Violent Media and Hostile Appraisals: A Meta-Analytic Review

Abstract
Hostile people tend to view the world as a hostile place. Although there are individual differences in hostile world-views, situational factors can also play a role. For example, scenes of violence in the mass media might influence people to view the world as a hostile place. This meta-analysis aggregates, for the first time, all studies that have investigated the link between exposure to violent media and hostile appraisals (e.g., perceiving the ambiguous actions by others as aggressive actions). This meta-analysis included 37 independent studies involving 10,410 participants. The results showed a “small” to “moderate” sized average correlation between exposure to violent media and hostile appraisals (r+ = .20, 95%CI = .14, .26). Significant correlations were found in experimental, cross-sectional, and longitudinal studies, indicating a triangulation of evidence. Effects were not correlated with participant gender. Effects were also stable over time. However, the link between exposure to violent media and hostile appraisals was positively related to age, perhaps because violent media can have cumulative effects over time. There was no evidence of publication bias. The findings from this meta-analysis are consistent with the General Aggression Model (e.g., Anderson, & Bushman, 2002; Annual Review of Psychology 53:27–51). These results complement those from previous meta-analyses showing that violent media can increase aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal, and aggressive behavior. These findings also have practical significance, because people who view the world in a hostile manner are more likely to behave aggressively themselves. 

Read the article →