Aggressive acts in popular TV programmes Essay

Published: 2020-02-23 18:00:10
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Category: Aggressive

Type of paper: Essay

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In this piece of coursework I am trying to find out whether aggressive acts in popular TV programmes cause children to act more violently. The participants used in this experiment will be children aged between 5 and 10. I think that the more aggressive acts there are in the popular TV programmes the more aggressive the child will act after watching the programme. Most of us recognise aggression when we see it but the reason the person is being aggressive we find hard to determine. One common way to determine aggression is by saying there are 2 types instrumental and hostile aggression. Instrumental aggression is used to achieve a specific goal, perhaps to protect yourself or to try and get your own way. This form of aggression is not always accompanied by anger. Hostile aggression is aimed at damaging someone or something, and is often done in anger.

The social learning theory says that we learn not only through reinforcement but also by observing other people and imitating their behaviour, which is called observational learning. A psychologist named Albert Bandura studies of aggression are based on the teachings of the social learning theory. He found out the following points: Observation Always we are watching people, and children in particular spend a lot of time observing others. While observing others they pick up on what they say and how they say it. The see how other people react to what is said or done, and observe the consequences of other peoples behaviour.

If the behaviour is imitated by the observer we know the behaviour has been learned. For example a boy might kick his teddy bear in the same way as he seen his hero in a cartoon punch another character. The child may imitate the sounds which the hero in a cartoon makes. If the hero was rewarded or shown admiration for its actions in the cartoon then the child is more likely to imitate the heros behaviour. This is an example of vicarious reinforcement.

Reinforcement If the child is rewarded for its actions it is more likely to perform the behaviour. If the boy imitates a character on the TV and is rewarded by the carer the behaviour is likely to continue. If the carer disapproves of the behaviour of the child and punishes then the child is less likely to perform the behaviour again. Albert Banduras Research On Aggression Albert Bandura performed a number of experiments which focused on the effect of children watching an adult behave aggressively.

For example, Bandura and friends (1961) arranged for an adult to hit and kick a large inflatable doll (called a Bobo doll) whilst the child was in the room. Afterwards the child had a chance to play with a variety of toys, including the doll, whilst the adult was present. Bandura in later experiments changed this procedure, because he showed a child a film of someone being aggressive to the doll in the environmental condition. In the control condition children watched a non-violent film. They were watched afterwards whilst playing and a number of incidents of aggression were noted. When participants were asked to replicate as much of the models behaviour as they could remember, most were able to do so accurately regardless of whether the model had been reinforced or punished. Some of the children who had not been aggressive towards the doll, even though they could do so accurately when asked. These children had learned the behaviour even though they did not imitate it.

The Role Of The Media In Aggression Banduras research indicated that children could learn new ways of being aggressive from their observation of models. This raised the question of what role the media might play in encouraging aggression and violence in society. The way aggression and violence in films, cartoons, TV programmes, computer games and books are presented provides models which children and adults may imitate. As a result of this, there was a huge increase in the research to discover the level and type of violence shown in the media, and what role the medias presentation of violence might play in aggressive behaviour.

T. Williams and colleagues (1986), studied children in three Canadian towns and were compared to discover whether television had an influence on their levels of aggression. At the start of the study, one town had no television (Notel), another town had one channel (Unitel) and a third had several channels (Multitel). A year later Notel had one channel, Unitel had two channels. The researchers measured childrens levels of aggression before channels were added and again one year afterwards. The observed the children in playgrounds, and asked teachers and children to rate aggression. Aggression both verbally and physically increased after Notel children began watching TV, and this for both boys and girls. In addition Williams found a positive correlation between the amount of time a child watched TV and the amount of aggression he or she showed.

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