- Oxford Library of Psychology
- Oxford Library of Psychology
- About the Editor
- Storytelling and Media: Narrative Models from Aristotle to Augmented Reality
- Arguing for Media Psychology as a Distinct Field
- Media Psychology and Its History
- Inside <i>Media Psychology:</i> The Story of an Emerging Discipline as Told by a Leading Journal
- Media Literacy: History, Progress, and Future Hopes
- Research Methods, Design, and Statistics in Media Psychology
- Qualitative Research and Media Psychology
- Why It Is Hard To Believe That Media Violence Causes Aggression
- Children's Media Use: A Positive Psychology Approach
- The Role of Emotion in Media Use and Effects
- Media Violence, Desensitization, and Psychological Engagement
- Sexual Media Practice: How Adolescents Select, Engage with, and Are Affected by Sexual Media
- Race, Ethnicity, and the Media
- Representations of Gender in the Media
- The Psychology Underlying Media-Based Persuasion
- Social Influence in Virtual Environments
- Active Video Games: Impacts and Research
- Serious Games: What Are They? What Do They Do? Why Should We Play Them?
- Violent Video Games and Aggression
- Children, Adolescents, and the Internet: Are There Risks Online?
- Pathological Technology Addictions: What Is Scientifically Known and What Remains to Be Learned
- Video Games and Attention
- A General Framework for Media Psychology Scholarship
- Engaging with Stories and Characters: Learning, Persuasion, and Transportation into Narrative Worlds
- The Political Narrative of Children's Media Research
- Media Psychophysiology: The Brain and Beyond
- The Japanese Approach to Research on the Psychological Effects of Media Use
- Media Content Analysis: Qualitative Methods
- Media Psychology: Past, Present, and Future
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter presents a framework for understanding desensitization to violence as an outcome of exposure to media violence. The term desensitization is defined, and behavioral and psychophysiological research documenting this phenomenon are presented. Aspects of moral evaluation, including empathy and attitudes toward violence, are discussed as proxy measures of desensitization. An individual’s propensity to become deeply involved in media experiences is proposed as one factor that increases the relative risk of desensitization. The term psychological engagement is recommended as an umbrella term for all levels of media involvement. Terms describing the progression of intensity of engagement, including immersion, presence, flow, and psychological absorption are discussed. Future research must be built on definitional consensus in this area. Psychophysiological and behavioral research will be complementary in elucidating the neural and psychological processes that underlie the desensitization process. The role of desensitization in increasing aggression and decreasing helping behavior requires additional study.
Jeanne Funk Brockmyer, Department of Psychology, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
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