Television and Growing Up: The Impact of Televised Violence

Rapeutationists and DIRA zombies are preconditioned for violent behavior by cinema and video game violence.

Re: Television and Growing Up: The Impact of Televised Viole

Postby admin » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:02 am

Chapter 8: Current Knowledge and Questions for Future Research

In this brief closing chapter we shall try to do two things: draw together the evidence from laboratory studies of children's responses to filmed violence (reviewed in Chapter 6) with the evidence from field surveys of television viewing and aggressive behavior (reviewed in Chapter 7), and identify remaining gaps in knowledge which future research should address if we are to know with confidence what television viewing does to affect the development of children.

INDICATIONS FROM THE DATA

The best predictor of later aggressive tendencies in some studies is the existence of earlier aggressive tendencies, whose origins may lie in family and other environmental influences. Patterns of communication within the family and patterns of punishment of young children seem to relate, in ways that are as yet poorly understood, both to television viewing and to aggressive behavior. The possible role of mass media in very early acquisition of aggressive tendencies remains unknown. Future research should concentrate on the impact of media material on very young children.

While the data are by no means wholly consistent or conclusive, there is evidence that a modest relationship does exist between the viewing of violence and aggressive behavior. The correlational evidence from field studies is amenable to either of two interpretations: that the viewing of violence causes the aggressive behavior, or that both the viewing and the aggression are joint products of some other common source. Several findings reviewed in Chapter 7 can be cited to sustain the hypothesis that viewing of violent television has a causal relation to aggressive behavior, though neither individually nor collectively are the findings conclusive. First, we note that, among the correlations of violence viewing with aggressive behavior, two of the strongest ones, on the order of .30, are between earlier viewing patterns and later aggressiveness; both of these findings, however, involve methodological problems and could be explained by operation of a "third variable" related to preexisting conditions.

Second, the experimental studies reviewed in Chapter 6 provide some additional evidence bearing on this issue. Those studies contain indications that, under certain limited conditions, television viewing may lead to an increase in aggressive behavior. The evidence is clearest in highly controlled laboratory studies and considerably weaker in studies conducted under more natural conditions. Although some questions have been raised as to whether the behavior observed in the laboratory studies can be called "aggressive" in the consensual sense of the term, the studies point to two mechanisms by which children might be led from watching television to aggressive behavior: the mechanism of imitation, which is well established as part of the behavioral repertoire of children in general; and the mechanism of incitement, which may apply only to those children who are predisposed to be susceptible to this influence. There is some evidence that incitement may follow nonviolent as well as violent materials, and that this incitement may lead to either prosocial or aggressive behavior, as determined by the opportunities offered in the experiment. However, the fact that some children behave more aggressively in experiments after seeing violent films is well established.

The experimental evidence does not suffer from the ambiguities that characterize the correlational data with regard to third variables, since children in the experiments are assigned in ways that attempt to control such variables. However, the experimental findings are weak in various ways, and not wholly consistent from one study to another. Nevertheless, they provide some suggestive evidence in favor of the interpretation that viewing violence on television is conducive to an increase in aggressive behavior, although it must be emphasized that the causal sequence is very likely applicable only to some children who are predisposed in this direction.

Thus, there is a convergence of the fairly substantial experimental evidence for short-run causation of aggression among some children by viewing violence on the screen and the much less certain evidence from field studies that extensive violence viewing precedes some long-run manifestations of aggressive behavior. This convergence of the two types of evidence constitutes some preliminary indication of a causal relationship, but a good deal of research remains to be done before one can have confidence in these conclusions.

The field studies and the laboratory studies also converge on a number of further points.

First, there is evidence that any sequence by which viewing television violence causes aggressive behavior is most likely applicable only to some children who are predisposed in that direction. While imitative behavior is shown by most children in experiments on that mechanism of behavior, the mechanism of being incited to aggressive behavior by seeing violent films shows up in the behavior only of some children who were found in several experimental studies to be previously high in aggression. Likewise, the correlations found in the field studies between extensive viewing of violent material and acting in aggressive ways seem generally to depend on the behavior of a small proportion of the respondents, who were identified in some studies as previously high in aggression.

Second, there are suggestions in both sets of studies that how children respond to violent film material is affected by the context in which it is presented. Such elements as parental explanations, the favorable or unfavorable outcome of the violence, and whether it is seen as fantasy or reality may make a difference. Generalizations about all violent content are likely to be misleading.

Thus, the two sets of findings converge in three respects: a preliminary and tentative indication of a causal relation between viewing violence on television and aggressive behavior; an indication that any such causal relation operates only on some children (who are predisposed to be aggressive); and an indication that it operates only in some environmental contexts. Such tentative and limited conclusions are not very satisfying. They represent substantially more knowledge than we had two years ago, but they leave many questions unanswered. We turn now to review the questions that still need answering.

FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

The research reviewed here has uniformly been sharply focused on exposure to televised violence on the one hand, and on aggressive tendencies on the other. The narrowness of this focus is not surprising, but exposure to televised violence does not exist in a vacuum. The narrowness of concentration in these studies has severely hampered the interpretation of results. Some of the most important questions that this committee would like to answer are relegated to the realm of future research.

The research to date has whetted rather than satisfied our desire to increase our understanding of the complex psychological and social influences leading to antisocial tendencies. On the basis of the findings we have reviewed in this report, we recommend that future research concentrate in the following areas:

(1) Television in the context of other mass media. It is reasonable to expect that there is a positive relationship between an individual's use of television and his use of other mass media. As indicated earlier, when a stimulus exists in a constellation of highly related stimuli, any member of the constellation can, if studied in isolation, receive credit for the responses evoked by the entire constellation. So far, the attempts to isolate exposure to television have resulted in possible confounding of attribution.

(2) Mass media in the context of the total environment, particularly the home environment. If the analogy is not too far-fetched, we would recall that "high fever" is seldom if ever listed as a cause of death; yet if high fever were studied in the same isolated way that exposure to television has been studied, we might reach some startling conclusions. The importance of developmental history and social environmental context is emphasized in the testimony of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Dean Burch before the Subcommittee on Communications of the Senate Commerce Committee. On September 28, 1971, Chairman Burch posed the question: "To what extent does what the young viewer brings to the TV screen determine what he carries away-which is another way of asking where the television ranks among all the other aspects of a child's environment?"

Indeed, the studies reviewed in Chapter 6 suggest several specific directions for further exploring the relationship between television and aggression. First, identify the predispositional characteristics of those subgroups of children who display an increase in aggressive behavior in response to televised violence. Second, ascertain at what ages different reactions occur. Third, check on the moderating influence of labeling, contextual cues, and other factors under the control of television producers which may reduce the likelihood that predisposed children will react adversely to televised violence. Fourth, further investigate the possibility that content other than violent content may increase the likelihood of subsequent aggressiveness, the possibility that violent content may instigate other behavior besides aggressiveness, and the applicability of such findings to preschool children, youngsters, and adolescents. Finally, we must call attention once again to the gap in longitudinal research on the effects of television programs on children. This gap needs to be filled before we can learn something dependable about the long-term effects of repeated exposure to standard television fare on the personality development of the child.

