Discuss about the Social Media and Symbolic Violence.
The social environment has seen a notable change in the 20th and the 21st centuries, and that is the cultural and daily lives saturation by the mass media. For good or bad the mass media is impacting the values, behaviors, and beliefs of people. Studies have accumulated evidence in the past half-century that exposure to violence on movies, television, and the recent media known as video games are increasing the risk of aggression and aggressive behavior on the viewer’s end (Huesmann, 2007). It is just like the chances of increased violent behavior in a person who has grown up in a violent environment. The term aggression, in psychology, refers to a series of behaviors that may result in psychological and physical harm to oneself, objects and others. The aggression can be expressed in many ways which include verbal, mental, emotional, and physical. Mostly aggression is referred to purely in physical forms like pushing or hitting, but the psychological aggression may result in a lot of damage (Cherry, 2016). There are many factors that increase the aggression in person like social, psychological, and biological. These factors at different level make a person more aggressive or give a chance to show the aggression on various situations. The essay here gives the details that how violence in media is increasing aggression in people, with the help of factors, types, and psychological theories of aggression.
Factors that contribute to Aggressive Behaviour
Aggression is not just being violent; it is a behavior that means losing one's control. It may result in harming one-self or others. The aggression can be divided into two types which can help in defining and understanding aggression better. The first category of Aggression according to the psychologist is hostile aggression which also termed as affective or retaliatory aggression ("Aggression: Harming," 2016). When a person gets physical and tries to harm others to cause psychological pain, it is known as hostile aggression. Rumour-spreading, malicious gossiping or bullying comes under the hostile affective aggression. People with this type of aggressive behavior do things unplanned, impulsively, and have uncontrolled behavior. The second type of aggression is the Instrumental aggression. It occurs when someone assumes his right over a thing or has a conflict over an object. For example, a student tries to knock another person or intentionally throws his things just because he sat on his desk then it is known as instrumental aggressive behavior. Instrumental aggression can also be termed as predatory or goal-oriented aggression ("Aggression and Violence," 2016). The psychology of the person also makes a huge difference. A person, who is showing the hostile aggression will accompany strong emotions, unplanned behavior, will be impulsive, and show anger. Whereas, a person with the instrumental aggressive nature will show a very different approach. A person who has instrumental aggression wants to win at the end. They are a predator. They will plan the full show and want to be in control of the situation all the time. They only get satisfied when they win and gain at the end ("Aggression: Harming", 2016).
The studies on the effects of the violent media on people are being gone on for a long time. Research taken up in the 1980s, by a psychologist L.Rowell Huesman and Leonard Eron gave the outcome that children watching violence on different media for many in their elementary school show higher levels of aggressive behavior when they reach teenage. And as an adult, they showed more chances for being prosecuted for criminal acts and getting arrested (Anderson, 2010).
Interestingly, one the study conducted by the psychologists Douglas Gentile and Brad Bushman clarifies there are proofs that predict the future of an aggressive child will watch and love only the aggressive media full of violence. They suggest that the exposure to media violence can be an important factor that contributes to the aggressive behavior. One of another research has found that people who watch violent media gets desensitize towards violence in the real world. Some people watch violence because they enjoy the violence and then they started experimenting it in real life as it makes them feel aroused (Anderson et al., 2003).
Surveys and cross-sectional studies help in studying the relation between individual's aggressive behavior and his habitual consumption of violence through media in a snapshot. These studies and surveys, in general, took the serious forms of physical aggression, but the methodology itself is not able to judge the cautions of the experiments. For the present generation, the longitudinal study is to be selected. So studies like cross-sectional investigations and longitudinal studies are the best option to study the aggression and the influences that has caused aggression in person (Anderson et al., 2003)
Aggression can be a result of many different factors affecting an individual. Some of the factors that affect the aggression of a person are like Biological factors that include the instinctive factor that says every person have that deadly instinct which is known as thenatos, it is the reservoir for his aggression and needs to periodically release to remain mentally sane. An outside source provoked the person until a result has been found and that is aggressive behavior (Arehart-Treichel, 2008). This theory says that the building up of aggression can also be suppressed there are many people two have that survival instinct and they keep their aggression. The second biological factor that increases the aggressive behavior is the hormonal imbalance. The increased level of testosterone in males makes them aggressive, and this is the reason why women are easier to go. If testosterone goes down, then the castration helps in reducing the aggressive behaviour. A person can genetically also be influenced with the inheritance of aggression from four fathers. This is the third factor of biological factors that got influence on the aggressive nature of a person and the upbringing the child is getting (Cherry, 2016). If the biological background of an individual is aggressive, then the risk or chance of increased aggressiveness in person would be more than other children. The fourth biological factor that contributes to the aggressive behavior of a person is the blood chemistry. This also relates to the environment in which the child is growing up. For example, if a person has taken alcohol then his ability to think straight will be compromised. The ability to perceive the outcome of aggressive behaviour accurately will also decrease as alcohol in increases deindividuation. The functioning of the brain also gets weakened and the brain mechanism which holds the impulsive behaviour such as aggression to come out fails to its duty (Farrar & Krcmar, 2006). If a person suffers from low blood sugar then also the aggressive behaviour could be shown by the person. Another biological factor that brings aggressive behaviour out is physiological illnesses and treatments. A person suffering from a deadly illness like cancer can show mood swings and aggressive behaviour. It is the stress of the illness which makes the person impulsive and aggressive. It acts indirectly in bringing out the aggression hidden in person. People with high temperamental issues also get aggressive very quickly. They are more aggressive then the people with low temperament (Gentile, Mathieson, & Crick, 2011).
