This definitive examination of a contemporary social issue asks questions such as: How much media violence is there? What are the meanings conveyed in the way violence is portrayed? What effect does it have on viewers? Divided into four parts, the book reviews research on media violence; re-examines existing theories of media violence; considers methodological tools used to assess media, and introduces the concept of Lineation Theory, a perspective and new theoretical approach explaining media violence.

Theories of Media Violence

Theories of media violence

A wide range of theories provides explanations about aggression and the media's role in creating or shaping it. In this chapter, I review the contributions made by the theoreticians by organizing those major theories into four groups. The first three of these categories (biological theories, ecological theories, and cognitive theories) focus their explanations primarily in one domain. The fourth category (interactionist theories) draws ideas from across domains.

Biological Theories

Biological theories focus primarily on human physiological characteristics to explain the genesis and shaping of aggression. From this biological point of view, aggression has been explained in terms of instincts and hormones.


Animal ethologists view aggression as an instinct. For example, Lorenz (1963) says that the instinct of aggression in animals serves ...

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