(3) Functional and dysfunctional aggressive behavior. The lines which separate violence, hostility, aggression, and vigorous competition tend to become blurred in studies of the kind we have reviewed. Certainly, our society does not assign negative value to all these concepts; although traditional sex roles may be breaking down, there are few boys who are not taught to "stand up for your rights and defend yourself." There are those who argue that the realities of life require a certain set or readiness for aggressive behavior. The study of values, mores, and the realities of adaptation in this area would provide an important backdrop for our interest in media effects.

(4) Modeling and imitation of prosocial behavior. In our concentration on potential antisocial effects, we have seriously neglected any balancing effect that may occur. Perhaps this question ought to be more broadly stated as a cost-benefit problem, involving a balance between potential damage and potential benefit. In the current trend toward rejection of alleged overpermissiveness, are we risking a swing of the pendulum all the way to overprotection and overmanipulation? To state this position another way: we want children to climb trees, even though it would be easy to prove that tree climbing causes broken legs.

(5) Teaching and learning of values about violence. We have noted and deplored the paucity of research about the manner in which values with respect to many areas of behavior, including violence, are transmitted, and about the role played by television and other mass media in this communication. In the long run, societal values are shaped by a great variety of environmental forces and institutions; television programs may contribute a great deal or only a small amount to the process. It is conceivable that prolonged exposure of large populations to television violence may have very little immediate effect on the crime rate, but that such exposure may interact with other influences in the society to produce increased casualness about violence which permits citizens to regard with increased indifference actual suffering in their own or other societies, and to reflect that indifference in major political and economic decisions. Research may indicate that such fears are unfounded, but the research needs to be done.

(6) Symbolic functions of violent conflict in fiction. The experience of humanistic scholars suggests that, for adults at least, violent content in fiction is sometimes a vehicle for presenting to a general audience "messages" about important social and cultural issues. The authors and producers need not be fully aware that they are doing this. The Oedipus plays are perhaps the best-known example from the humanities. They have widely been held to be not merely "violence on stage," but also powerful statements in a symbolic medium about pervasive psychological or cultural conflicts. To suppose that plays about the tragic life of King Oedipus were significant to the early Greeks merely because people liked stories about violence would be simplistic. It would likewise be far-fetched to accuse the Greek theater of inciting Greek warriors to repeated assaults on Troy by exposing them to episodes of meaningless violence.

There is a considerable body of literature on the symbolic meanings of primitive (and not-so-primitive) myths and legends, which often are extremely violent. Anthropological literature supports the contention that, whatever else it may do, such folk literature communicates conventional social values and moral standards, and also provides folk interpretations of the pervasive conflicts and problem s of life in a given society at a particular point in its history. It would be desirable to look upon television drama and cartoon programs -- crude as they may be -- as folk literature in this sense. It would be important, in order more fully to understand the role of television in American life, to investigate the latent symbolic "messages" that even violent television plays and cartoons may convey over and above the content of individual scenes.

These are but a few examples of the kinds of research that have been discussed at meetings of the Advisory Committee; for the good reasons described earlier, little attention has been paid thus far to the contextual, developmental. and societal variables. It is our sincere hope that, as pertinent research continues, these more fundamental questions will be attacked.
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Re: Television and Growing Up: The Impact of Televised Viole

Postby admin » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:04 am

Chapter 9: The Unfinished Agenda

The committee has not had an opportunity to process this chapter in the way in which it has dealt with the foregoing sections. Therefore, since we have not been able to subject this material to the same procedures of detailed review and discussion we have applied to the other chapters. the material to follow represents, to a greater extent than the foregoing, personal opinions and points of view rather than a formal position of the committee. However, the committee endorses the spirit and intent of these concerns as representing a significant broadening of the perspective of this report, and feels that even though they have been incompletely worked over by the group they should be made available to the readers of this report.

FURTHER NOTES ON COMMITTEE PROCESS

When a committee as diversely composed as this one embarks upon a project as global as studying and reporting upon "the effects of television violence on children," it will scout a vast terrain. Not all of the material and ideas encountered will be thoroughly explored, and at the end of its tenure many important issues will remain which have been less than fully examined. While the reasons for this uncompleted business are many, some of the ideas and observations we generated but did not fully develop are of sufficient importance to justify reporting them even in their less than fully considered condition. Also, a few additional comments are in order about the nature and the dynamics of our work and the psychological processes which determine partially the outcome of this and any committee's work.

We have remarked several times in earlier sections of this report that there is a conspicuous paucity of information about the influence of television on the psychological growth and development of young children. One of the conclusions of our report notes the high probability that some factor (or factors) in early childhood experience substantially shapes the aggressive potentiality of most (or many) children, which may then be later influenced in any of several ways by the ongoing effects of violence viewing on television. This conclusion is no surprise to clinicians working in the psychotherapeutic professions; indeed, it would be an a priori hypothesis for most such persons. In the early and the ongoing discussions of this committee, this probability was frequently noted, and the strong recommendation to explore such a hypothesis was the subject of much committee discussion. Nevertheless, only a small proportion of our research focused on this crucial area. This fact is a reflection of the life history of this committee and the way in which it was organized and functioned.

When a committee like this is formed, it is usually under the aegis of some political body, such as Congress, which urgently desires an answer to some question far too complex for easy solution. Such committees are usually organized in haste, staffed under nearly emergency pressure, and sent upon their work mission with unrealistically short deadlines. Not surprisingly, the work product will usually be below expectations and less fruitful than a somewhat more deliberate course of action could have provided.

If asked to do so, the multidisciplinary experts who comprise the membership of this committee could have rendered a sophisticated set of "expert opinions" on the effects of television violence on children, with no additional research work whatever. While their views would have lacked the reassuring quality lent by "hard" scientific research data, they still would have warranted substantial weight. We described in Chapter 1 the course which our committee followed. What alternative strategy might have been followed? Let us suggest a proposal for future projects which might make them potentially more valuable.

After an advisory committee for the project is selected, sufficient time should be allowed for it to involve itself in committee process and to explore adequately the multiple views of committee members. This would engender reasonably clear images of the kind of work which they wished to carry out. At that point in time and not before, the kind of staff selection and hiring should be carried out which would facilitate implementation of all of the committee's goals.

After a committee's research is completed and the results are in, the second important logistical need is to assure the committee adequate time to subject that data fully to the "committee process." There should be sufficient time to enable the committee to thrash out thoroughly the complex and controversial material they have obtained through their research, in the context of the various professional viewpoints represented in the committee membership. Such deliberation inevitably generates useful ideas which reflect the varied insights and skills of the several disciplines. However, such a process is slow and very time-consuming. The necessary time for such a process has rarely been available to committees concerned with important public issues.

SOCIALIZATION AND REPRESSED BEHAVIOR: SOME RELATIONSHIPS TO TELEVISION

In order for human beings to live in social groups, group members must share their common interests, beliefs, and communication, and they must attempt to exclude from the group setting behavior which is disruptive to the group. Every social group makes value judgments about hostile behavior, sexual arousal, elimination of body wastes, disquieting excitement, and inadequate respect for group values, and when such things are defined as forbidden, they must be repressed and excluded from direct expression in the group by all who are mature enough to be socialized. Repressions of this kind constitute a part of the learning, conditioning, socializing, and acculturating processes experienced by every individual.

In sports, entertainment, and fine arts forms such as literature, drama, art, music, and dance, repressed group-disruptive impulses can be permitted expression within the group context in symbolic form. For this reason, among others, television viewers may be strongly attracted to content which portrays conflict and violence. The relationships between television viewers' interests and their repressed behavior have I received very little attention in this committee's deliberations or in any I other setting.

