This literature review is based on the effects of television violence
on children. More specifically, it deals with the relationship found
between television violence and aggression found in young children. I chose
this topic because I found it interesting to learn that studies have indeed
found a connection between television viewing and the behavior of people,
The first study reviewed is entitled “Television Violence and
Children’s Aggression: Testing the Priming. Social script, and
Disinhibition Predictions,” by Wendy Josephson. Josephson begins her study
by commenting on other studies which pertain to the idea of television
violence leading to aggressiveness in children’s behavior. She acknowledges
that, in fact, there are still differing views over whether or not behavior
is affected by the violence. However, Josephson tends to rely more on the
idea that it is affected and feels that more research should be directed to
Mostly, attention is focused on factors such as the disinhibition
effect and cue-triggered aggression. Josephson aims to differentiate these
two areas and how they are affected by television violence. The overall
purpose of her study is to research the effect this violence has on boys’
aggression. Special emphasis is placed on factors such as teacher-rated
characteristic aggressiveness in the boys, timing of frustration (before or
after watching the televised violence, and violence related cues.
Josephson’s study is detailed and technical. However, sometimes it
gets very difficult to understand the study due to the many advanced,
technical terms used. The purpose of the study is somewhat easy to
determine, and the three hypotheses on which she bases her research on are
outlined clearly in the end of the review. It is understandable, from the
review, how she came to her hypotheses.
The second study reviewed is by Leonard D. Eron. Titled “Interventions
to Mitigate the Psychological Effects of Media Violence on Aggressive
Behavior,” it begins with Eron’s realization that although many studies
were conducted which support the link between violence on television and
aggressive behavior, very few studies have been conducted which attempt to
intervene between the two. Interventions between television violence and
aggression could be useful because, then studies could be conducted on
reducing the effects of violence on the viewer.
Also, the results of such a study could be helpful in researching the
cause and effect relationship which may exist between the two. However,
this would require that the interventions pertain exclusively to television
viewing and that any other areas of intervention are controlled. If the
aggressive behavior is reduced, it could support the theory of a causal
effect as convincingly as a study performed in a carefully controlled
The literature review is clear and easy to understand. Eron states at
the beginning what his study is about. However, it is not clear in the
review, at first, that his study deals with young children. This should
have been more apparent since different results are expected depending on
who the study involves. It is apparent, however, that his intentions are to
study the results which would come from a study involving intervening
variables between television violence and aggressive behavior.
“Effects of Realistic TV Violence vs. Fictional Violence on
Aggression” by Charles Atkin is the third study to be reviewed. Atkin’s
study starts off by stating that much evidence supports the theory that
televised violence contributes to rising amounts of aggression found among
young people. He focuses his literature review on the aspect of reality vs.
fantasy in violence. More realistic forms of violence are said to lead to
His study deals with the comparison of aggressive responses in pre-
adolescents to real news violence and fictional entertainment violence.
Reality, in the case of these studies, is perceived by the viewer. The
viewer determines whether or not the violence appears real by the extent to
which the events really did or could exist in the real world or through
similarities which the event holds with the viewers social or physical
If a violent situation appears real, the viewer is more likely to
identify with it. Therefore, it is said to lead to more aggression than
violence in unrealistic situations. Atkins seeks, in his study, causal
evidence of impact which takes into account reality violence, fantasy
violence, and no violence treatments.
Atkin gives a clear, understandable idea of what his study is about.
This lit review was very well done. His purpose was clear and his
hypotheses were well explained at the end of the review. By explaining the
information lacking in previous studies, it was easy to see how he came to
these hypotheses and what he intends to accomplish.
The fourth and final study to be reviewed is titled “Intervening
Variables in the TV Violence-Aggression Relation: Evidence from Two
Countries” by L.R. Huesmann, K. Lagerspertz, and L. Eron. These researchers
attempt to determine the boundary conditions under which the theory of
television violence leading to aggression pertains. They also set out to
study the impact intervening variables, such as age, culture, and sex, have
on the tv violence-aggression relation. Finally, they attempt to further
examine how the viewing of television violence relates to aggression.
Most of their study focuses on children imitating what they observe.
However, they acknowledge the fact that these observations may be altered
due to the society in which they live, their age, or their sex. Therefore,
Huesmann, Lagerspertz, and Eron stress the necessity of conducting similar
methods of study in various kinds of cultures to gain the necessary
information for obtaining a general view of the effects of television
violence on children.
Their hypotheses, which pertain to the question of why television
affects males more than females, are clearly stated. In fact, the whole
literature review is pretty clear and straightforward. The purpose, however,
of the study is not really clear until close to the end. It is difficult to
figure out where the actual study begins and where the review ends. Most of
the other reviews clearly mark where the methodology starts.
In conclusion, the studies all basically aim to learn more about the
connection between television violence and aggression among young children.
However, the majority of the studies deal primarily with the effect of the
violence on males. Therefore, females seem to be hardly ever thought of as
a different category in this area. Only one of the studies even mentioned
the use of females to achieve different results. Most of the studies were
easy to comprehend, and the researchers were fairly straightforward in what
they expected to accomplish with their studies.