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Media Violence Effects: Confirmed Truth or Just Another X-File?

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice Volume: 9 Issue: 2 Dated: April-June 2009 Pages: 103-126
Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D.
Date Published
June 2009
24 pages
This article presents a critical review of the extant literature on media violence effects on violent criminal behavior.
It is argued that forensic psychologists should acknowledge that the link between media violence and societal violence, aside from the issue of validity measuring aggression, is not very strong. It is thought that societal efforts would be better directed at examining other influences that have a stronger effect on violent behavior such as poverty, family violence, or genetics. Several decades of research have focused on the relative impact of violent media, including television, video games, movies, and music on aggressive behavior in both children and adults. However, recent reviews of the literature in the field have concluded that evidence is unequivocal and that the debate over whether media violence increases aggression is basically over. This article concerns itself with claims of causality in the media violence literature with suggestions for positive directions for the future to help understand the link between media violence and violent criminal behavior. Suggestions for the role of forensic psychologists in communicating media violence research information to courts and the public are also provided. References