As we have noted in Chapter 4, persons making decisions about television program content, like all other people, may be largely unconscious of some psychological pressures, inside or outside their minds, which influence their behavior by inhibiting or reinforcing one pattern of judgment or another. By selection of content, by omission of content, or by minor distortion, all taking place on an unconscious basis, a news reporter can record what is in fact a "faithful" record of what he himself sees and hears, even though he may be much in error. The reporter's preexisting set programs his perception so that, literally, he tends to comprehend only that which fits what is already in his mind. Sensitive viewers may respond aggressively to underlying biases and prejudiced opinions which they might perceive in the content, even when the reo porter is completely unaware of their existence.

Since the media compete with one another for the attention and involvement of the audience, they must choose emotionally involving con tent. The more emotion and conflict connected with an issue, the more newsworthy that issue is, and by the same token the more are false beliefs apt to be evoked in relation to it. Unconscious identification and projection mechanisms from early childhood, as well as many vaguely conscious attitudes and interests which impute "good" and "right" to one's own views and "evil" and "wrong" to outsiders, may be important determinants of viewer responses to television content. It is quite possible that television can arouse unconscious responses in adults that can facilitate violent behavior much later in time. This possibility should be explored by appropriate research methods, including longitudinal case studies with psychoanalytic methodology.

ON OUR STEREOTYPES OF WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ADULT OR A CHILD

We generally discuss children and adults as if they functioned through simple, one-tracked systems, and fail to perceive mature reactions in children and immature reactions in adults. We do not often talk of "normal childishness" -- that is, the child-parts of each person which remain throughout life, and which may come into dominance under certain circumstances every day. Television producers are generally aware of this emotional mix and cater to all of its parts in their competitive programming. Likely as not, if a person is deeply enjoying a program, some child-part of himself is much engaged emotionally, even while a more "mature" part, critical of that indulgence, may be encouraging attention to "more appropriate" interests and concerns. Viewed from this perspective, the committee might have included adults in its charge by formulating the question: What is the effect of televised violence upon the child-part of adult viewers? In this connection, both the Cantor and the Baldwin and Lewis papers note that sometimes producers respond to network pressures and networks give in to audience wishes, regardless of other judgmental considerations.

TELEVISION IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR NATIONAL ETHICS

In our quest for more ideal social structures, we have developed in the United States a basic philosophy and many laws which observe, honor, and seek to protect certain basic rights defined for all human beings. However, in the interpretation, administration, and living out of these philosophies and laws, we have employed sociopolitical processes, which regularly favor and idealize some people while devaluing and neglecting others. Despite the aspirations for a more human society held by some of the founders of this country, the institution of slavery, racism, various forms of classism, and discrimination based upon sex also emerged.

The idealization of some persons and the denigration of others characterized this process. Even inequitable distribution of resources and power may be more palatable if each person's worth as a human being is acknowledged as equal to that of any other person. Affection and support for the social order, and trust and belief in it, are widespread and strong when this equal worth is reflected (1) in mutuality of consideration, (2) in equality of opportunity for health and liberty (as long as it does not infringe upon the health and liberty of others), and (3) in the equal application of laws to all individuals and groups. These desiderata have been sought after and partially achieved under various kinds of governments and in differently structured social orders from time to time, but never in any lasting way.

In the normal behavior of children with their parents, we can observe an example of this occurrence. Between the ages of three and seven, many children transiently select one parent as the preferred one with whom they are primarily affectionate, while the other parent may be renounced and related to in a competitive or aggressive way. The difference in the nature of the attachment does not reduce the importance or worth of either parent to these children, although there may be a clear preference to be with one parent rather than the other. Moreover, the children identify with, empathize with, and have some fondness for the parent toward whom there is a more competitive feeling. Although feelings tend to be split between the two parents and a preference developed. usually there is no dehumanization, and the object of aggression retains importance as a human being of equal worth and importance.

When people form groups and relate to one another as representatives of groups, affectionate feelings are freely directed toward members of one's own group, while aggressive feelings are easily diverted toward outsiders. However, when this happens, humanization of one's own group members and dehumanization of the outsiders is a frequent concomitant. Such dehumanization offers rationalization potential and also reduces associated guilt. This facilitates the exploitation, neglect, violence, or other aggressive behavior which may then be directed toward those outsiders. Any perception of these exploited victims as humans with whom we can identify, empathize, or feel fondness, increases our personal discomfort and reduces our freedom to exploit or do violence against them. These psychological factors are extremely relevant to televised violence. since whenever victims are devalued or dehumanized, violence toward them may become more acceptable or even endorsed.

Antisocial acts may occur among human beings from any group and from any walk of life. and within the context of tragedy and conflict they always do occur. Since special circumstances in the lives of some individuals or groups can reinforce antisocial behavior, it becomes important to identify and change those circumstances if we wish to alter that kind of behavior. Whether presenting drama or news, it would therefore seem important for television decision-makers to convey, insofar as possible, the human contexts and conflict-filled human circumstances to engender, rather than discourage, humanitarian responses to the plight or behavior of other human beings.

Television should seek to avoid presenting any human beings as animal- like, without conscience, or without concern for the persons they care for or who care for them. since to do so endorses and facilitates the dehumanization and destruction of the victims of that treatment. Overt or subtle cues about the victims' characteristics may reinforce in the viewer's mind images which he identifies and dislikes in himself. He then represses, renounces, and imposes them upon some dehumanized outsider. Insofar as television presents victims with which viewers cannot identify and empathize, it may encourage viewers to accept and endorse violence as a simplistic solution to the conflict portrayed. Insofar as television more realistically presents both human beings and human conflicts in their complex human form rather than in simplistic dehumanized form, it could well offer opportunity for more full experience as a human being. While there might be less pleasure and more conflict. more humanity would be encouraged in viewers.

This view is not unique. In fact, it parallels a view expressed in the report of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence on "Violence in Television Entertainment Programs." The Commission noted that the code of the National Association of Broadcasters prohibits the presentation of alarming and offensive material. including emphasis upon the pain, helplessness. despair, and uncomfortable conflicts in persons involved in violent interactions. Portraying the humanity of perpetrators and of victims in a manner which permits viewers to identify with and vicariously live through their experience is not often done. The Commission points out that part of this "sanitizing" process results in only rare portrayal of violent interactions between intimates, although this type of violence is actually quite common in real life. The hurts delivered to one's loved ones are seldom portrayed, while conflict between representatives of different groups is emphasized. The Commission report contained a speculation that if viewers were exposed to the horror and painful results of violence, it might sensitize them to their own potential for harming or being harmed.

A MORE HUMAN DEFINITION OF VIOLENCE

In order to define violence as realistically, as ethically, and with as much psychological accuracy as possible, the definition should be broadened to include the experience of its victims. Everyone who considers humanitarian values important should have concern about the experience of all persons who are physically or psychologically victimized or destroyed unnecessarily.

When deaths occur from air, water, or food pollution, or from unsafe drugs which have been authorized, or from defective mechanical equipment, the violent annihilation of human beings has been caused by the acts of other human beings. Also, the operation of a vehicle or factory, or the casting of a vote in Congress, or the signing of an executive order have only rarely been defined as violence, when such acts have had violent effects on a few or a multitude of persons.

