Science

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‘Seeing Isn’t Necessarily Doing,' Says New Research into Media Violence

June 01, 2008 05:23 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Recent research supports the theory that tendencies towards violent behaviors are innate rather than learned.

30-Second Summary

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According to a new study, there is no direct correlation between watching violent television as a child and aggressive behavior as an adult.

Rather, Richard Tremblay, professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and psychology at the University of Montreal, argues that a predisposition to be aggressive is best explained in terms of genetics.

Adverse prenatal conditions, such as mothers smoking, drinking alcohol, or having poor nutrition while pregnant, can cause deformations in DNA that may result in violent behavior later in a child’s life.

Damaged genes can result in delayed linguistic development, making it more difficult for children to communicate verbally. Thus there is a higher likelihood of individuals seeking to express their needs and ideas physically out of frustration.

Children reach a peak in aggressive behavior at around 18 months of age on average. Those who are less likely to suffer from genetic damage begin to use more sophisticated methods of communication from 2 to 4 years of age. But it may take kids who are prone to violence longer to outgrow this phase.

Headline Link: Does media violence spark similar behaviors?

Background: A 'Lost' Generation

Opinion & Analysis: Nature vs. Nurture

Reference Materials: The 411 on Child Psychology

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