Special Issue "Understanding Media Violence Effects"

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A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Barbara Krahé

Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +49 331 977-2795
Interests: aggression; social cognition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite the growing body of research addressing the potentially harmful effects of exposure to violent media, current understanding of the short-term effects of using violent media and the long-term effects of habitual media violence exposure over time is limited in several ways. First, there is a shortage of longitudinal research examining the relational patterns of media violence use and aggression over time. Such evidence is crucial for examining hypotheses about the directionality of observed co-variations of media violence use and aggression. Second, most previous longitudinal studies have focused on aggression as the critical outcome variable, paying less attention to other negative outcomes, such as a potential decrease in prosocial behavior. Regarding short-term effects, further experimental evidence is required to identify the psychological processes underlying the effects of media violence exposure on aggression and other domains of social behavior. This Special Issue seeks to bring together a set of papers that analyze the role of cognitive, affective, and physiological responses to violent media stimuli in explaining pathways from violent media exposure to aggression and related negative outcomes in other domains of social behavior, such as a decrease in empathy and prosocial behavior. Contributions are invited from all disciplines, including psychology, communication, media studies, sociology, and criminology, addressing media violence effects in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Papers should have a strong grounding in theory and use experimental or longitudinal methods to elucidate the processes by which exposure to violence in the media may increase aggression and decrease in empathy, helping, and other prosocial behaviors, both during short-term exposure and over extended periods of time.

Prof. Barbara Krahé
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • media violence
  • aggression
  • violence
  • aggressive cognitions
  • anger
  • arousal
  • prosocial behavior
  • empathy

