Do violent movies, games make teens aggressive?
October 18th, 2010
07:15 PM ET

Do violent movies, games make teens aggressive?

Watching violence portrayed in movies and other media may make teens more accepting of violence, researchers report in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Previous research has shown a connection between violent media and aggression, as well as violence and desensitization. But this study looks at how teenagers' brains specifically respond to violent media, said Jordan Grafman, senior investigator at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Participants in the study were 22 boys ages 14 to 17. For that reason, researchers cannot determine whether the brain patterns they observed would also apply to girls. This is also a small sample size, meaning more research should be done to confirm the results.

Each participant watched clips of violent scenes from 60 different videos, which included movies such as "World's Wildest Street Fights Vol. 1 and 2," Grafman said, and rated the aggression of the scenes. Researchers could observe their brain function because each boy watched these scenes while in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner.

These brain images showed that more aggressive violence was associated with desensitization in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex of the brain, which scientists believe has to do with emotions and emotional responses to events. They measured this by looking at the deoxygenation of blood in this area of the brain and how it changes over time.

Participants also wore electrodes on the fingers of one hand to measure the electrical conductance of the skin, which indicates emotion. This was used to look at how desensitized the boys were to different videos, depending on the level of violence. This electrical conductance test showed that the boys appeared to be more desensitized by the mildly and moderately violent videos than the ones with a low-level of violence.

Boys who had the greatest level of exposure to violent media routinely showed the greatest desensitization in this study.

If you already have a predisposition toward violence, based on your home  life and genetics, and are exposing yourself to violent media, "the risk would go up for being, first, accepting of violent or aggressive behavior around you, which be often as devastating as actually committing the act, or potentially being more easily provoked," Grafman said.

That assessment does not apply to these individual children in the study, but it's the study's broader message, he said.

"Sometimes people just call these 'games,' but imagine if you're doing this three hours a day, four hours a day; it's not just 'games,' it's your environment, he said."

Although the study did not directly address the issue of violence in video games, previous research found that "emotional desensitization had been associated with children’s exposure to violent video games and adults' self-reported reduced sympathy with victims in violent movie scenes," Grafman's study said.

But there may be a flip side to video games with some degree of violence. A September study in the journal Current Biology found that participants ages 18 to 25 could make faster decisions that were no less accurate after playing action games such as "Call of Duty 2" and "Unreal Tournament," which are first-person shooter games.

The lesson from that is not to carve out as much time for video games as you can, said Alexandre Pouget of the University of Rochester,  co-author of the Current Biology paper. Rather, exploring how video games help with quick thinking can translate into educational tools and games that more effectively teach useful skills, he said.

For children over 6 years of age, pediatricians recommend no more than two hours of screen time per day, said Dr. Jennifer Shu, CNNHealth living well expert. But some studies have shown that, in practice, many kids spend about 7 hours a day in front of some kind of screen, including smart phones.

Parents should put limits on-screen time, she said. It's a cause for concern if a child becomes hyperactive, has attention problems, doesn't sleep well or get enough exercise because of things like video games and television.

soundoff (1,231 Responses)
  1. RV Roof Los Angeles


    May 27, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Tembepteriope

    tadalafil side effects side effects for tadalafil buy generic cialis online with mastercard tadalafil online with out prescription https://tadalafilww.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Soosteemocush

    buy cialis pills cheapest tadalafil cost tadalafil online cost of cialis https://tadalafilww.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 06:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Luis Schwent

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I genuinely thought you would have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you can fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.


    May 27, 2021 at 07:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. ZisseVed

    order cialis with dapoxtine https://krocialis.com/ – cialis soft tabs canadian pharmacy cialis purchase

    May 27, 2021 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Kitchen Los Angeles


    May 27, 2021 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rv sales orange county

    May I just say what a relief to find somebody that really understands what they're discussing on the internet. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people have to look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular because you most certainly have the gift.


    May 27, 2021 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. EncoxDev

    online canadian discount pharmacy hrt online pharmacy cheap canadian pharmacy online

    May 27, 2021 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. temecula tv repair

    Excellent post. I'm going through many of these issues as well..


