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Violent media content and aggressiveness in adolescents: A negative feedback-loop model
Unformatted Document Text:  A negative feedback-loop model page 6 A Negative Feedback-loop Model of Media Effects on Youth The empirical evidence, as Anderson & Bushman (2002) summarize, clearly supports a relationship between consumption of media violence and aggression among youth. Empirical evidence, as noted above, is also supportive of a selective exposure mechanism, in which predispositions and tendencies that may be related to aggression also predict use of violent media content. These are not competing explanations. Recent research in uses and gratifications, for example, suggests that people select media content that meets their psychological needs (Finn, 1997; Krcmar & Greene, 2000). That does not by any means preclude the possibility that such selected exposure will increase anti-social attitudes or behavior associated with those psychological tendencies. In fact, we might expect persons attracted to violent media content because of their aggressive tendencies to be especially vulnerable to the effects of such exposure. There is an unfortunate tendency, perhaps borne of excessive familiarity with cross-sectional data, to speak of competing causal explanations when a causal flow may move in both directions. It is only slightly less misleading, in cases such as these, to speak in terms of reciprocal relationships. Reciprocal relationships over time by definition should be mutually reinforcing, a cybernetic feedback loop (Wiener, 1965). When the drives, the behaviors, and their consequences are positive, the long-term outcomes of such feedback loops can be expected to be positive. When these drives, behaviors, and consequences are anti-social and potentially destructive, they represent a downward spiral, perhaps modest in slope, perhaps in some cases dramatic.

Authors: Slater, Michael., Swaim, Randall. and Anderson, Lori.
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A negative feedback-loop model page 6
A Negative Feedback-loop Model of Media Effects on Youth
The empirical evidence, as Anderson & Bushman (2002) summarize, clearly
supports a relationship between consumption of media violence and aggression among
youth. Empirical evidence, as noted above, is also supportive of a selective exposure
mechanism, in which predispositions and tendencies that may be related to aggression
also predict use of violent media content.
These are not competing explanations. Recent research in uses and gratifications,
for example, suggests that people select media content that meets their psychological
needs (Finn, 1997; Krcmar & Greene, 2000). That does not by any means preclude the
possibility that such selected exposure will increase anti-social attitudes or behavior
associated with those psychological tendencies. In fact, we might expect persons
attracted to violent media content because of their aggressive tendencies to be especially
vulnerable to the effects of such exposure.
There is an unfortunate tendency, perhaps borne of excessive familiarity with
cross-sectional data, to speak of competing causal explanations when a causal flow may
move in both directions. It is only slightly less misleading, in cases such as these, to
speak in terms of reciprocal relationships. Reciprocal relationships over time by
definition should be mutually reinforcing, a cybernetic feedback loop (Wiener, 1965).
When the drives, the behaviors, and their consequences are positive, the long-term
outcomes of such feedback loops can be expected to be positive. When these drives,
behaviors, and consequences are anti-social and potentially destructive, they represent a
downward spiral, perhaps modest in slope, perhaps in some cases dramatic.


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