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Longitudinal Effects of Violent Media Usage on Aggressive Behavior—The Significance of Empathy
Societies 2014, 4(1), 105-124; doi:10.3390/soc4010105
Received: 12 September 2013 / Revised: 12 February 2014 / Accepted: 13 February 2014 / Published: 26 February 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (626 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this study was to thoroughly investigate the link between violent media consumption and aggressive behavior. Using a large longitudinal student sample, the role of empathy as a possible mediator of this relationship was of special interest. Data were drawn from
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The aim of this study was to thoroughly investigate the link between violent media consumption and aggressive behavior. Using a large longitudinal student sample, the role of empathy as a possible mediator of this relationship was of special interest. Data were drawn from wave three to five of the Berlin Longitudinal Study Media, a four-year longitudinal control group study with 1207 school children. Participants completed measures of media usage (violent content of TV and computer games), aggressive behavior perpetration, and empathy. The average age of participants was 10.4 years at Time 1 and 12.4 years at Time 3. Half of the study sample was male (50%). Trivariate structural equation modeling using three measurement times were conducted for assessing the role of empathy as a mediator of the longitudinal relationship between the usage of violent media content and aggressive behavior. For male students empathic skills were shown to unfold a key mediating role between problematic media usage and aggressive behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Media Violence Effects)
Open AccessArticle Catharsis and Media Violence: A Conceptual Analysis
Societies 2013, 3(4), 491-510; doi:10.3390/soc3040491
Received: 13 September 2013 / Revised: 3 November 2013 / Accepted: 6 December 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (191 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept that doing something to “vent” aggression as a method of reducing aggressive feelings and behaviors, such as watching media violence or playing violent video games, continues to enjoy widespread public support despite a lack of empirical support. This article describes the
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The concept that doing something to “vent” aggression as a method of reducing aggressive feelings and behaviors, such as watching media violence or playing violent video games, continues to enjoy widespread public support despite a lack of empirical support. This article describes the historical origins of the concept and examines how well these conceptions fit with the modern usage of the aggression catharsis hypothesis. It is argued that there are four primary flaws with the catharsis hypothesis. First, the metaphor underlying Freud, Breuer, and Lorenz’s conception of aggression is flawed. Aggression is not a drive. Second, although Aristotle did use the term catharsis with relation to violent media (plays and poetry), he did not mean that viewing media violence can purge the viewer of aggressive feelings or behaviors. Furthermore, he describes several detailed requirements of plot and character that must be followed if his type of catharsis is to be achieved, and modern media violence does not meet these requirements. Third, the empirical support is not only lacking, a large empirical base contradicts the catharsis hypothesis. This is seen both in studies attempting to demonstrate catharsis directly and in the broader media violence literature. Fourth, human neuroscience contradicts the catharsis hypothesis. Learning is not hindered by viewing something one more time—it is improved. Taken together, it appears that there is no possible way that the aggression catharsis hypothesis can be accurate. It nevertheless continues to “feel” correct at a phenomenological level, and the reasons for this are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Media Violence Effects)
Open AccessArticle Charging Neutral Cues with Aggressive Meaning through Violent Video Game Play
Societies 2013, 3(4), 445-456; doi:10.3390/soc3040445
Received: 13 September 2013 / Revised: 30 October 2013 / Accepted: 4 November 2013 / Published: 12 November 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (199 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
When playing violent video games, aggressive actions are performed against the background of an originally neutral environment, and associations are formed between cues related to violence and contextual features. This experiment examined the hypothesis that neutral contextual features of a virtual environment become
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When playing violent video games, aggressive actions are performed against the background of an originally neutral environment, and associations are formed between cues related to violence and contextual features. This experiment examined the hypothesis that neutral contextual features of a virtual environment become associated with aggressive meaning and acquire the function of primes for aggressive cognitions. Seventy-six participants were assigned to one of two violent video game conditions that varied in context (ship vs. city environment) or a control condition. Afterwards, they completed a Lexical Decision Task to measure the accessibility of aggressive cognitions in which they were primed either with ship-related or city-related words. As predicted, participants who had played the violent game in the ship environment had shorter reaction times for aggressive words following the ship primes than the city primes, whereas participants in the city condition responded faster to the aggressive words following the city primes compared to the ship primes. No parallel effect was observed for the non-aggressive targets. The findings indicate that the associations between violent and neutral cognitions learned during violent game play facilitate the accessibility of aggressive cognitions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Media Violence Effects)
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Open AccessArticle Biased Estimation of Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression: Contributing Factors and Boundary Conditions
Societies 2013, 3(4), 383-398; doi:10.3390/soc3040383
Received: 16 September 2013 / Revised: 8 October 2013 / Accepted: 18 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (223 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to improve the understanding of media violence effects, it is crucial to extend knowledge about factors that threaten the validity of such effects in empirical research. Research artifacts can be expected when participants are (a) aware of a scientist’s hypothesis, (b)
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In order to improve the understanding of media violence effects, it is crucial to extend knowledge about factors that threaten the validity of such effects in empirical research. Research artifacts can be expected when participants are (a) aware of a scientist’s hypothesis, (b) motivated to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis, and (c) capable of manipulating their responses in line with their motivation. Based on social identity theory (SIT) and self-categorization theory (SCT), we assumed that identifying with the social group of video game players would provide a motivation to disconfirm the “violent video games increase aggression” hypothesis. We further assumed that the use of nontransparent aggression measures and cover stories would prevent research artifacts. Our results showed that highly identified (compared to lowly identified) players of video games reported less aggression on a transparent aggression measure but not on a nontransparent aggression measure. However, providing participants with a cover story did not prevent hypothesis awareness nor eliminate hypothesis-disconfirming response patterns. These results provide empirical support for the ideas that (a) motivational factors may contribute to a biased estimation of media violence effects, (b) cover stories may not always be effective, and (c) the use of nontransparent aggression measures can provide a valid methodological approach for avoiding biases in media effects research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Media Violence Effects)
Open AccessArticle Adolescent Callous-Unemotional Traits Mediates the Longitudinal Association between Conduct Problems and Media Violence Exposure
Societies 2013, 3(3), 298-315; doi:10.3390/soc3030298
Received: 4 July 2013 / Revised: 6 September 2013 / Accepted: 6 September 2013 / Published: 16 September 2013
PDF Full-text (2446 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current study investigates the bidirectional longitudinal association between conduct problems (CPs) and media violence exposure (MVE), with callous-unemotional (CU) traits as a potential mediator of this association. The sample consisted of 1,451 (49.9% boys) Greek Cypriot adolescents. CPs and MVE were measured
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The current study investigates the bidirectional longitudinal association between conduct problems (CPs) and media violence exposure (MVE), with callous-unemotional (CU) traits as a potential mediator of this association. The sample consisted of 1,451 (49.9% boys) Greek Cypriot adolescents. CPs and MVE were measured at Year 1 and Year 3 and CU traits were measured at Year 2, enabling the examination of longitudinal associations and indirect effects between these variables. A bidirectional association between CPs and MVE was identified. Further, both CPs and MVE at Year 1 were positively associated with Year 2 CU traits, and youth high on CU traits at Year 2 were more likely to exhibit CP behaviors and to be exposed to media violence at Year 3. Finally, two indirect pathways were identified, suggesting that the longitudinal bidirectional association between CPs and MVE was partially mediated by CU traits. These findings suggest that CU traits constitute an underlying mechanism explaining the longitudinal association between CPs and MVE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Media Violence Effects)
Open AccessArticle Double Dose: High Family Conflict Enhances the Effect of Media Violence Exposure on Adolescents’ Aggression
Societies 2013, 3(3), 280-292; doi:10.3390/soc3030280
Received: 10 May 2013 / Revised: 28 June 2013 / Accepted: 28 June 2013 / Published: 5 July 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (221 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We investigated how exposure to media violence and family conflict affects adolescents’ subsequent aggressive behavior. We expected a double dose effect, meaning that high media violence exposure would lead to higher levels of aggression for adolescents in high conflict families compared to low
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We investigated how exposure to media violence and family conflict affects adolescents’ subsequent aggressive behavior. We expected a double dose effect, meaning that high media violence exposure would lead to higher levels of aggression for adolescents in high conflict families compared to low conflict families. A total of 499 adolescents (aged 10 to 14, 48% girls) participated in a two-wave longitudinal survey (4-month interval). Survey questions assessed their exposure to violence on television and in electronic games, family conflict, and aggressive behavior. Analyses revealed a significant interaction between media violence and family conflict. In families with higher conflict, higher media violence exposure was related to increased subsequent aggression. This study is the first to show a double dose effect of media violence and family conflict on adolescents’ aggression. These findings underscore the important role of the family in shaping the effects of adolescents’ media use on their social development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Media Violence Effects)
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