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Situational Influences on Aggressive Reactions to Media Violence

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

In explaining why exposure to a violent movie or video game may heighten the relatively shortlived chance that some audience members will act aggressively, many researchers have attributed this enhanced risk largely to the priming of existing aggressive scripts and attitudes in the media users, causing the users to believe that aggression is appropriate and/or rewarding (e.g., Media Violence Commission, 2012). To some extent, though, what the viewers and/or players do for a short time after the media exposure can also be affected by situation, including the characteristics of the persons they happen to encounter. These persons might be regarded by the viewers as either safe or dangerous to attack, so that the media users’ restraints against aggression are lowered or raised. In addition, the ...

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