The physical and psychological violence experienced under the circumstances just described may go unrecognized when violence is defined only in terms of the physical acts of perpetrators who are accountable. In situations where responsibility and accountability are unclear. it is essential to define violence in terms of the victims' experience if we are not to overlook or neglect the extensive misery experienced through such acts. When a society legislates and institutionalizes the definition of violence in terms of victims, then all violent experience becomes a matter of concern. When the definition reflects only accountable destructive behavior, much, if not most, violent experience may not even be acknowledged.

When accountability is divided among many people, it is easy for each individual person to avoid any sense of responsibility. When an action is taken by an organization, a company, or a bureaucracy, decision-making and action-taking may be so well rationalized and divided between many levels, departments, or individuals, in a maze of interlocking complexities, that individual responsibility and accountability are in some respects impossible to assign. Persons in a large organization may have no conscious awareness of its destructive effects nor of their own personal contributions to them. The mass violence and genocide administered to six million European Jews could only have been accomplished through such an institutional arrangement, with its own obscure individual accountability. Similarly, mass violence and slavery were imposed upon uncounted millions of Negroes in a nation where freedom and equality were valued. Such authorized and legitimized aggression is usually not even seen as violence, and sometimes efforts are made to define the perpetrators as intelligent people of good will who were merely doing their jobs according to their assignments under the laws and codes of their day.

The ease with which a definition can be used unwittingly to justify, to rationalize, or to obscure from our awareness vast amounts of violent experience is apparent. It seems very possible that television has great potential as a social force to modify progressively society's definition and awareness of violence. Clearly, this would necessitate a marked change in current practice, where it largely entertains and inform s. When violent real-life experiences are televised, the audience is confronted with uncomfortable visual and auditory stimuli which must be interpreted and dealt with in some manner which can ultimately reduce discomfort. For that reason, the violence is often rationalized, justified, or denied by the viewer, if perpetrated by people with whom he identifies. Violence arouses sadness, indignation, rage, and urges to retaliate or reform when it victimizes people with whom we identify. If it is overly painful, we may turn it off or campaign against the televised content which disturbs our complacency. Clearly, some of the violent content televised in newscasts during the 1960s evoked complicated responses of these kinds in viewers. Just as politicians believe in the value of television, so persons who wished to direct attention to some matter about which they were gravely concerned found that televised demonstrations and confrontations helped to produce the interest and excitement needed to attract attention. This attention and response on the part of persons sympathetic to the cause, as well as those antagonistic to the cause, enlarged the arena of confrontation, often to the point of creating a public issue. Television became one of the principal media, along with radio and newspapers, through which confrontations on issues could be portrayed in a manner which aroused widespread concern and interest.

It is a matter of record that the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the early 1960s was based upon mutual love, respect, and consideration, equality of opportunity and correction of injustice in line with our most cherished national and religious ethics. Large numbers of blacks and whites sympathized with and supported this movement until 1965-66. Also at that time, many whites, who were stirred from their indifference and threatened as the integration movement gathered impetus, disrupted demonstrations and precipitated violent confrontations. The strength and influence of this "White Backlash" countermovement became one of the factors which partially neutralized the movement led by Dr. King, even as it mobilized others to join him. The size and intensity of confrontations, and the frequency with which violence occurred during them, converted the movement from one of hope into one of pain, failure, and despair. The integration movement progressively appeared' to many as a nonviable political approach to the problems of black Americans in the face of white indifference on the one hand and "White Backlash" on the other. Such frustration and despair, fused with mounting impatience, fed into a countermovement of blacks referred to as the "Black Power Movement." Black ethnic group formation, with emphasis upon development of group integrity and strength to deal with the white strength opposing them, began to compete with integration as a goal. This polarization effect became an important factor in the ongoing struggle for integration, as well as the continued pressure for segregation. The swift passage of information about this swirl of conflicted emotions and ideologies can surely be attributed in large part to the communication efficiency of the television medium.

The development by blacks of forceful responses as a group when they perceived unjust force being used against a black person led to remarkably violent interactions between large numbers of whites and blacks in 1966-68. These violent interactions, together with the violence of the war in Vietnam and a series of assassinations of leaders with integrative orientations, emphasized with clarity that the dynamics of power between polarized groups led only to more violence. Since 1968, integrative activity has been undertaken with renewed effort because further polarization seemed nonviable. Conflict between polarized groups has been contained and undermined by the invocation and organization of greater power to manage confrontations and other polarized situations. The dynamics and ethics of power continue to be operative between individuals and groups with conflicting interests, but they are modulated by stronger forces which manage conflict in our society. Conflicts between management and labor, men and women, whites and red people, English-speaking and Spanish-speaking people, educators and students, and the rich and the poor have been analogous to those between whites and blacks in their dynamics and central issues.

Television has been unparalleled as an instrument of mass communication in its capability for engaging the interests, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior both of the participants in telecasting and of viewers. The dynamic interplay of the forces involved in each important social issue can be readily observed in television news, dramatic, and entertainment content. Moreover, since television is perceived as an instrument with potentially powerful impact upon the outcome of social, political, and economic issues, it has become an instrument which individuals and groups seek to influence and manipulate in their own interests.

The excitement and entertainment potential of televised violence has engaged the attention of both viewers and programmers. This reality has become a "cause" for many, and has stimulated general concern. On the other hand, the discomfort of audiences and television programmers with the plight of victims and with injustice constitutes another reality that leaves us with a problem. It seem s very possible that television could stimulate a more general awareness of the plight of many victims whose needs now go unattended. Moreover, if an orderly means were found for bringing attention to these victims, so that they might receive appropriate consideration and concerned response, it might be unnecessary for them to rely upon social conflict in order to get attention. Also, it should not be forgotten that when conflict is used to gain attention and interest, the underlying cause may go unattended as social concern is shifted and focused on management of the disruption. Since access to media also follows the dynamics of power and influence, it follows that by comparison most victims in society are relatively without power and without influence. How, then, can victims gain access to television and other media so that their plight may receive the attention and appropriate human concern which is their due?

Television entertainment may contribute to insensitivity. In such programs the primary victims seldom exhibit the repulsive physical consequences of violence, and the effects of such violence on secondary victims such as bereaved family members are rarely shown. Entertainment program content which creates sympathy for the victim is thus relatively rare, and indeed such content might well be avoided by many people in the audience. Who is comfortable empathizing with and sharing the suffering of the victim? Victims have usually been portrayed in a manner which does not cause the kind of discomfort which would alienate viewers, and these portrayals may therefore directly or indirectly produce comfort and pleasure for the audience. This situation poses a very difficult set of problems.

Many changes in attitudes toward economic and political, as well as social welfare and health, issues might well be set in motion if violence is defined to include victims. Inevitably it would lead toward better recognition and better control of the violence some groups do, and of the violence some organizations and bureaucracies commit. It is likely that many institutions and bureaucracies, and individuals with vested interests in them, would resist invocation of such a broadly humanitarian definition of violence. In this regard, television has the potentiality to provide remarkable psychological assistance to our society and its institutions as. and if. they seek greater understanding and greater response to the plight of victims. This psychological preparation might help to give the time and the impetus for psychological, emotional, and behavioral changes in responsible officials and personnel of our institutions.

