In math class, we learn that correlation is not causation, but for this topic, I think it definitely could be. Berkowitz's "Film Violence and Subsequent Aggressive Tendencies" was a really interesting read. I had read about possible correlation between observing violent acts or habits and its possible effects but had never considered it from Feshbach's symbolic catharsis perspective. It certainly is a more optimistic point of view in my opinion. Even though the reading focused on watching violent films, for this blog post, I'm going to extend that media source to video games. Video games are fairly similar to films but I feel like their interactive qualities creates a stronger correlation between observing/participating in play violence to actually displaying characteristics of violence.
This reading reminded me of a project I was doing for a statistics class in high school (way back when). My project focused on the possible correlation between watching/playing violent video games and displaying aggressive behavior, which was for the most part influenced by the recent Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 where they found the shooter to be an avid video game player. If you don't remember the incident, here's an article explaining what happened and then the MSNBC report on the possible correlation between violent video games and violent behavior. At the time, there were speculations that it could be due to his participation in these violent video games but there was no set correlation and I was interested to see what other people thought about it. Unfortunately,I wasn't able to carry out my project because my teacher felt that it was too sensitive of a topic. The whole story around the Virginia Tech Shooting is somewhat evident in the Berkowitz reading. After all, to go from watching something violent to play-fighting in a violent scenario through a video game to actually performing violent acts seem like baby steps towards a more violent society in my opinion.
The Berkowitz study did have many limitations but I think for the most part it was a good foundation to studies of violence through media sources. Though focusing on primarily on film, I think there is a distinct correlation between these two factors. We learn from our observation and so when we see violence occurring in a situation where it seems okay, *ahem: Hollywood movies, we come to accept it as being okay a bit more than we did before.