Term Paper: Mass Media Violence

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Mass Media Violence

The Impact of Mass Media Violence on U.S. Homicides by David Phillips (1983) describes how this author attempts to prove that mass media violence has an impact on aggressive behavior. To prove his point, Phillips chose to compare championship heavyweight prize fights for the period 1973-1978 with archived data of daily counts of U.S. homicides. His hypothesis was that these prize fights where violent behavior is rewarded had led to an increase in homicides.

Phillips performs a detailed time-series regression analysis on this data, correcting for secular trends, seasonality and various other extraneous variables. He found that immediately after the heavyweight championship prize fights homicides increased by 12.46% when there was widespread media coverage of the event. He found that the observed number of homicides rose by 11.127 after the average "publicized" fight, defined as discussed on the network evening news, and by only 2.8333 after the average unpublicized one. Further, Phillips found that there was a peak in homicides on the third-day after the boxing match.

More interestingly, murders of young white males increased after the defeat of a white boxer and murders of young black males increased after the defeat of a black boxer. This is what Phillips attributes to as victim modeling where imitation of behavior is taking place. Phillips suggests that seeing the behavior makes it more acceptable or at least introduces it as an option.

Phillips also discounted personal experience as being a factor in the increase in homicide by analyzing data on both domestic and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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