It is well known that in some cultures and under some circumstances those who feel victimized may come to identify with aggressors and later become aggressors themselves. A great deal of the individual and collective violence which has been studied reveals this pattern. Although this fact can easily be observed, it is less well known that under the circumstances when identification with the aggressor can occur, it only occurs after the victims fail in their repeated attempts to have the aggressors identify with them. Moreover, whenever aggressors can be helped to identify with victims, the aggression ceases. When aggressors continually fail to identify with victims, power is required to improve the victims' lots. Such dynamics underlie the various power movements which periodically emerge in the victimized groups of society. Power tactics might become unnecessary if broadscale identification with victims could be encouraged and reinforced, and television might be an important tool in such a movement. Thus, television might be able to move people to be "more human" on a plane where identification with victims would occur as readily as with aggressors and where the development of alliances would reduce divisiveness and conflict. Obviously, the utilization of television for this purpose involves some complex policy decisions by all of society. Psychological sacrifice would be involved if audiences were carried along and obliged to identify with and suffer along with victims, seeing them as they are in real life. If violence were more realistically portrayed on television, it would not be so easy to watch, to accept, or to enjoy, and even less easy to participate in vicariously. It would even press the viewer in the direction of accepting his own violent and "evil" self. With this in mind, the television industry's code could be modified so that portrayal of the humanity of all victims would be encouraged. It is also important to portray and demonstrate persistently the humanity of all persons who play some role in the victims' experience. In this way viewers may identify victimizing tendencies within themselves instead of denying them and imputing them to less thoughtful, less considerate, less humane persons only. More realistic, higher-quality drama could emerge which might be more emotionally involving to individuals in the audience. Great drama, after all, involves the audience in the roles of all characters and limits the degree to which one may be accepted while another is rejected. Were changes in these directions to be introduced, the effects could be profound. For understanding of them, ongoing evaluative research programs would be needed.

Economic or political interests, and audience interests, are generally motivated to influence programming because of their strong profit and pleasure-seeking incentives respectively. We hope that more people in the community will develop an active concern with television and its educational potential so that society can perhaps speed up its snail-paced approach to the multitude of social problems involving human beings and their value systems. Though the television industry has made some contribution in this direction, there is very much more they might do. When this committee focused its efforts on the effects of televised violence upon children, we restricted ourselves to just a tiny portion of the field of television and social behavior. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare would do well to consider increased involvement in this field, not just in relation to the possibly harmful effects of television, but also to develop the experience and professional relationships needed to consider and stimulate television's health-promoting possibilities.
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Re: Television and Growing Up: The Impact of Televised Viole

Postby admin » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:07 am

References

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Re: Television and Growing Up: The Impact of Televised Viole

Postby admin » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:11 am

Appendix A: Initial Operations, June-October 1969

On June 3, 1969, HEW Secretary Robert H. Finch announced the appointment of the Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior. The committee's mission: to study the effects of television on social behavior, with its focus on the effects of televised violence on the behavior, attitudes, development, and mental health of children; the study is to be confined to scientific findings and the committee will make no policy recommendations.

Secretary Finch noted that if the study reveals there is an adverse connection between violence and television and mental health of children, it is likely that corrective action will be taken by the broadcast industry on a voluntary basis.

The original framework for the study had been laid down by Surgeon General William Stewart in his testimony, on March 12, 1969, before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications. Dr. Stewart said that there is little doubt that television has an impact on the viewing public. He pointed out that the average American child, by age 16, has spent more hours in front of a television set than in a classroom.

The Surgeon General stated that the task "cannot be accomplished by narrow Iy focused studies, since the violence a child sees on television is randomly interwoven into the total skein of television fare . . . . it is essential to recognize that, with such a complex phenomenon, all the answers will not be forthcoming within the next few weeks or the next few months. The panel's findings and recommendations should be an important step in increasing our understanding of our social environment and of ourselves. "

Thus the committee's work is concerned with producing new knowledge and will not restrict itself to reexamining existing information. A series of new research projects is now being developed which will increase our understanding of the effects of mass media and to answer the Surgeon General's question, "What kind of impact and how does it influence behavior?"

Early inquiries

Early research of televised programming consisted mainly of limited studies and recorded testimony from scientists, educators, and irate parents.

The first public examination was taken in the early 1950s when the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, under a Ford Foundation grant, conducted monitoring surveys in four large cities. [1] The surveys found that in each of the four cities, drama accounted for about one-fourth of the total programming time; drama of crime and horror comprised approximately ten percent of all programming time. This percentage jumped when westerns were included in this category.

The issue of the effect of television violence on human behavior was brought up before the Congress of the United States in 1954 by the late Senator Estes Kefauver, who headed the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency. That committee launched hearings in response to mounting concern of parents and educators over the amount of time devoted to shows containing crime, brutality, sadism, and sex. Based on the testimony, the committee issued a report indicating that it felt television violence could be potentially harmful to young viewers. [2]

Representatives of television networks acknowledged the large amount of televised violence and promised to change the content, but subsequent surveys by the Senate subcommittee, in 1961 and 1964, revealed that the degree of violence in prime time programming had substantially increased. After this third survey in 1964, the overriding conclusion of the subcommittee was that "the extent to which violence and related activities are depicted on television today has not changed substantially from what it was in 1961 and remains greater than it was a decade ago. Further, violence and other antisocial behaviors are, to an overwhelming degree, televised during time periods in which the children's audience is a large one."

In 1964, Senator Thomas Dodd held hearings to review what had happened in the past three years, and he reported: "Not only did we fail to see an appreciable reduction of violence in new shows, but we also found that the most violent shows of the 1961-62 season have been syndicated and are now being reshown on independent networks and stations. "

The Dodd committee reported that a relationship has been established between televised crime and violence and antisocial attitudes and behavior among juvenile viewers. [3] The report added: "And we are greatly impressed by television's achievements in the public areas and by its potential for good in both the education and entertainment fields. Yet it seems clear that television has been functioning as what an informed critic has termed 'a school for violence'. "

On June 10, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson charged his newly created National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence with answering the question, "Are the seeds of violence nurtured through the public's airways . . . that reach the family and our young?"

In addition to holding hearings and reviewing existing research, the Commission undertook a content analysis of a week of entertainment television programming in 1967 and a comparable week in 1968, and conducted a survey of the public's actual experience with violence and its norms for violence.

On September 23, 1969, the Commission issued a statement in which it concluded that violence on television encourages real violence, especially among the children of poor, disorganized families. The Commission recommended: a reduction in programs containing violence; elimination of violence from children's cartoon programs; adoption of the British practice of scheduling programs containing significant violence only after 9 p. m. ; permanent Federal financing for the Public Broadcast Corporation; and intensified research by the networks into the impact of television. [4] The Commission's report provides a valuable synthesis of existing information, adding a new content analysis of television programming and also an analysis of attitudes of television violence. Recognizing the need for new research, the National Commission called for long-term studies and cited the importance of evaluating televised violence over a protracted period.

Scientific advisory committee formed

Despite the repeated examination of televised violence in the past decade and a half, no effective or integrated program of research was initiated. And no significant financial support had been available to stimulate new research in this one area, much less in the general area of television and social behavior.

Some areas of social behavior as related to television viewing will always be in doubt. No answers stand unchallenged in our rapidly changing society. It has become obvious that a comprehensive program to stimulate research in this area is long overdue. The National Commission's recommendation for further study is another indication that the pervasive medium of television, which is so much a part of our environment, must become the object of a more scientific analysis if we are to understand its impact and use it constructively.

