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The television may offer more to the human mind than just a refreshing comedy or spine- chilling horror flick. Whether we can see it or not, the screen can affect more than just our lust for food seen on countless commercials . What we see on television may not only manipulate our minds to become lovey-dovey during romantic movies or edgy during thrillers, but may also pose as an unsuspecting employer of subliminal suggestion toward aggression.
Although not always subtle, the myriad programs and shows we “enjoy” each day may actually speak to our more belligerent side. Have you not ever felt tense during epic battle scenes or sense of competitiveness during an inspiring sport film? What may actually cause our possibility to become aggressive is by what we watch on TV and unconsciously form it as a stimulus, in which this case is conditional to receive an aggressive response. Aggression may be possible due to watching TV or other media due to unwanted conditioning toward stimuli requiring the flight-or- fight response. And fighting or suspenseful scenes just may do the trick.
Classical conditioning involves the manipulation of an unconditioned stimulus and response, thus creating the same unconditioned response with a new conditional stimuli. We may not know it, but we are constantly being and have been conditioned to countless stimuli. You would never touch a hot stove or run down an icy sidewalk. Your brain would associate the heat of the stovetop with burning and the ice with falling. Thus you save yourself from burning and falling. However, you may also subconsciously condition your mind to do other things. Watching TV may make people aggressive due to the TV being a conditioned stimulus itself. Aggression is a key characteristic of preparing oneself to fight in order for survival. The specimen—such as oneself—would become irritable and easily provoked to fight. This is often caused by a threat, fear, or the ferociousness of others. In this case, fear and display of aggression can be given through the various violent programs nowadays. The violence and fear unconditioned stimulus—of the TV shows may cause the unconditional response to become aggressive. Thus, after frequent exposure to watching TV as the source of the violent and fearful programs, a person may actually become aggressive from just watching TV. Thus watching TV may become the conditioned stimulus, and the aggression ultimately becomes the conditioned stimulus.
People have for many generations have seen violence in TV, and have not become uncivilized, aggressive bloodthirsty savages. However, violent and violence-suggestive TV shows and other media may just be the ultimate cause of subliminal hostility in people, especially younger children who think that you can only get what you want from fighting. Although not on purpose, the things people watch on TV can be quite harmful; and the violent things people do—especially if observed in real life—may just make violence a fully tangible experience for a person. Aggression is not necessary bad or wrong. However, it is worrisome to think that children and people can be easily tricked to think and believe in ideas they think are correct based on what they watch and how they respond. Who knows if watching people shoot bloody zombie corpses or beating the stuff out of buff guy by another buff guy really puts a number on a child’s mind. There are no clear answers, but what to be sure of is that violence should always be avoided as much as possible, and it’s even more foolish to go looking for it. But aggression is not something we always control, and there are some people react to violence itself in different ways.
Overall, violence, whether in real life or in the TV or media, should be not presented as loosely and all should be done to really prevent the unnecessary conditioning of aggression due to the horrible things TV now presents. I know that a violent TV show is just a show, but you can never can tell how that TV can ultimately affect someone mentally. You would not want a child to engage in violence by fighting; then why should a child engage in violence by watching it? Therefore, keep the media you watch clean, and keep the aggression down.
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