The medical and mental health communities are now famous for their unsophisticated condemnations of media violence–often quickly assuming the link to real world crime and mayhem based on observations of small children or from uncritically accepting spurious research.
Now the American Academy of Pediatrics is back on the warpath again, spurred on by recent mass shootings, as reported in the Los Angeles Times
“When the first “Die Hard” and “Terminator” movies landed in theaters in the 1980s, both were rated R. But their sequels arrived with PG-13 marks — even though the level of violence had actually escalated.
“Critics have blasted Hollywood’s movie ratings for years, claiming that the Motion Picture Assn. of America takes a prudish view of sex and foul language but a very liberal one when it comes to mayhem and bloodshed.
“A new report provides strong evidence for that critique, concluding that gunplay has tripled within PG-13 films since 1985, the first full year the rating was used. Last year, PG-13 films were actually more violent than films rated R.”We were absolutely stunned,” said Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, co-author of the report published Mondayin Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The MPAA website clearly says that R-rated films contain more violence. But PG-13 films now contain significantly more violence than R-rated films.” Continue reading “The new media violence moral panic”
Want to be a better person? Spend more time thinking about science.
That’s the implication of newly published research, which finds people who study science — or who are even momentarily exposed to the idea of scientific research — are more likely to condemn unethical behavior and more inclined to help others, reports Salon.com.
“Thinking about science leads individuals to endorse more stringent moral norms,” report psychologists Christine Ma-Kellams of Harvard University and Jim Blascovich of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Their research is published in the online journal PLOS One. The researchers describe four experiments, all conducted at UCSB, that back up their surprising conclusion. Continue reading “Are science students more moral people?”
At last we may be entering what sociologists call a “moral panic” over guns. While the term may sound ominous, moral panics historically have been behind may progressive (and conservative) social changes.
According to Stanley Cohen, author of Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972) and credited as creator of the term, a moral panic occurs when ” condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests”.Those who start the panic when they fear a threat to prevailing social or cultural values are known by researchers as moral entrepreneurs, while people who supposedly threaten the social order have been described as “folk devils.” Continue reading “This time, the right kind of moral panic”