In March 1969, Senator John O. Pastore, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, wrote to Secretary Finch, requesting that the Secretary direct the Surgeon General to appoint a committee "to devise techniques and to conduct a study under his (the Surgeon General's) supervision using those techniques which will establish scientifically insofar as possible what harmful effects, if any, these programs have on children.

President Richard Nixon, in a letter to Senator Pastore, affirmed his support for the proposed study.

The Surgeon General said that if television can have a negative effect on children, it can also be a positive stimulus. "We must learn more about how to promote this latter capability, " he said, "while we learn to avoid the hazards of the former. "

The National Institute of Mental Health was charged with the responsibility for the functions of the committee. On June 3, 12 distinguished scientists were appointed to the Advisory Committee. The Surgeon General was named Chairman; Eli A. Rubinstein, Ph. D. , Assistant Director for Extramural Programs and Behavioral Sciences, NIMH, Vice-Chairman; and Richard A. Moore, Special Consultant to the Secretary, Secretary Finch's liaison with the Committee.

On June 16-17, ten days after its formation, the Scientific Advisory Committee held its first formal meeting. The general task and "mode of operation were defined as follows: (1) The Committee will serve in a scientific advisory role to the Surgeon General and to the research, to be developed by the National Institute of Mental Health when the full-time staff has been organized. (2) NIMH will serve as the central resource for the work and will be the referral point for inquiries and responses about the Committee's work. (3) The next step will be the development of research projects to obtain new knowledge about television's effects on social behavior. Approximately $1, 000, 000 has been earmarked for actual research initiated by or recommended by this committee. (4) The Advisory Committee recommended that recent relevant activities such as the work of the Mass Media Task Force of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence be carefully examined to ensure maximum use of any recent findings in the initiation of research studies. (5) Because the present state of research in television and social behavior is the work of individual investigators and is largely uncoordinated, the Advisory Committee recommended that the NIMH National Clearinghouse for Mental Health Information provide a comprehensive and continuing source of information about research on television and social behavior. (6) The committee agreed that it would be inappropriate to take a narrow view of the problem of television and social behavior. It is therefore recomended that the research efforts be undertaken in two phases: a short-term objective of a year or two to try to obtain better immediate answers, and a long-term objective to develop a continuing comprehensive examination of the process of child development which is influenced by the impact of television on social behavior. (7) No firm completion date for the study was set.

During July, August, and September of 1969 a series of activities was initiated to launch a comprehensive program of research. A staff of professional and technical personnel was employed to serve as the program's staff secretariat. Invitations were extended to 50 research organizations and to about 100 key research scientists to participate in the program. This was done through extensive personal and telephone contact with scientists in relevant fields of research and by direct letters of inquiry to selected research centers. In addition, an announcement was placed in the Commerce Business Daily inviting inquiry about the program from qualified research organizations.

The Scientific Advisory Committee held its second meeting on September 24-25 to discuss an overall research plan and to consider a variety of research proposals in various stages of development.

Additional full committee meetings will be held periodically. At the same time, members are also individually participating in those aspects of the program development related to their specific areas of competence.

Related projects are studied

The National Clearinghouse for Mental Health Information, NIMH, is providing the committee with information on relevant studies now being conducted by various research groups. Being compiled is a comprehensive bibliography of all published research which has some bearing in this area. A listing of about 80Q broadly relevant citations is now in development. The most pertinent of these will be made into an annotated bibliography.

Some currently active research projects funded by Federal program s relate to our goals. One researcher, over the past seven years, has investigated the factors that affect the imitation of aggressive behavior in children. Specifically, he has investigated the likelihood that children will display aggressive behavior after seeing a film which shows adults engaged in various kinds of aggressive action.

Another researcher has proposed a new line of research that attempts to map the ecology of aggressive behavior in order to understand not only the characteristics of the aggressor but also the "target" of the aggression. The study's hypothesis is that some individuals and events are more likely than others to stimulate aggressive behavior.

Another major project analyzes the forms of aggressive behavior, which are described as anger, hostility, and overt aggression. The object is to investigate ways in which people respond to provocation. Other researchers have studied the role of imitation or vicarious learning in social development.

A different line of research is investigating the factors in social development that relate to aggressive acting-out in various population subgroups. It is related to the finding that in clinically isolated delinquents and impulsive persons one's self-concept is a major influence on the likelihood of aggressive behavior.

Other research deals with the process of communication in the family setting as it related to antisocial behavior in early childhood; analyses of the problem of imitation; and the effects of mass media on altruistic behavior, family interaction, and attitude change.

Summary of proposed research

Through an intensive effort at stimulating new research, and as a result of discussions with various scientists. a number of projects are under way and others are now under consideration. Most of these projects are being developed by leading researchers at some of the major universities in the country.

Research projects that have been initiated and other research proposals that are being considered bear on a number of interrelated issues. Central among these explorations is an effort to obtain a much better understanding of television viewing behavior and thereby establish a meaningful base for evaluating effects. One proposal attempts to assess the types of television fare viewed by adolescents but also relating these viewing patterns to such factors as parent-child communication, disciplinary practice, attitudinal similarity, and a host of demographic variables.

Along a somewhat different line of analysis, there is an attempt to study the viewing behavior of young children within the family setting. In this instance, however. the emphasis is not on the content, but rather on the process of viewing. The proposed study attempts to map the child's behavior during the period of actual viewing, with specific reference to parent-child and peer interaction and attentional variables. The study also will include comparisons between black-white and varying socioeconomic levels.

Overlaying these projects, a procedure is being developed to assess attitudes about television. The main thrust of this survey will attempt to relate program preferences and viewing patterns with a wide range of variables such as experience with aggressive activities, personal value orientation and moral development, and attitudes about aggression. The proposed survey will sample from a specified population with a wide age range and varying socioeconomic and ethnic groups.

One researcher, in response to criticism s of previous laboratory investigations, has proposed a series of interrelated experiments designed to more directly assess the effects of televised violence. This study would use stimulus materials which reflect standard television programming and will measure behaviors which directly relate to the child's daily experiences.

Much of the proposed research activity is specifically directed at children. One major project being considered begins with the assumption that the usual procedures for studying the effects of television violence may not be easily generalizable to the real world of children. The researchers suggest that the observation of televised violence does not influence the child to act out this particular scene but that, rather, such observation operates to modify the child's attitudes toward violence. They propose to study this hypothesis with a developmental approach to gain an understanding about levels of moral development and attitudes about the acceptability of violent behavior.

While others are concerned with the effects of media use, one researcher will attempt to investigate young children's patterns of media use per se, as they relate to the children's personal style, parent and peer group conflicts, and antisocial aggression.

Several researchers have designed investigations of the content of standard television fare with particular emphasis on aggressive material. One investigator has addressed himself to an analysis of physical violence in the mass media, while in another approach we will be more concerned with manifestations of verbal aggression. Still another proposal concentrates on racial and social class differences in the perception of televised violence.

The committee and the staff are examining the possibility of initiating an extensive field study in which differing television programming would be offered for two or more hours a day for a number of months to two matched audiences of children at home. This could be done through CATV. While this would be an unusual opportunity for measuring effects, there are a number of unsolved research problems which need to be considered before such a study can begin.

The framing of the total research program is complicated. Staff members are making a special effort to develop as much interrelationship and integration of the individual studies as possible. Where appropriate, common measuring instruments will be used. In certain instances the same stimulus material will be used. It also is anticipated that the various investigators collaborating with the total research program will be called in from time to time to discuss mutual problems.

