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 Repairs Near My Location


    June 18, 2021 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair


    June 18, 2021 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Orange County California

    Good info. Lucky me I came across your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!


    June 18, 2021 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair California

    You should take part in a contest for one of the finest blogs online. I am going to highly recommend this blog!


    June 18, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repair Shops Nearby


    June 18, 2021 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks!


    June 19, 2021 at 00:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. tow truck near me

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.


    June 19, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair California


    June 19, 2021 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. breweries near me


    June 19, 2021 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. smoke shop near me


    June 19, 2021 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. I’d should examine with you here. Which isn’t something I normally do! I take pleasure in reading a submit that may make folks think. Also, thanks for permitting me to remark!

    Thank you for your sharing visit my web at here

    https://bioskop123.com/2021/06/02/film-streaming-white-bird-in-blizaard-2014/ https://bioskop123.com/2021/05/20/365-days-2020-full-streaming/

    June 19, 2021 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Lindsey Gers

    I’d should examine with you here. Which isn’t something I normally do! I take pleasure in reading a submit that may make folks think. Also, thanks for permitting me to remark! Thank you for your sharing visit my web at here


    June 19, 2021 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repair Orange County

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?


    June 19, 2021 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. truyen hinh online vtv3

    Trực Tiếp Bóng Đá Ngày Hôm Nay, Links Xem đá Bóng Trực Tuyến 24hthvl1 hdTheo thể thức thi đấu, đội thắng ở cặp đấu này sẽ giành tấm vé đến Lithuania trong ngày hội bóng đá lớn nhất thế giới đến futsal. Tuyển futsal Việt Nam bước vào trận play-off lượt đi tranh vé dự play-off World Cup 2021 với sự tự tin. Tuy vậy, HLV Phạm Minh Giang bày tỏ, toàn đội ko ngán Lebanon tuy vậy sẽ tìm cách để khắc chế sức mạnh của đối thủ bởi bên trên băng ghế huấn luyện là nhà cầm quân Ramiro Lopez, người từng dẫn dắt futsal Tây Ban Nha.|Dựa vào lịch thi đấu, quý khách có thể chuẩn bị xếp làm việc


    June 19, 2021 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Nearby RV Repair


    June 19, 2021 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    Hello, I do think your site might be having internet browser compatibility problems. When I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, great website!


    June 19, 2021 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you need to write more about this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but typically folks don't talk about these topics. To the next! Cheers!!


    June 19, 2021 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Sprinter Repair Orange County


    June 19, 2021 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Around Me


    June 19, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Repair San Clemente California

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?


    June 19, 2021 at 22:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Google Marketing Experts

    That is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very precise infoÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 20, 2021 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Content Marketing Service


    June 20, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Video Marketing Specialist


    June 20, 2021 at 05:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Digital Marketing Companies


    June 20, 2021 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Local Marketing Consultant

    Good day! I could have sworn Iíve visited this blog before but after looking at many of the articles I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím certainly happy I stumbled upon it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!


    June 20, 2021 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Social Media Marketing Specialist


    June 20, 2021 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Gidget Fantroy

    Hi there, I think your blog may be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic blog!


    June 20, 2021 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Britt Duffer


    June 20, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Dion Tenney

    That is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise informationÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 20, 2021 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Magaret Youkers

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this web site needs far more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the info!


    June 20, 2021 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Horacio Perico


    June 20, 2021 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. pharmacepticacom

    erectile stimulation treatment https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Lesley Chica

    I was very happy to uncover this site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to check out new stuff on your website.


    June 20, 2021 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Quinn Upham

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I am hoping to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own site now 😉


    June 20, 2021 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Gerry Printy


    June 20, 2021 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Sherilyn Maclin


    June 20, 2021 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Micki Bunselmeyer


    June 20, 2021 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Jannie Duplanti

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always helpful to read through articles from other authors and practice a little something from other websites.


    June 20, 2021 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Santa Ana

    I quite like looking through an article that can make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!


    June 20, 2021 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Nearby


    June 20, 2021 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. flowers near me

    I could not refrain from commenting. Very well written!


    June 21, 2021 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. golden corral near me

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It's always useful to read content from other authors and use something from their sites.


    June 21, 2021 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. office supply store near me

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you need to write more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but usually folks don't speak about such subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!


    June 21, 2021 at 02:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Nearest RV Repair

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your website.


    June 21, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a great articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a lot and don't manage to get anything done.


    June 21, 2021 at 04:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. chevy dealer near me


    June 21, 2021 at 05:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. verizon wireless near me


    June 21, 2021 at 05:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. urologist near me

    This web site really has all of the info I needed about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 21, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. shooting range near me

    Good post. I'm experiencing some of these issues as well..


    June 21, 2021 at 06:33 | 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.