Explanations of media influences: Disinhibition

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  • Created on: 13-06-22 14:17
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  • Disinhibition
    • watching or playing violent media may change these standards of what is considered acceptable behaviour
      • Exposure to violent media can legitimise the use of violence by the individual in their own lives because it undermines the social sanctions that usually inhibit such behaviour
    • Reduces impulse control and perceived change in social norms
      • Aggression becomes normalised
      • P - Research suggests that disinhibition is more likely in situations where viewers are not exposed to the negative consequences of violent behaviour.
        • E - E For example, Goranson (1969) showed people a film of a boxing match where there were two alternative endings.
          • E - In one ending, there were no apparent consequences, but in the second ending, the loser of the fight was seen to take a bad beating and he dies. Participants who do not see the negative consequences were more likely to behave aggressively after viewing the fight than were those who did see the consequences.
            • L - This supports the suggestion that disinhibition may be far more likely in violent media where the negative consequences are not made apparent to or understood by viewers.
      • P - A real world application of research in this field is the introduction of age restrictions on computer games.
        • E - All games are age-rated by the Video Standards Council (VSC) and retailers that sell titles with ratings of 12, 16 or 18 years to children below the age limits will be subject to prosecution.
          • E - Games are rated 18-years and over if there is a "gross" level of violence likely to make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion.
            • L - This means that the influence of media should be contained and not affect children's levels of aggression.
      • P -The likelihood of disinhibition taking place is determined by a number of factors, some of which relate to the viewers themselves, and some to the context in which media are viewed.
        • E - For example, younger children are more likely to be affected because they are more likely to be drawn into high-action violent episodes without considering the motives or consequences of the violence (Collins, 1989).
          • E - Furthermore, children growing up in households with strong norms against violence are unlikely to experience sufficient disinhibition for them to exhibit aggressive behaviour, whereas the disinhibition effect is stronger in families where children experience physical punishment from their parents
            • L - This demonstrates that the relationship between media violence and disinhibition is not a straightforward one, and is mediated by a number of individual and social characteristics.
      • P - The relationship between media influences and aggression is deterministic as it suggests playing violent video games leads to an increase in aggression.
        • E - However, many studies in this area are correlational
          • E - If a positive correlation between playing violent computer games and aggressive behaviour is found we cannot conclude that playing violent computer games causes people to become more aggressive. It may be that people who are already aggressive are drawn to violent computer games.
            • L - This means that a major limitation of this method is the inability to draw cause and effect conclusions about media influences and aggression.


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