After biological factors, psychological factors come up as the reason for aggression like psychological frustrations occurs when people are stopped or blocked from reaching their goals and this result in aggression from the person. These people are very goal oriented, and it is their expression of frustration for not achieving his goals. These goals can be very simple like food, water or sex, or big such as job, love, and marriage. These people whenever get into a negative situation tends to become aggressive in their behaviour. Another psychological factor that makes people react aggressively is the social learning factor. People may take up the aggressive behaviour with their social surrounding and observation of it (Haller, Van De Schraaf, & Kruk, 2008). Guidelines are provided for elaborating the beliefs and the expectations that channelize the social behavior. The social influences like reinforcements, role-models, and situational factors may contribute to the expression of behavior with aggression. Mass media is a major reason for children getting violent and aggressive. They watch such violent things on TV and adapt the same from it. Any violence observed in the family will also result in the aggressive behavior of the children. Another psychological factor that leads to aggression is deindividuation where people gets crowded or gathers together. In such situation, people may lose their self-awareness and a sense of individuality. They become the part of the group’s thinking. This would lead to some aggressive thinking and violence which a person would not attempt normally. They become clueless of their thinking and lead to aggression and violent acts. They also do not take the responsibility of such situations because in the course they have lost their individuality and the sense of awareness (Huesmann, 2007).
A psychological theory Latane’s Theory of Psychology says that the social can be dividing into three ways of social impact which explain the social influence of individual’s behaviours. The first principle is about the strength of the source, if the source is powerful, then influence will also be huge. Like an advice given by the respected senior of the company will be listened and applied more. The second principle says that the impact of the influence will increase with the number of resources. The third and final principle say that the closer the source will be with an individual the more its impact will be on the individual. This theory helps in throwing some light on the social factors influencing the individual’s aggressive nature (Lin, 2013).
Research took on the violent television, movies, video games and music gives an outcome of unequivocal evidence that violence shown in media increases the chances of violent and aggressive behaviour in the both long-term and immediate contexts. The effects of media on the person’s aggressive and violent nature appears less severe that other reason of being aggressive. But the evidence clearly shows that exposure to violent media increases the aggressive nature in an individual (Recuero, 2015). The conclusion of the research says that short-term exposure to violent media will increase the verbal and physically aggressive behaviour. Whereas the research also claims that frequent exposure of an individual to violent media will result in highly aggressive nature which includes physical assault and abuse to the spouse. The extremely violent criminal behaviour is not very common. For a longitudinal study on the topic more data and samples are needed by the researchers to get an accurate estimate of the exposure of media and the risk of extreme violence due to it (Rosaen, Boyson, & Smith, 2006). The theory that delineates the reason of why and when the media violence exposure increases the aggression and violence is well-supported with evidence. Media violence initially produces the short-term aggressive scripts and cognition which increases the physiological arousal and triggers the automatic tendency of imitating the behaviour observed. The long-term effects of media violence leave a lasting impact on the viewer. Due to the aggressive scripts, the viewer automatically started using aggression as a solution to all the problems. They become desensitized towards the violence (Soledad Liliana Escobar-Chaves & Craig A. Anderson, 2008)
It is important to understand the reason as to why and how media violence can cause aggression. Why empirical studies are implicating violence in media as a threat to the society is also needed to be understood. There are many psychological theories that help in explaining the reason for taking violence of media as a threat (Scharrer, 2005). Furthermore, the psychological theories explain the reason as to why violence in the media is a reason for the increased aggressive behaviour of the observers of it. The psychological theories that are used to observe such violent and aggressive acts are explained here. The first theory is the Social Learning Theory is the theory that explained how individuals, especially children can learn aggression just from viewing others doing it. With the help of Bobo Doll Experiment the theory as to how children learn to aggressive verbally and physically just by seeing the violence has been explained and justified (Soledad Liliana Escobar-Chaves & Craig A. Anderson, 2008).
