Television Violence and Aggressive Behavior

  • Leonard D. Eron
  • L. Rowell Huesmann
Part of the Advances in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ACCP, volume 7)


There can no longer be any doubt that television influences behavior, especially the behavior of children. Any mother who goes marketing in the supermarket with a young child sitting in the shopping cart or tagging along beside her can attest to that fact, especially when she gets to the checkout counter and sees all the sugar-coated cereals, boxes of cookies, and candy bars which in some mysterious fashion had found their way into the cart. The television networks are proud of the way in which they can influence behavior with commercials. It is ludicrous, therefore, for the networks to insist that watching violent displays on television has no relation to subsequent violent behavior of viewers. If they did not expect television to influence behavior, why would they be broadcasting commercials showing people using products they want the viewer to use? It is unlikely that one would ever hear a sales representative tell a prospective customer for television time that television does not influence behavior. That is, after all, what commercials are about and how the networks stay alive and prosper.


Aggressive Behavior Television Character Aggression Score Violent Program Violence Viewing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bandura, A., Ross D., & Ross, S. A. Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1961, 63, 575–582.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berkowitz, L. Aggression: A social psychological analysis. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962.Google Scholar
  3. Berkowitz, L. Aggressive cues in aggressive behavior and hostility catharsis. Psychological Review, 1964, 71, 104–122.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cook, T. Testimony before Subcommitte on Crime of House Committee on Judiciary. Washington, D.C., April 13, 1983.Google Scholar
  5. Cook, T. D., & Flay, B. R. The temporal persistence of experimentally induced attitude change: An evaluative review. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2). New York: Academic Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  6. Eron, L. D. Relationship of TV viewing habits and aggressive behavior in children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1963, 67, 193–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Eron, L. D. Parent-child interaction, television violence, and aggression of children. American Psychologist, 1982, 37, 197–211.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eron, L. D., Laulicht, J. H., Walder, L. O., Farber, I. E., & Spiegel, J. P. Application of role and learning theories to the study of the development of aggression in children. Psychological Reports, 1961, 9, 291–334. Monograph Supplement 2=V9.Google Scholar
  9. Eron, L. D., Walder, L. O., & Lefkowitz, M. M. Learning of aggression in children. Boston: Little, Brown, 1971.Google Scholar
  10. Eron, L. D., Huesmann, L. R., Lefkowitz, M. M., & Walder, L. O. Does television violence cause aggression? American Psychologist, 1972, 27, 253–263.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eron, L. D., Huesmann, L. R., Brice, P., Fischer, P., & Mermelstein, R. Age trends in the development of aggression, sex typing, and related television habits. Developmental Psychology, 1983, 19, 71–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gerbner, G., & Gross, L. Living with television: The violence profile. Journal of Communication, 1976, 26, 173–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Greenberg, B. S. Televised violence: Further explorations. In G. A. Comstock, E. A. Rubinstein, & J. P. Murray (Eds.), Television and social behavior: Vol. 5. Television’s effect: Further explorations. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972, pp. 1–21.Google Scholar
  14. Huesmann, L. R., Lefkowitz, M. M., & Eron, L. D. Sum of MMPI Scales F, 4 and 9 as a measure of aggression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1978, 46, 1071–1078.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huesmann, L. R., Eron, L. D., Klein, R., Brice, P., & Fischer, P. Mitigating the imitation of aggressive behaviors by changing children’s attitudes about media violence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1983, 44, 899–910.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huesmann, L. R., Lagerspetz, K., &Eron, L. D. Intervening variables in the television violence-aggression relation: A longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, in press.Google Scholar
  17. Lefkowitz, M. M., Walder, L. O., Eron, L. D., & Huesmann, L. R. Preference for televised contact sports as related to sex differences in aggression. Developmental Psychology, 1973, 417–420.Google Scholar
  18. Lefkowitz, M. M., Eron, L. D., Walder, L. O., & Huesmann, L. R. Growing up to be violent: A longitudinal study of the development of aggression. New York: Pergamon Press 1977.Google Scholar
  19. Singer, J. L., & Singer, D. G. Television, imagination and aggression: A study of preschoolers. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1981.Google Scholar
  20. Strauss, M. A., Gilles, R. J., & Steinmetz, S. K. Behind closed doors: Violence in the American family. New York: Doubleday/Anchor, 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonard D. Eron
    • 1
  • L. Rowell Huesmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IllinoisChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations