Aggressive cues in films or television programmes lead to aggressive thoughts and feelings, which may then be expressed in aggressive behaviour.
Aim: To assess the effect of cognitive priming on aggressive behaviour.
Procedure: Boys watched a television programme of a gun battle, in which the snipers communicated using walkie-talkies. A control group watched a non-violent programme about a motocross team. Both groups then played a game of floor hockey and were given instructions beforehand either by walkie-talkie or a tape recorder.
Results: the boys who had watched the violent television programme and had received instructions by walkie-talkie were more aggressive than the control group and than those who had watched the same programme but received instructions by tape recorder.
Conclusion: The walkie-talkie acted as a cognitive prime to aggression.
• Anxiety about violence inhibits its use.
• Those who are not used to violence would be shocked by its use.
• Frequent viewing of television violence makes it appear commonplace and so viewers may be less shocked and less sensitive about the violence.
• So someone who is desensitized to violence perceived violence as ‘normal’.
Aim: to identify a link between viewing habits and aggressive behaviour.
Sample: teenage boys.
Design: correlational study based on retrospective interview data.
Method: boys were interviewed about their viewing habits (self reporting) over the previous ten years (V1=level of TV violence watched) and about their aggressive behaviour (V2=self-ratings of aggression).
Result: a significant positive correlation was…