No final completion date has been established for the entire effort. Much depends on the initial progress in the studies now being organized. It seems clear even at this early date that an integrated research program has been initiated. The study of television's effects on social behavior is not easily approached solely by examination in a laboratory setting. Nor can any single project -- whether an analysis of content, examination of attitudes, or even a careful exploration of viewing behavior -- provide definitive answers. What seems necessary is a comprehensive research effort which can effectively facilitate the exploration of the broad question of the relationship between television and social behavior.

The Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory Committee, therefore, is exploring many phases of the process of transmitting and receiving televised communications: in the clinical laboratory and the natural setting, on both the child and his milieu, both physical and verbal violence, televised violence in both real and fantasy form, and recognizing positive and negative elements in this powerful form of mass communication.

October 30, 1969

Appendix B: Television and Social Behavior Program

Reports and Papers

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Appendix C: Experiments on Children's Imitation of Aggressive Behavior

Bandura, A. , and Huston, A. C. Identification as a process of incidental acquisition of imitative responses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1(6): 589-595, 1965.

Bandura, A. , Grusec, J. E. , and Menlove, F. L. Observational learning as a function of symbolization and incentive set. Child Development, 37: 499-506, 1966.

Bandura, A. , and Huston, A. C. Identification as a process of incidental learning. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63: 311-318, 1961.

Bandura, A. , Ross, D. , and Ross, S. A. Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63: 575-582, 1961.

Bandura, A. , Ross, D. , and Ross, S. A. Imitation of film-mediated aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 66: 3-11, 1963.

Bandura, A. , Ross, D. , and Ross, S. A. A comparative test of the status envy, social power, and secondary reinforcement theories of identification learning. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67: 527534, 1963.

Bandura, A. , Ross, D. , and Ross, S. A. Vicarious reinforcement and imitative learning. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67: 601-607, 1963.

Christy, P. R. , Gelfand, D. M. , and Hartmann, D. P. Effects of competition- induced frustration on two classes of modeled behavior. Developmental Psychology, 1971, in press.

Hanratty, M. A., Liebert, R. M. , Morris, L. W. , and Fernandez, L. E. Imitation of film-mediated aggression against live and inanimate victims. Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, 457458, 1969.

Hicks. D. J. Imitation and retention of film-mediated aggressive peer and adult models. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2: 97100. 1965.

Hicks. DJ. Effects of co-observer's sanctions and adult presence on imitative aggression. Child Development. 39: 303-309. 1968.

Kniveton. B. H . . and Stephenson. G. M. The effect of pre-experience on imitation of an aggressive film model. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 9: 31-36. 1970.

Kuhn. D. Z. • Madsen, C. H. . Jr. . and Becker. W. C. Effects of exposure to an aggressive model and "frustration" on children's aggressive behavior. Child Development, 38: 739-745, 1967.

Madsen. c. . Jr. Nurturance and modeling in preschoolers. Child Development, 39: 221-236, 1968.

Martin. M. F. , Gelfand. D. M. , and Hartmann, D. P. Effects of adult and peer observers on children's responses to an aggressive model. Developmental Psychology. 1971. in press.

Nelson. J. D. , Gelfand. D. M. . and Hartmann. D. P. Children's aggression following competition and exposure to an aggressive model. Child Development, 40: 1085-1097. 1969.

Rosekrans, M. A., and Hartup. W. W. Imitative influences of consistent and inconsistent response consequences to a model on aggressive behavior in children. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 7: 429-434. 1967.

Walters. R. H. , and Willows, D. C. Imitative behavior of disturbed and nondisturbed children following exposure to aggressive and nonaggressive models. Child Development. 39: 79-89. 1968.

Appendix D: Experiments on Disinhibition of Aggressive Behavior

CHILDREN

Albert, Robert S. The role of the mass media and the effect of aggressive film content upon children's aggressive responses and identification choices. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 55: 221-285, 1957.

Emery, F. E. Psychological effects of the western film: a study in television viewing. II. The experimental study. Human Relations, 12: 215-232. 1959.

Feshbach, Seymour, and Singer, Robert D. Television and aggression: An experimental field study. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1971.

Foulkes, David, and Rechtschaffen. Allan. Pre sleep determinants of dream content: effects of two films. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 19(3): 983-1005, 1964.

Goldstein. Naomi Slutsky. The effect of animated cartoons on hostility in children. New York University, 1956. Dissertation Abstracts, 17: 1125. 1957.

Hartman, Donald P. Influence of symbolically modeled instrumental aggression and pain cues on aggressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 11(3): 280-288, 1969.

Kuhn, Deanna Zipse, Madsen, Charles H. , Jr. , and Becher, Wesley C. Effects of exposure to an aggressive model and "frustration" on children's aggressive behavior. Child Development, 38(3): 739-745, 1967.

Larder, Diane L. Effects of aggressive story content on non-verbal play behavior. Psychological Reports, 11: 14, 1962.

Lovaas, O. Ivar. Effect of exposure to symbolic aggression on aggressive behavior. Child Development, 32: 37-44, 1961.

Maccoby, Eleanor E. , Levin, Harry, and Selya, Bruce M. The effects of emotional arousal on the retention of aggressive and nonaggressive movie content. American Psychologist, 10(8): 359, 1955.

Maccoby, Eleanor E. , Levin, Harry, and Selya, Bruce M. The effects of emotional arousal on the retention of film content: a failure to replicate. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 53(3): 373-374, 1956.

Maccoby, Elearnor E. , and Wilson, William Cody. Identification and observational learning from films. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 55: 75-87, 1957.

Meyerson, Leonard Jack. The effects of filmed aggression on the aggressive responses of high and low aggressive subjects. University of Iowa, 1966. Dissertation Abstracts, 27, 3291-B, 1967.

Mussen, Paul. and Rutherford, Eldred. Effects of aggressive cartoons oil children's aggressive play. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 62(2): 461-464, 1961.

Siegel, Alberta Engvall. Film-mediated fantasy aggression and strength of aggressive drive. Child Development, 27: 365-378, 1956.

YOUNG ADULTS

Berkowitz, Leonard, Corwin, Ronald, and Heironimus, Mark. Film violence and subsequent aggressive tendencies. Public Opinion Quarterly, 27: 217-229, 1963.

Berkowitz, Leonard, and Geen, Russell G. Film violence and the cue properties of available targets. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3(5): 525-530, 1966.

Berkowitz, Leonard, and Geen, Russell G. Stimulus qualities of the target of aggression: a further study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3(5): 525-530, 1966.

Berkowitz, Leonard, and Geen, Russell G. Stimulus qualities of the target of aggression: a further study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5(3): 364-368, 1967.

Berkowitz, Leonard, and Rawlings, Edna. Effects of film violence on inhibitions against subsequent aggression. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 66(3): 405-412, 1963.

Bokander, Ingvar, and Lindbom, Kerstin. The effects of aggressive films on minors. Nordisk Psykologi, 19(1): 1-56, 1967.

Feshbach, Seymour. The drive reducing function of fantasy behavior. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 60(1): 3-11, 1955.

Feshbach, Seymour. The stimulating versus cathartic effects of a vicarious aggressive activity. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, (63)(2): 381-385, 1961.

Geen, Russell G. Effects of frustration, attack, and prior training in aggressiveness upon aggressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9(4): 316-321, 1968.

