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Television Born Killers This essay attempts to evaluate the view that television violence is a cause of real world violence Several studies supporting and opposing this view are examined as well as Gerbners cultivation theory which provides an alternative view The critique offered by Cumberbatch has been applied where relevant and his views on some major methodological problems evident in research in this field are also highlighted The overall pattern of research findings indicates a positive association between television violence and aggressive behaviour A Washington Post article Oldenburg 1992 pE5 states that the preponderance of evidence from more than 3000 research studies over two decades shows that the violence portrayed on television influences the attitudes and behaviour of children who watch it Signorielli 1991 finds that Most of the scientific evidence reveals a relationship between television and aggressive behaviour While few would say that there is absolute proof that watching television caused aggressive behaviour the overall cumulative weight of all the studies gives credence to the position that they are related p 94-95 The question is whether these generalised lab findings can be equated with real life The experiments done in this field are all controlled They do not correlate with real life problems While these experiments support the argument many do not live up to good empirical research Cumberbatch 1989 examined the main methodological problems he felt were evident in many major studies of the relationship between television violence and aggression He focused on five areas that cause problems and question the validity of certain studies Firstly researchers have difficulty in handling non significant results They tend to ignore these and focus only on significant findings which can lead to false conclusions about the genuine effects of television violence on society Secondly the effects of mass media research are viewed as a unidimensional process The researchers do not take into account that the aggressor
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