This is part of a week-long series on violence and provocative themes in hit movies.)
Watching violent movies must cause violent behavior, right?
“District 9” makes people commit racial hate crimes. “Inglorious Basterds” stimulates people
to brutalize others. Does that sound about right?
the lab, you can induce violence—expose subjects to violent video clips and
they become more aggressive, at least in the short run.
Ask people, in a survey, about their
film-watching preferences and behavior, and, yes, they say they act more
violently after watching violent films.
movie violence must lead to violent crimes in the real world, right?
Not so, say economists in a research
study published this summer in MIT’s stately journal, The Quarterly Journal of
researchers took a systematic look at violent blockbuster films and same-day
assault, using ten years of data.
crime actually goes down on days when violent movies draw big audiences. Violent movies deter about 1,000
assaults on a typical weekend.
reason, they say, is “voluntary incapacitation”—violent movies take violent
people off the street (so to speak), reducing the number of people likely to
reason is that going to movies reduces alcohol consumption. Alcohol and assaults
are related. If violent people go
to violent movies, they aren’t drinking and they aren’t at bars.
So, even if watching a violent movie
arouses violent feelings, it doesn’t lead to violent behavior because alcohol
is not involved.
Do these findings make sense to
Or, do you have another
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