Despite making billions of dollars a year from showing commercials (the entire purpose of which is to influence behavior), the entertainment industry loves to claim that viewer behavior is not influenced by violence shown in media. But a new report from the National Academy of Sciences says differently.
As reported in Broadcasting and Cable, a report released Wednesday by the Institute of Medicine (a division of the National Academy of Sciences) says that current evidence points to “a significant relationship exists between violent media exposure and some measures of aggression and violent behavior.”
The report was issued in response to President Obama’s executive order asking the Centers for Disease Control to study “the most pressing firearm-related violence research problems.” The CDC asked the Intitute of Medicine to help compile the report. After discussing the many studies already document a correlation between violence in entertainment and real-life violence, the report went on to suggest further research into “copycat crimes,” the imitation of specific acts of violence in media which have been imitated in reality. It also stated that sensationalistic news coverage of real-life violent tragedies like Aurora or Newtown may add to the problem.
It is gratifying that, at long last, government is beginning to take seriously the vast detrimental influence media violence has on viewers, especially children; but it is tragic that the entertainment industry itself continues to abandon responsibility for what it shows, and ignores and denies scientific fact.