Introduction Murray (540) in Australia, Greenberg (422) in Great Britain, and Rosengren and his colleagues (579) in Sweden all found significant relationships between television viewing and aggression. The consequences of repeated viewings may not be simply additive. A number of researchers, including Donnerstein (353), Drabman & Thomas (365), Malamuth (512, 514),Linz, Donnerstein, & Penrod (505), Thomas & Drabman (627), Thomas, Horton, Lippincott, & Drabman (628), and Zillmann (670), have demonstrated decreasing sensitivity and responsiveness with repeated exposure to violence in the media. Children took longer to seek adult assistance when confronted with violent behavior of younger children. Violence appeared to be more acceptable and less offensive to adults. Emotional reaction to violent scenes and even to real violence was reduced as a result of media exposure to violence. A more specific connection between certain acts of television violence and similar acts in real life was found in a series of studies by Phillips and his associates (554, 555, 556, 562). In one study national suicide statistics in the New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, and the London Daily Mirror for each month during the period from 1946 to 1968 were used to investigate the impact of front page suicides on suicide trends. The number of suicides increased proportionately with the amount of publicity devoted to a suicide story. In another study, daily motor vehicle fatalities in California, from 1966 to 1973, and front page suicide stories from five major California newspapers were examined to test theories of suggestion and imitation. Three days after a publicized suicide, motor vehicle fatalities increased by thirty-one percent. The more the suicide was publicized, the more the automibile fatalities increased. Further studies documented similar relationships between highly publicized homicides, fictional suicides, prizefights, and court-imposed sentences. Cultivation Analysis Research by the Cultural Indicators research team (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, & Signorielli, 403, 405, 406, 407) has taken yet another approach to the investigation of television and violence, broadening the scope from looking for aggressive or violent effects to inquiring into the wider consequences of living with a media in which complex images of violence are deeply and inescapably embedded. Cultural Indicators research has developed a conception of television violence as a compelling demonstration of power with many lessons for all regular viewers, though not necessarily the same for all groups. The relative commonality of conceptions among the heavy viewers of otherwise distinct demographic groups, blending in with the main currents of television to which all groups are exposed, is called "mainstreaming." The tendency of viewing to cultivate conceptions relating to stable styles of life and television use is called "cultivation." While the convergence of other research has established xvii
Previous Page Next Page