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Television Violence

Kenneth D. Gadow, PhD; Joyce Sprafkin, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(6):595-596. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810180095014.
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To the Editor.—  We commend the ARCHIVES for publishing the review of Heath et al1 of the media violence literature, a topic that remains controversial even after several decades of research. Although we endorse some of their conclusions, we take exception to the interpretation of the four field experiments that they presented as exemplars of behavioral effects. First, Feshbach and Singer2 did not find that "boys in some of the homes had increases in aggression, while boys in other homes had decreases in aggression as a result of a television diet high in aggressive content. " Quite the contrary. It was the nonviolent television material that made adolescents in "boys' homes" more physically aggressive. Youths in private residential schools, as a group, were relatively unaffected either by violent or nonviolent shows. Furthermore, although the field experiments reported by Parke et al3 did show that aggression-laden movies induced aggressive

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