There is a great deal of speculation on the effect television plays in childhood aggression. Two contrasting views regarding this issue are violent television increases aggressive behavior and violent television does not increase aggressive behavior. Later research demonstrates there may be other intervening variables causing aggression. These include IQ, social class, parental punishment, and parental aggression, hereditary, environmental, and modeling. With all of these factors to take into consideration it is difficult to determine a causal relationship between violent television and aggression. It is my hypothesis this relationship is bi-directional. I feel violent television causes aggressive behavior and aggressive people tend to watch more violent television.
Over the years there has been a large amount of research published, many with conflicting results, to the question of a causal link existing between the viewing of televised violence and childhood aggression. It is an important question because if violent television is linked to childhood aggression we need to adapt our television shows accordingly.
Early 1960's Research.
There is earlier research, but the first association between violent television and aggression was in the early 1960's when Albert Bandura began researching his modeling theory. His series of experiments first set the precedent for a relationship between violent television viewing and aggression. He felt children would model or imitate adult behavior. In one study he subjected children to both aggressive and non- aggressive adult models and then tested them for imitative behavior in the presence of the model. His theory was demonstrated when children readily imitated behavior exhibited by an adult model in the presence of the model (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961). In a similar experiment children were exposed to aggressive and non-aggressive adult models, but then tested for amount of imitative learning in the absence of the model.