence effects model.

            <I think the effects of the media are real, but the level of
    influence could
    > be too difficult to measure at the moment, particularly as the effects are
    > going to differ from person to person according to there life history.>
            Exactly- a bigger behavioural determinant is not what TV show
    someone watched that day, but who that individual is, what things have they
    experienced in their life etc. etc. This not only affects our behaviour,
    but also our interaction with media content, so it's quite a complex


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