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Cognitive Psychology of Violence

  • By: Richard Jackson Harris
  • In: Encyclopedia of Media Violence
  • Edited by: Matthew S. Eastin
  • Subject:Mass Communication, Aggression & Violence, Violence & Society

Although the subfield of psychology that has most often studied media violence has been social psychology, there are also numerous cognitive aspects of the experience of media violence. This entry looks at several of these. Although effects of media violence such as imitating violent behavior and desensitization toward violence are far better known, violent media also provide regular input to the construction of knowledge about real-world violence. Such cognitions have enormous implications for thought and behavior.

Cognition in Mass Communication Theories

Most of the major theories of mass communication effects have some cognitive aspects to them. Some of these theories and their respective cognitive aspects are discussed in this section.

Cultivation Theory

One theory with a central cognitive component is cultivation theory, which posits that repeated heavy media consumption ...

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