Another theory that helps in proving the connection between violence in media and aggression in individuals is the Social Cognitive Theory. It is a theory that relates to the social learning, and it also suggests that by learning and priming aggressive scripts aggression may get activated. Desensitization and excitation or arousal are also added in the forthcoming social cognitive theories. The theory says that repeated media violence exposure creates psychological saturation or emotional adjustment which diminishes or weaken the initial levels of anxiety (Sotskova & Woodin, 2013). This theory is being used from a long time and the most dominant paradigm of effects media. Now it is getting criticized as an outdated theory. A new theory has surfaced known as catalyst model which is being proposed to be used to further explain the etiology of violence in media. This theory emphasizes that the main reason for aggression is the genetic and early social influence on the person. As per the theory media violence is responsible for the aggression in people but it is not the main factor, but just a small part of it (Wagar & Mandracchia, 2016). As per the theory person is already aggressive and by viewing it in media it just establishes a connection and become more prominently aggressive. The last theory is the moral panic theory which says that the concern regarding media violence in historical and cyclical. According to it the society has formed a pre-determined belief about the negativity of the new medium called media. It says that this medium is not being used by the elders in the ratio as it is used by the children and youth. Thus, the result for them could not be determined by just taking them into account. It says that when again a new medium will come again a panic will be created by the people and new studies will be called for (Wolfer & Hewstone, 2015).
This is true that the use of mobile phones, television, internet, video games, and violent movies in the recent times has increased a lot. They have opened new venues for the social interaction. These new form of mass media is introducing violence to the children and the youth around the world. This has resulted in the increased show of aggression. Psychologists have taken the situation seriously as this will lead more aggressive acts in the future. They have studied the fact that violence on media is affecting the people and they are getting more aggressive due to it. This essay helps to know about the various types of aggression and the social, psychological, and biological factors that affect and led aggression. There are many psychological theories that help in knowing the reason and effects of media violence on aggression better. These theories reflect that the violent in mass media is actually increasing the aggression in people. These theories will help in treating the person in the better way as a new medium of increased aggression has been found. In the end, it is concluded that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive behaviour in the individual and it can be explained with the help of psychological theories.
Aggression and Violence. (2016). Goodtherapy.org. Retrieved 13 November 2016, from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/aggression-violence
Anderson, C., Berkowitz, L., Donnerstein, E., Huesmann, L., Johnson, J., & Linz, D. et al. (2003). The influence of media violence on youth. Psychological Science In The Public Interest, 4(3), 81-110.
Anderson, J. (2010). Violent Media Desensitizes Boys to Aggression. Pediatric News, 44(11), 24.
Arehart-Treichel, J. (2008). Aggression Comes in Four Types, Psychoanalyst Explains. Psychiatric News, 43(7), 9-9.
Cherry, K. (2016). What Is Aggression?. Verywell.
Farrar, K. & Krcmar, M. (2006). Measuring State and Trait Aggression: A Short, Cautionary Tale.Media Psychology, 8(2), 127-138.
Ferguson, C., Smith, S., Miller-Stratton, H., Fritz, S., & Heinrich, E. (2008). Aggression in the Laboratory: Problems with the Validity of the Modified Taylor Competitive Reaction Time Test as a Measure of Aggression in Media Violence Studies. Journal Of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 17(1), 118-132.
Gentile, D., Mathieson, L., & Crick, N. (2011). Media Violence Associations with the Form and Function of Aggression among Elementary School Children. Social Development, 20(2), 213-232.
Haller, J., Van De Schraaf, J., & Kruk, M. (2008). Deviant Forms of Aggression in Glucocorticoid Hyporeactive Rats: A Model for ‘Pathological’ Aggression?. Journal Of Neuroendocrinology,13(1), 102-107.
Huesmann, L. (2007). The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research.Journal Of Adolescent Health, 41(6), S6-S13.
Lin, J. (2013). Identification Matters: A Moderated Mediation Model of Media Interactivity, Character Identification, and Video Game Violence on Aggression. Journal Of Communication, 63(4), 682-702.
Recuero, R. (2015). Social Media and Symbolic Violence. Social Media + Society, 1(1).
Report of the Media Violence Commission. (2012). Aggressive Behavior, 38(5), 335-341.
Rosaen, S., Boyson, A., & Smith, S. (2006). Aggression-Related Characteristics and the Selection of Media Violence. Zeitschrift Für Medienpsychologie, 18(3), 119-130.
Scharrer, E. (2005). Hypermasculinity, Aggression, and Television Violence: An Experiment. Media Psychology, 7(4), 353-376.
Soledad Liliana Escobar-Chaves, & Craig A. Anderson,. (2008). Media and Risky Behaviors. The Future Of Children, 18(1), 147-180.
Sotskova, A. & Woodin, E. (2013). Posttraumatic Stress, Partner Violence Victimization, and Harmful Drinking: Risk Factors for Relationship Discord in New Parents. Journal Of Interpersonal Violence, 28(17), 3319-3341.
Wagar, L. & Mandracchia, J. (2016). Criminogenic Thinking Mediates the Relation Between Violent Media Exposure and Aggression. Journal Of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(5), 537-554.
Wolfer, R. & Hewstone, M. (2015). Intra- Versus Intersex Aggression: Testing Theories of Sex Differences Using Aggression Networks. Psychological Science, 26(8), 1285-1294.