Professor Tom Grimes dismantles link in media violence

by Morgan Martens

Violence in media sparks an alleged link to aggressive behavior by some researchers. This link is subjective to a person’s preexisting mental health condition.

Tom Grimes, journalism and mass communication professor, kicked off the first day of Mass Comm Week with a conversation on the the so-called cause and effect relationship between violent images and aggressive behavior in adults. He shared his research to a group of students in Old Main on Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Grimes presented his research of the absence of a link between the violence and aggressive acts. This contrasts to the 60 years of study endorsed by the American Medical Association, which claims aggressiveness is an effect of violence on television.

In some studies, there is a correlation between young people who view media violence and aggressive behavior in later years. The research is combined to create a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of violent media and aggressive acts, this finding endorsed by the National Institute of Health.

However, these studies broaden the definition of media violence to include antics of opposing cartoon characters as violent. “Anything that could be viewed as mildly violent is categorized as violent media by researchers,” Grimes said. In addition, aggressive behavior can be defined as criticizing another’s looks or desire for material items.

Grimes said his 16 years of research strongly suggests that there is not a link between media violence and aggressiveness except in the case of disruptive behavior disorders. “The only way media violence can motivate true media violence is if you view that media violence through the presence of an already existing mental ailment,” Grimes said.

Professor Tom Grimes shares his research. 

Journalism senior, Scott Allen, said he was surprised by the opposition to the idea that there is a link between violence and aggressive behavior. “I agree with Grimes that there’s no direct connection and that violent behaviors are caused from pre-determined illnesses,” Allen said. 

Mass Comm Week will continue through Friday, Oct. 25. 

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