The Psychological Effects of Violence-Related Information From the Media

The Psychological Effects of Violence-Related Information From the Media

Lala Jabbarova (Baku State University, Azerbaijan)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3082-4.ch011
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The media is one of the main resources from which people derive information about events surrounding them. The media tries to mirror realities, transmit various events, including cases of aggression and violence; however, lack of control on quality and quantity of information may result in perilous outcomes. This chapter offers a psychological analysis of the influence of media on crime in society, as well as the relation of crime levels with information about aggression and violence. The results of the research suggest that frequent, overstated, and embellished media disseminations of information of an aggressive character, without considering its possible psychological outcomes, increases viewers' levels of aggression and violence. In order to prevent this increase, it is crucial not to eliminate aggressive information from media completely, but instead to present it while taking into account its psychological effects.
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Analysis Of Theories And Researches

The basic theoretical and methodological source on the subject of this research is A. Bandura’s social learning theory (Baron & Richardson, 1977) related to behaviorism. Bandura considered aggression as a specific form of social behavior, as it is based on learning it as one would other social behavior forms. For example, in order to commit any aggression, it is necessary to know how to use weapons, to understand which actions can cause physical pain to victims, and which words or forms of behavior can harm objects of aggression. This kind of knowledge is not inborn, according to Bandura. It is gained in social life, so social life has a great impact on aggression cases. Therefore, we can assume that media scenes with aggressive characters arouse the social learning process, bringing one to learn new behavior types. Such learning processes help potential criminals to use new ways to cover the lack of experience in committing crimes. From the viewpoint of Bandura’s social learning theory (Baron & Richardson, 1977), adoption of aggression occurs in one of the following cases:

  • 1.

    Demonstration of no punishment measures against violence actions;

  • 2.

    Demonstration of different forms of aggression;

  • 3.

    Demonstration of absence of consequences occurring as a result of aggression;

  • 4.

    Quantity of time spent watching TV;

  • 5.

    Strengthening aggression in real life, demonstration of the possibility of such behaviors by people of authority and prestige.

According to Bandura (Bandura, Ross, & Ross, 1963), aggressive behaviors are learned more easily by the way of observation of actions done by others. That is, no danger is expected to face one as a viewer, but the ideas formed in a viewers’ mind on how these behaviors gain shape can become “instructions” for committing real aggressive actions in the future. After the broadcasting of tragic cases of violence on TV, similar events happen in quite different places. For example, four children in the US, Pakistan, India, and Azerbaijan have hung themselves after watching the execution video of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on television (В Азербайджане Саддам убивает после смерти, 2007).

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