The Effects Of Media On Human Behavior

1005 Words5 Pages
As aggression in the media increases, studies examining its effects on human behavior do as well. It is widely accepted that physical aggression is characterized by physical violence. On the other hand, social aggression is characterized by both verbal and nonverbal actions typically ranging from gossip and rumors to ignoring peers. While a plethora of studies have focused on physical aggression, there are some that indicate pertinent information relating to social aggression. One study conducted by Crick, Bigbee, and Howes, indicates that there is a higher prevalence of social aggression among females than males, while another conducted by Coyne and Archer found 92% of programs popular among adolescents aged 11-14 contained acts of social or indirect aggression (Martins & Wilson, 2011, p. 49-50). With such high prevalence of social aggression in the media, Martins and Wilson’s correlational study aimed to examine the relationship between the exposure to socially aggressive content and socially aggressive behavior among groups children. Physical aggression research can be theoretically applied to socially aggressive cases. In one lab study, children mirrored physical aggression immediately after exposure, thus directly illustrating social cognitive theory. This theory states that children will mirror a model’s actions in the short term, especially when the actions are rewarded rather than punished. Results in a longitudinal study show an overall increase in adult aggression when the participant was exposed television violence as a child (Martins & Wilson, 2011, p. 49-51). This study directly relates to the information processing theory, which states that the child will create his or her own scripts based on the acquired material ... ... middle of paper ... ... must be considered when studying human behavior. Because there are a myriad of variables that can be accounted for, it is difficult to analyze seemingly simple relationships due to their underlying complex nature. While there were a handful of studies that previously touched on the subject of social aggression, there were limiting factors that did not provide enough certainty to illustrate a significant relationship. Martins and Wilson’s study (2011) found a “significant relationship between exposure to televised social aggression and increased social aggression in school for girls and not for boys” (p. 63-64). Because the results of this study illustrate differences in the forms of aggression exerted among males and females, the findings can be used in future studies that examine exposure to both physical and social aggression in media and their resulting effects.
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