Geen, Russell G. , and Berkowitz, Leonard. Name-mediating aggressive cue properties. Journal of Personality, 34: 456-465, 1966.

Geen, Russell G. , and Berkowitz, Leonard. Some conditions facilitating the occurrence of aggression after the observation of violence. Journal of Personality, 35: 66-676, 1967.

Kaufman, Harry, and Feshbach, Seymour. The influence of antiaggressive communications upon the response to provocation. Journal of Personality, 31(3): 428-444, 1963.

Lefcourt, Herbert M. , Barnes, Keith, Parke, Ross, and Schwartz, Fred. Anticipated social censure and aggression-conflict as mediators of response to aggression induction. Journal of Social Psychology, 70: 251-263, 1966.

Walters, Richard H. , and Llewellyn-Thomas, Edward. Enhancement of punitiveness by visual and audiovisual displays. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 17: 244-255, 1963.

Walters, Richard H. , Llewellyn-Thomas, Edward, and Acker, C. William. Enhancement of punitive behavior by audiovisual displays. Science, 136(3519): 872-873, 1962.

Appendix E: The Interpretation of Correlation Coefficients

The Pearson product moment correlation coefficient is an abstract statistic which, under certain restrictive conditions, precisely describes the relationship between two variables. Although the restrictive conditions or "assumptions" underlying the application of the correlation coefficient (norm al distributions in both variables, strict linearity of regression, stratified random sampling in one of the variables, and homoscedasticity or equal variance in the arrays) are seldom if ever met in practice, the correlation coefficient is widely used -- albeit with a grain of salt -- as a crude indicator of a relationship.

Many misunderstandings arise from what appears to be a general tendency to misinterpret or overinterpret correlation coefficients.

At certain levels, there can be no mistake in interpretation. A correlation coefficient of 1. 0 means unequivocally that, as the value of one variable increases, the value of the other variable increases proportionately; a correlation coefficient of - 1. 0 means that increase in one variable is accompanied by proportionate decrease in the other. A value of 0. 0 clearly means that there is no linear relationship between the two variables.

But what about the cases where the correlation coefficient is in some middle range, like the . 30 relationships which stand out from the mass of trivial relationships reported in these studies? If, indeed, the assumptions listed above are met, one can still say that, as one variable increases in value, the mean value of the other variable increases, although at each level of the first variable, there is considerable variation around the mean of the second variable. Furthermore, if the assumptions are not met (as in many of the correlation coefficients in these studies), such a bland statement of a functional relationship is clearly misleading. Thus, if the requirements for linearity and homoscedasticity are not met, two important pitfalls await the unwary interpreter of correlation coefficients:

(1) The functional relationship may exist strongly in one or more parts of the range of the variables, but not in other parts of the range.

(2) Frequently, the locus of the relationship is at the very top or very bottom of the range in both variables, so that a relatively small number of outlying cases may produce a relationship which exists nowhere else.

Statisticians universally advise users of summary statistic, s to examine the data. In the use of correlation coefficients, such advice calls for examination of bivariate distributions or scatter diagrams.

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Figure E-1: Linear, homoscedastic

Figures E-1 through E-4 illustrate, in a highly stylized way, the variety of data configurations that can lead to approximately equal correlation coefficients. In each figure, each dot represents an individual case; the solid line represents the least-squares regression line. We have not attempted to make these figures precise, nor to use real data. Adjustment of scale and frequencies can modify the size of the correlation coefficients. Nevertheless, comparison of the four figures will indicate that similar correlation coefficients can summarize different situations which vary markedly in regard to the actual overall relationship between two variables among a group of individuals.

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Figure E-2: Linear, heteroscedastic

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Figure E-3: Non-linear, homoscedastic

Variance accountability

The square of the correlation coefficient is legitimately interpreted as the "proportion of variance accounted for." This powerful-sounding accomplishment is perhaps even more widely misapplied and misunderstood than the correlation coefficient itself. Each of the component variables is characterized by a "variance" -- i. e. , an abstract indicator of dispersion of values around the mean of the variable. If certain conditions (homoscedasticity and linearity) are met, and if the correlation coefficient is greater than zero, then, for any given value of one of the variables. the associated values of the other variable will cluster more closely around their mean (i. e. , have less variance) than the original variance of the second variable. The proportionate reduction in variance thus achieved. is the "variance accounted for. " Thus a correlation coefficient of . 30 would lead to the statement that nine percent of the variance in each variable is accounted for by variation in the other. This phenomenon is sometimes popularly phrased in terms of improvement over chance in the ability to guess at the value of one of the variables. given knowledge of the value of the other. Of course, if the specified conditions do not apply (as in Figures E-2 through E-4), then the proportion of variance accounted for is an average across the range of the two variables and may be higher in certain parts of the range and lower in others.

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Figure E4: Non-linear, heteroscedastic

Chance and unreliability

In dealing with a mass of reported summary statistics, as this committee has tried to do, two opposing kinds of criticism are likely to be heard:

(1) With so many correlation coefficients being reported on the relationship of television exposure and aggressive tendencies, some few of them will turn out to be significant by chance alone. Indeed, the results here reviewed include a distribution of values for correlation coefficients all purporting to be of operational measures of the same underlying variables. The majority of the values are trivially small, but the central tendency of the values is clearly positive. En masse, they indicate a small positive relationship between amount of violence viewing and aggressive behavior. We have paid particular attention to the few larger correlation values, because it is reasonable to assume that some specific quality of the measures used accounts for the stronger relationship found. But. ultimately, only replication will establish whether the stronger relationships derive from such characteristics of the measures or whether they are products of chance.

(2) Since the measures used in these relationships are not highly reliable (in a psychometric sense), the observed relationships among them are likely to be underestimates of the "true" relationships between the concepts. This, too. is an untestable assertion, since, both for sampling reasons and for reliability reasons, any observed relationship may be either an underestimate or an overestimate of a "true" relationship. In particular, if the "true relationship is 0. 0, the probability that an observed relationship is an underestimate is exactly equal to the probability that it is an overestimate. On the other hand, if the "true" relationship is positive, then the probability that an observed relationship will, because of unreliability, be an underestimate is larger than the probability that it will be an overestimate. In the absence of knowledge about the nature of the "true" relationship, any conclusions on this point would be technically unjustified. If we were to assume that the mass of data would lead us to the conclusion that, in truth, there is a low positive relationship between the concepts under consideration, we could say that because of unreliability, the possibility that we are reporting underestimates is very slightly higher than the probability that we are reporting overestimates.

U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, 1972 120-717/633 DHEW Publication No. HSM 72-9090 Printed 1972 U. S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION. AND WELFARE Health Services and Mental Health Administration National Institute of Mental Health.
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Notes:

Appendix A

1. The National Association of Educational Broadcasters conducted surveys of television content in Los Angeles (May 23-29, 1951), New York (January 4-10, 1951, 1952, 1953, January 25-31, 1954), New Haven (May 15-21, 1952, and Chicago (July 30-August 5, 1951).

2. U. S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Investigation of Juvenile Delinquency in the United States, Television and juvenile delinquency, 84th Congress, 2d session, January 16, 1956. Report No. 1466.

3. U. S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Effects on young people of violence and crime portrayed on television, Part 16 of Investigation of Juvenile Delinquency in the United States, July 30, 1964, p. 3731

4. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. Commission Statement on Violence in Television Entertainment Programs, September 23, 1969.
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