Violent Behavior, Aggression Behavior and Effects

Violent Behavior, Aggression Behavior and Effects
Aggression refers to behavior of an individual that aims at hurting.
The actor must be convinced that the action shall hurt the recipient,
and the action contravenes conventional principles. Violence, on the
other hand, refers to an exceeded degree of aggression. There exists a
great deal of correlation between violence and aggression. Extreme forms
of aggression can be termed as violence, but violence cannot be termed
as aggression. All forms of aggression are violent, but all forms of
violence are not aggression (Pear, 2002). This paper describes social
theory and sheds light on recent research on the link between violent
models on television and other forms of media and aggressive behavior.
Social learning theory of aggression moves that people learn from each
other. It asserts that individuals learn aggression from modeling
against the actions of those they watch. Learning by modeling is strong
and to overcome may take a lot of time and effort. In fact, it is not
all people who can rehabilitate successfully from aggression learnt
through modeling. The strength of aggression learnt through modeling
draws from reinforcement that is both internal and external (Emmons,
2013). One may imitate aggressive behavior that they observe in order to
earn people’s approval – external reinforcement. The fulfillment
that comes with this approval acts as an internal reinforcement.
Reinforcement can be positive or negative.
The theory postulates that children imitate the people they perceive
as similar to them. Consequently, individuals imitate the aggressive
behavior exhibited by members of their sex. Reinforcement comes as a
result of reactions of people in the individual’s surroundings.
Vicarious reinforcement points to the way an individual regards the
things that result from the decisions and behaviors of those that they
observe. If they think the results are rewarding, they are more likely
to imitate them. Individuals imitate the actions of the people that they
think possess a quality they like (Mesoudi, 2013). Besides parents,
siblings, relatives and friends, children will imitate the behaviors of
their favorite characters in television and other media programs.
Research as recent as this year has revealed interesting facts about
the relationship between exposure to violent behavior and aggressive
behavior. When releasing the findings of her research early this year,
Caroline Knorr observed that it has become extremely difficult to keep
one’s children away from violence. Out of her samples, she found that
ninety percent of movies, sixty eight percent of all video games and
sixty percent television shows depict a considerable amount of violent
content. The Caroline Knorr, further observed that eight year old
children and below spend at least one hour and forty minutes every day
watching television or DVDs. Those over eight years old spend about four
hours a day doing the same. This research found that most children start
to play video games at around the age of four. The research stated that
while watching violent movies and playing video games do not necessarily
cause aggressive behavior it is an important risk factor (Emmons, 2013).
In February, this year, Alex Mesoudi of Durham University presented a
meta-analytic survey. The article noted that in December 2012, six adult
staff and twenty elementary school children lost their lives to shooting
in Connecticut by a single individual at ago. It documented the famous
Columbine 1999 shooting, Virginia Tech 2007 and the Colorado cinema mass
shootings of 2012. The article aptly notes that mass shootings are not
an American problem but that they have happened elsewhere too. In 1996,
, sixteen kindergarten pupils lost their lives to shooting in Dunblane,
Scotland, and so did sixty nine youths on an island in Norway in 2011.
The meta-analytic research findings linked mass shootings to exposure to
violent behavior on media (Mesoudi, 2013).
Emmons, S. (2013). Is media violence damaging to kids? Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 93 (58), 61-83.
Mesoudi, A. (2013). Mass shooting and mass media: Does media coverage of
mass shootings inspire copycat crimes? Criminology: An
Interdisciplinary Journal 49 (32), 129-141.
Pear, D. (2002). Violence in Television Content. Journal of Experimental
Child Psychology 38 (40), 7-18.

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