This story is from the category The Brain
Date posted: 07/03/2012
Research over the past few decades has shown that viewing physical violence in the media can increase aggression in adults and children. But a new study, co-authored by an Iowa State University psychology professor, has also found that onscreen relational aggression -- including social exclusion, gossip and emotional bullying -- may prime the brain for aggression.
Douglas Gentile, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State, was one of four authors of the study "'Frenemies, Fraitors, and Mean-em-aitors': Priming effects of viewing physical and relational aggression in the media on women," which was recently published by the journal Aggressive Behavior. The study of 250 college women showed that mean screens may also activate the neural networks that guide behavior.
"What this study shows is that relational aggression actually can cause a change in the way you think," said Gentile, who runs the Media Research Lab at Iowa State. "And that matters because of course, how you think can change your behavior."
Sarah Coyne and David Nelson, both researchers in Brigham Young University's School of Family Life; and Jennifer Ruh Linder, a professor of psychology at Linfield College (Ore.), were the study's other authors.
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