The Relationship Between Media Violence and Aggressive Thoughts

When we think of the media, we may not realize just how much it influences the way we think. In this day and age the media is at an all time high. Whether its the news, radio, social media or TV, the media is out there for everyone to see. Everything we see on the media can affect the way we think. Violence for instance is a big influencer. If we are constantly seeing violence on the media this will trigger us to begin to have aggressive thoughts.

In applied social psychology there was a study done by Berkowitz in 1984 that suggested a neoassociationistic model of media priming. “Priming refers to the effect of preceding stimulus or event on how we react to a subsequent stimulus.” (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). An example of priming would be seeing a shooting on the media, and then reacting to it in an aggressive way, such as starting a fight with someone at school.

The media should be aware that people are influenced by the things they post. Violence in the society today is and ongoing problem. Priming is an effect of how we are influenced by the media. The relationship between media violence and aggressive behavior is very strong. According to (Bushman, B. J., & Huesmann, L. R. 2006) there is more of a short term effect of violent media on adults and a long term effect on children. This is because adults are more effected by the priming and children are more effected by learned behavior. Adults already grew up with norms and they are more aware of what is going on around them in the society. Therefore they have a more short term influence on the media violence. Children on the other hand are still growing up and learning the norms, so if they are constantly seeing violence on the media, they will keep putting that information in the back of their head which then will result in a long term influence due to the learning process.

In conclusion, violence on the media and aggressive behavior have a strong relationship. If people are seeing violence on a daily basis spread throughout the media, this will then lead them to aggressive thoughts and behaviors both short and long term. The media should be more aware of what they are putting out there for everyone to see. This may then stop what seems to be like an epidemic of aggressive or violent behaviors in society.



Bushman, B. J., & Huesmann, L. R. (2006). Short-term and long-term effects of violent media on aggression in children and adults. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 160(4), 348-352.

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems(2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.


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