    May 27, 2021 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. furniture repair shops near me

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your web page.


    May 27, 2021 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. tausAffessy

    lowest price cialis https://tadagatadalafil.com/ side effects of tadalafil cialis tadalafil generic cialis tadalafil

    May 27, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Social Media Marketing Experts


    May 27, 2021 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. solar installation orange county


    May 27, 2021 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Camera Near Me


    May 28, 2021 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. motorhome inspection near me


    May 28, 2021 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. trailer repair service near me


    May 28, 2021 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Zisseloh

    generic cialis cheap https://rcialisgl.com/ – generic cialis 2018 cialis super active 20 mg

    May 28, 2021 at 06:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. EncoxHtf

    buy cialis non prescription https://cialishav.com/ – cialis cheap generic can cialis cause heartburn

    May 28, 2021 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Generator Orange County

    Good post. I am going through many of these issues as well..


    May 28, 2021 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rv storage in orange county ca


    May 28, 2021 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. EncoxGtv

    prednisolone online pharmacy canada pharmacy on line reviews envision rx specialty pharmacy

    May 28, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Roof Los Angeles


    May 28, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Interior Remodeling California


    May 28, 2021 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Frame Repair Shop Near Me


    May 29, 2021 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. CrulkAsd

    best price cialis 20mg https://cialisjla.com/ – cialis pricing cialis store in qatar

    May 29, 2021 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Windshield Replacement Shop

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always exciting to read through articles from other writers and practice a little something from other sites.


    May 29, 2021 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Leisure Travel Van Repair

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I believe that you ought to write more about this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people don't discuss these issues. To the next! Best wishes!!


    May 29, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. EncoxHtf

    cialis 100 https://cialishav.com/ – non prescription cialis 365 pills viagra cialis professional

    May 30, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. MileSwa

    cialis without perscription https://ckacialis.com/ – cialis mit dapoxetine 36 hour cialis price

    May 30, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Social Media Marketing Specialists

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe that this web site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!


    May 30, 2021 at 05:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. ZisseVed

    real cialis on line ordering https://krocialis.com/ – generic cialis online overnight on line cialis

    May 30, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. CrulkAsd

    cialis black 800mg https://cialisjla.com/ – how much is cialis without insurance generic cialis

    May 30, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Van Frame Repair Shop

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 31, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Camper Repair Near Me

    I'm more than happy to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new information in your site.


    May 31, 2021 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Nissan Luxury Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It is the little changes which will make the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    May 31, 2021 at 05:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Winnebago Van Repair Shop


    May 31, 2021 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Social Media Marketing Experts

    Great info. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    May 31, 2021 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Bus Repair Shop Near Me

    May I simply say what a comfort to discover a person that actually understands what they're discussing over the internet. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people ought to look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren't more popular since you surely possess the gift.


    May 31, 2021 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Authorized Sprinter Repair Shop


    May 31, 2021 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Sprinter Van Mechanic


    June 1, 2021 at 00:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Ford Luxury Van Repair Shop

    Hi there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to send this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!


    June 1, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. EncoxAni

    Viagra with Dapoxetine pharmacy uk walmart store hours pharmacy

    June 1, 2021 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. EncoxGtv

    northwest drugs canada Rulide Arcoxia

    June 1, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. EncoxDev

    canada pharmacy prescription drug store is it legal to order drugs from canada canada pharmaceuticals online

    June 1, 2021 at 03:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sprinter Repair Codes

    I quite like reading an article that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!


    June 1, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Zisseloh

    generic cialis pills cialis pre workout herbal cialis gnc

    June 1, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. EncoxAni

    caremark online pharmacy canadian pharmacies list pharmacy bachelor degree online

    June 1, 2021 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. bus paint shop

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the site is also really good.


    June 1, 2021 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. City Bus Repair Shop Near Me


    June 1, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. ZisseVed

    where to buy liquid cialis generic cialis online canada generic cialis 7days

    June 1, 2021 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.