Department of Communication
Master of Arts
An institution such as broadcasting affects and is affected by the society, which encompasses the viewers and listeners it serves. The increase in crime and violence and the fear of crime may actually help explain the popularity of TV violence. Media violence has been a topic of popular interest right from the fifties, when television was still being applauded as one more of those human marvels. Therefore, for my study, I will concentrate on television, a medium that involves both the visual and hearing senses and to which young people are particularly drawn. The sample for this study involved five schools in Nashville, Tennessee. A random sample of 210 children in the age group of 11 to 16 years were asked to answer a questionnaire designed to determine the effect of television violence on young minds. The study is an introspective one, and the questions required the young people to 'look into themselves' and speculate on why they do what they do. The study is not a laboratory analysis that involves extensive statistical methods. Rather, it is a self-report study asking for subjective introspective guesses that will help answer the research question of whether the sample accepts or denies being affected by television violence. In addition to media violence, other factors to be considered are peer pressure, self-validation, self-identification and initiation into a group. These factors that affect human behavior have been selected as independent variables in my study on the effect of TV violence on young minds The analysis of responses will follow a "Grounded Theory" approach, which is a general methodology for developing theory that is grounded in data systematically gathered and analyzed. The theory states that the hypothesis to be developed can evolve during actual research or existing schemes can be elaborated and modified as incoming data are played against them. I will elaborate on and modify the Social Learning theory proposed by Albert Bandura in the 60's. His theory is based on research that proves that children learn and reproduce television content under circumstances they believe are appropriate in which to reproduce the content as they have seen it. The Grounded Theory approach also suggests that the grounded theorists can utilize qualitative as well as quantitative techniques of analysis. Some of the close-ended questions will be illustrated by pie charts, and the report of some questions will include percentage tables where the percentage differences are significant. The importance of this study seems obvious since, first, there are very few studies done at such grassroots levels on the impact of TV violence. In fact, even at the most urban and elite levels, there are very few studies made for the general readership. Here, then, is a beginning in a small but truthful way to fill the void. Second, the present study can add to already existing literature and aid future research on this topic. Future studies on media violence are necessary, due in part to the everchanging human mind and to the change in media content itself. Third, the researcher can point towards certain areas that can be undertaken for indepth study by others. Fourth, the results could reveal interesting facts for both viewers and local television stations and, of course, college students in Broadcasting and Communication curricula. Finally, since the study is an introspective, self-report trying to present the beliefs, attitudes and the behavior of the individual as he/she perceives them, we can find out whether there is a selffulfilling psychology at work which, in turn, sheds light on some interesting facts about human mental processes in relation to television violence.
Communication | Psychology
Sagar, Nirupama, "Impact of Television Violence on Young Minds in an Urban Setting; An Introspective Study" (1995). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 882.