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Psychol Bull. 1991 May;109(3):371-83.

Effects of media violence on viewers' aggression in unconstrained social interaction.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843.


This article provides a meta-analytic review of the experimental effects of media violence on viewers' aggression in unstructured social interaction. In the reviewed experiments, children or adolescents were exposed to violent or control presentations and their postexposure behavior was coded for aggression during spontaneous social interaction. Exposure to media violence significantly enhanced viewers' aggressive behavior when the findings were aggregated across studies, but the effect was not uniform across investigations. Only suggestive evidence was obtained concerning moderators of the effect: Marginally stronger relations were obtained in those studies using a cross-section of the normal population of children (vs. emotionally disturbed children) and in those studies conducted in laboratory settings (vs. other contexts).

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