Desensitization and Media Effects - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Communication and Information

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Desensitization is a psychological process that has often been involved in explaining viewers' emotional reactions to media violence. Research on emotional reactions to violent messages has been concerned with the possibility that continued exposure to violence in the mass media will result in desensitization, that is, that exposure to media violence will undermine feelings of concern, empathy, or sympathy that viewers might have toward victims of actual violence.

To understand the effects of repeated exposure to violence, researchers have suggested that viewers become comfortable with violence that is initially anxiety provoking, much as they would if they were undergoing exposure therapy. According to Gordon Paul and D. A. Bernstein (1973), exposure therapy is widely regarded as the most effective clinical therapy for training individuals to engage in behaviors that were previously inhibited by anxiety responses. Originally, researchers emphasized a therapeutic counterconditioning technique known...

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This section contains 1,184 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Desensitization and Media Effects Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan
Desensitization and Media Effects from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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