Explanations of media influences on anti social behaviour: cognitive priming

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Psychology unit 4 revision
Explanations of media influences on anti social behaviour
Cognitive priming
This is when we have a schema which develops in our mind and is formed from the
environment around us. At some point a stimulus may trigger the activation of this
schema and that will alter our behaviour. Therefore if a person watches lots of
violent TV they develop a schema that relates to violence and this can be triggered
to make a person more violent.
Joesphson investigated hockey players who were deliberately frustrated and
shown either a violent or a non violent film where a actor held a walkie talkie (this
will act as the cue for aggression). In a later game, hockey players were more
aggressive if they had seen the violent film and the referee holding a walkie talkie
(the cue for aggression). This shows that aggressive schemas can lead to aggressive
behaviour if the schema is activated.
Murray compared MRI scans of children who watched violent and non violent
TV programs. It was found that a network in the right hemisphere regions was
activated. These include the amygdala, and regions that relate to emotion. Also the
area of the brain responsible for strong episodic memories was active. This
suggests that aggressive acts viewed may be stored as aggressive scripts for later
use supporting the idea that scripts are stored in the long term memory.


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