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Social Learning From Media

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

Many models showing how preschool and school-age children learn from television have focused on the learning and imitation of violent behaviors. Arousal theory focuses on the physiological response children have to viewing violent content. According to this theory, children get “pumped up” when viewing violent programming. They have to focus that energy somewhere, which results in aggressive behavior or hyperactivity. Script theory suggests that by watching aggressive television children create expectations and scripts about aggressive behaviors that guide their own behaviors over time. According to script theory, children observe and model aggressive behaviors, which then become a part of their repertoire of responses. In contrast to these two theoretical approaches, social learning approaches to children’s learning from media have built on social cognitive theory, ...

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