Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Violent Media Numb Viewers To The Pain Of Others

Date:
February 20, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Violent video games and movies make people numb to the pain and suffering of others, according to a research report published in Psychological Science.

Violent video games and movies make people numb to the pain and suffering of others, according to a research report published in the March 2009 issue of Psychological Science.

Related Articles


The report details the findings of two studies conducted by University of Michigan professor Brad Bushman and Iowa State University professor Craig Anderson.

The studies fill an important research gap in the literature on the impact of violent media. In earlier work, Bushman and Anderson demonstrated that exposure to violent media produces physiological desensitization—lowering heart rate and skin conductance—when viewing scenes of actual violence a short time later. But the current research demonstrates that violent media also affect someone's willingness to offer help to an injured person, in a field study as well as in a laboratory experiment.

"These studies clearly show that violent media exposure can reduce helping behavior," said Bushman, professor of psychology and communications and a research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

"People exposed to media violence are less helpful to others in need because they are 'comfortably numb' to the pain and suffering of others, to borrow the title of a Pink Floyd song," he said.

In one of the studies, 320 college students played either a violent or a nonviolent video game for approximately 20 minutes. A few minutes later, they overheard a staged fight that ended with the "victim" sustaining a sprained ankle and groaning in pain.

People who had played a violent game took significantly longer to help the victim than those who played a nonviolent game—73 seconds compared to 16 seconds. People who had played a violent game were also less likely to notice and report the fight. And if they did report it, they judged it to be less serious than did those who had played a nonviolent game.

In the second study, the participants were 162 adult moviegoers. The researchers staged a minor emergency outside the theater in which a young woman with a bandaged ankle and crutches "accidentally" dropped her crutches and struggled to retrieve them. The researchers timed how long it took moviegoers to retrieve the crutches. Half were tested before they went into the theater, to establish the helpfulness of people attending violent vs. nonviolent movies. Half were tested after seeing either a violent or a nonviolent movie. Participants who had just watched a violent movie took over 26 percent longer to help than either people going into the theater or people who had just watched a nonviolent movie.

The studies are part of an on-going research program into the causes and consequences of human aggression conducted by Bushman, who is also affiliated with VU University Amsterdam.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Violent Media Numb Viewers To The Pain Of Others." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090219202831.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2009, February 20). Violent Media Numb Viewers To The Pain Of Others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090219202831.htm
University of Michigan. "Violent Media Numb Viewers To The Pain Of Others." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090219202831.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr. Oz Under Fire For 'Quack Treatments' Yet Again

Dr. Oz Under Fire For 'Quack Treatments' Yet Again

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Ten doctors signed a letter urging Columbia University to drop Dr. Oz as vice chair of its department of surgery, saying he plugs "quack" treatments. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) WikiLeaks&apos; Julian Assange says the hacked emails and documents "belong in the public domain." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2015) Representatives from around 160 countries gather at the Hague to discuss cyber space and cyber security, including the dilemmas and challenges regarding the evolution of the internet. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins