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Desensitization Effects on Society

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

In the debate about potentially harmful effects of exposure to violent media, a central argument is that people who watch a lot of violent movies and television programs or play a lot of violent video games get used to the violence they see or enact in virtual reality and, as a consequence, find it less troublesome in the real world. This process is called “desensitization.” According to the general aggression model (GAM), proposed by Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman (2001), desensitization to violence plays a key role in explaining how repeated exposure to violent media contributes to the development of an aggressive personality. This entry introduces desensitization as a theoretical concept for understanding how exposure to violent media may influence people’s responses ...

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