Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Topic: Student Aggression

10-second review: What are some predictors of student aggression?

Title: “Personality, Parents and Media Influences on Aggressive Personality and Violent Crime in Young Adults.” CJ Ferguson, et al. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma. 17 (4), 395-414, 2008.

Summary: Finds that personality and family physical abuse are significant predictors of aggression, while media exposure is not.

Comment: Hard to argue with this conclusion, except for one point. I find it difficult to believe that the frequency of violence in the media and on video games does not increase the tendency to aggression.

I realize that a single incident is not conclusive evidence of the effect of violence in the media, but one young man, attempting to rob a florist in our neighborhood, stabbed the owner of the shop repeatedly while yelling in exasperation, “Why don’t you die? Why don’t you die?” I speculate that all of the killings in the media and on video games are quick, not dwelling on the suffering of the victim, and when this young man was involved in the real thing, he expected the same quick death in real life as on video. (By the way, the owner of the florist shop survived and the young, violent thief did considerable time in state prison.) The frequency of violence on video must make violence seem part of normal behavior to some young minds. RayS.

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