Media Violence Essay

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Describe and Evaluate the claim that images in the media could lead to criminal or violent behaviour [12 marks]

Images in the media could lead to criminal or violent behaviour, according to Bandura's Social Learning Theory (SLT.) Behaviour may be imitated if it is observed, especially if a role model has displayed that behavior.

SLT explains criminal behavior in terms of modelling (others, or the media). If a person paid attention to violence portrayed in the media, for example a violent television show, and retained the information, they could then reproduce the behavior if they had the motivation to do so. Bandura (1977) stated that a person would be motivated to carry out or continue criminal acts if it was seen to be successful and beneficial to that individual. He also referred to self-reinforcement; where a criminal would continue the observed and learned behaviour if it added an internal reward like the 'thrill' or 'rush' of committing the act and knowing that they could potentially be caught.

If criminal or violent behavior is portrayed in the media by a role model, people are more likely to imitate the behavior. This applies especially where the role model is powerful and likeable, and is rewarded for the behavior. (This is vicarious reinforcement.)

There is much evidence esupporting the claim that images in the media could lead to criminal or violent behaviour. Bandura, Ross and Ross (1961) found that children imitated violence when they observed a role model acting aggressively towards a bobo doll. Applying the findings from this study would lead to suggesting that seeing violent images in the media could lead to that behaviour being imitated.

Anderson & Dill (2000) carried out research that investigated the effects of playing violent video games on


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