Volume 1, Issue 3 (1972)
Does Television Violence Cause Aggression?
L.D. Eron, M.M. Lefkowitz, L.R. Huesmann, L.O. Walder
With the increasing prominence of violence in our society, social scientists have been turning their attention to the antecedents of aggressive behavior in children and adults. Television programing with its heavy emphasis on interpersonal violence and acquisitive lawlessness has been assigned a role both in inciting aggression and teaching viewers specific techniques of aggressive behavior. The relation between overt aggression and television habits has been demonstrated in a few survey studies which, however, because of the nature of surveys have not been able to discriminate cause and effect. On the other hand, manipulative laboratory experiments have demonstrated an immediate effect on the extent of aggressive behavior of subjects who have witnessed aggressive displays on film. The latter studies, however, can be criticized for not duplicating real life TV viewing situations and possibly not accounting for anything more than a transient effect on the viewer. One possible way of utilizing survey procedures to demonstrate cause and effect is to use a longitudinal context. By contrasting the magnitude of contemporaneous and longitudinal correlations between two sets of variables it is possible to account more clearly for which of the variables is antecedent and which consequent.
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