Research on media violence reveals that it causes aggression (Anderson, 2003). With so much exposure to media violence, on television shows, video games, music and magazines, there is definite need for solutions that focus on reductions in aggression. Still, the most effective methods for treating aggression are elusive in this world of possibilities.
There are schools of thought that believe in social punishments as an effective method of reducing aggression. Baron, Branscombe & Byrne (2008) state, that while punishments fitting the crime, is a dominant line of thinking; they may prove to be ineffective. Primarily, punishments cannot work if they do not fit the crime or if they are deterred for lengthy period of time after the offense (Baron, Branscombe, & Byrne, 2008). Additionally, punishments are solely reactive measures for reducing aggression. By the time a punishment is considered, the aggressive act has already been committed and valuable reduction practice is lost. A better treatment in the reduction of aggression, on an individual basis, is to limit the exposure to violence in the media. This helps to learn more positive behaviors that can be associated with cooperation versus competition. Unfortunately, some forms of media violence cannot be avoided. In these instances, individuals should take time to talk out their frustrations and learn that association of frustration can also have positive outcomes. As Feshbach (1964) contends, modifying the original stimuli of aggression to be correlated with positivity can have effective aggression reduction properties.
On a societal level, we must accept that matching and eye for an eye only leaves the whole society eyeless. Punishments, under current societal regimes of justice, are far too ineffective. Also, research is proving that punishments are the least effective model useable in aggression reduction. In a study done by Kimble, Fitz & Onorad (1977) showed that matching aggression only led to increased aggressions and the best model of reduction was counter- aggression- taking aggressive responses away. Individuals must be socialized differently, so that the society can collectively respond differently. Goleman (2006) argues that getting what we want requires approaching a situation and behaving in it, in the same manner as the desired outcome. As the old adage says, individuals get more flies with honey than vinegar. Thus, societies must teach and practice nonviolence as a reaction to violence. People need to see and learn new ways to solve problems and handle conflict.
Lastly, societies that find the aforementioned aggression reducer hard to accomplish, can simply work to correct their justice systems. If punishments are the only measure the society sees as effective in reducing aggression, they must work to ensure that measure’s success. Societies that punish must ensure that punishments are befitting of crimes, punishments are speedy and punishment is given fairly (Baron, Branscombe, & Byrne, 2008).
Anderson, C. A., Berkowitz, L., Donnerstein, E., Huesmann, L. R., Johnson, J., Linz, D., Malamuth, N., & Wartella, E. (2003). Influence of media violence on youth. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4(3), 81- 110.
Baron, R., Branscombe, N., & Byrne, D. (2008). Social Psychology (12 ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Feshbach, S. (1964). The function of aggression and the regulation of aggressive drive. Psychological Review, 71(4), 257- 272.
Goleman, D. (2006). Social intelligence: The revolutionary new science of human relationships. New York, NY: Bantam Dell.
Kimble, C. E., Fitz, D., & Onorad, J. R. (1977). Effectiveness of counter- aggression strategies in reducing interactive aggression by males. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(4), 272- 278.