Discuss what psychological research has told us about some of the media influences on antisocial behaviour. (10 marks)

10 mark question: Discuss what psychological research has told us about some of the media influences on antisocial behaviour. Basically my notes on it put into a mini 10mark essay format.
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Preview of Discuss what psychological research has told us about some of the media influences on antisocial behaviour. (10 marks)

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It has been suggested that people who watch violent media and images may be
encouraged to imitate the violence. TV and film produces frequently reject this view
Discuss what psychological research has told us about some of the media
influences on antisocial behaviour. (10 marks)
The social learning theory predicts that people learn via observations and there is
increased likelihood of copying viewed behaviour if the model is similar to the observer,
if the behaviour is realistic and if the model is rewarded for their behaviour. For example
with the TV series power rangers where the characters are good but resort to violence in
order to defeat the baddies.
Bandura's bobo doll study investigated the way children respond to a model
demonstrating aggressive behaviour that is rewarded and punished. After observations the
children who saw the aggressive scenes were seen to imitate the aggressive model. These
findings support the idea that observed behaviour can be imitated and learned.
However a criticism of this study is that it has demand characteristics involved, for
example the young children may notice that they have been presented with the same doll
they have just seen being hit and feel they would have to respond in the same way since
they think it is the `right' thing to do.
In addition the social learning theory shows inconsistent effects of the media. Is often
only in fictional programmes, however in some shows this is punished but in others it
could be rewarded. People copying this behaviour could only be explained if all behaviour
was rewarded.
It is argued that people the media influences antisocial behaviour through desensitisation,
where the frequent viewing of violent or anti-social behaviour can cause individuals to
accept it more and they become less anxious about the violence.
Research support for this is Drabham and Thomas who found that those individuals who
viewed a violent film showed less emotional response to and a greater tolerance of violent
scenes that were shown later on. This shows that the violence had been accepted.
The theory can also be criticised for its lack of ethics, for example the violence shown in
the study may cause have some significant meaning for participants or bring back
repressed negative feelings or memories and in turn cause psychological harm, breaching
the guideline of protection of participants. Furthermore there is the issue of
operationalization where the different studies may measure aggression differently, with
different methods the data is less reliable as there is decreased certainty for valid
comparisons to be made.

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