Effects of Extremely Violent Audiovisual Products on Young People’s Aggressive Behavior and Emotional Reactions

  • Tom H. A. van der Voort
  • Johannes J. W. Beentjes


A baby wrapped up in a white sheet is being carried into the forensic laboratory. Less than an hour ago, so we learn from the commentary that accompanies the pictures, the baby was still resting in the lap of her mother who had just arrived at a U.S. airport. The little white bundle is laid down on the dissection table. The sheet is removed, uncovering the rigid body of a dead baby. At a single glance, it is clear that the baby has been on a dissection table before. Her body appears to have been cut open from sternum to pelvis, and closed again with coarse stitches. The stitches are cut loose one by one. In the gradually increasing opening of the skin transparent plastic comes into sight, covering a white substance. The hand of the pathologist disappears in the child’s body, and takes out a plastic bag filled with heroin. The voice-over explains that the baby has been killed for the very purpose of this drugs transport.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bandura, A. (1973). Aggression: A social learning analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Barlow, G., & Hill, A. (1985). Video violence and children. London: Hodder and Stoughton.Google Scholar
  3. Cantor, J. (1991). Fright responses to mass media productions. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Responding to the screen: Reception and reaction processes (pp. 169–197). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  4. Cantor, J., & Reilly, S. (1982). Adolescents’ fright reactions to television and films. Journal of Communication, 32(1), 87–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Comstock, G., & Paik, H. (1991). Television and the American child. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cooper, J., & Mackie, D. (1986). Video games and aggression in young children. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 16, 726–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de Rek, W. (1995). ‘Zijn we hier eigenlijk niet te jong voor?’ Twaalfjarige krijgt zo gruwelfilms mee. [Aren’t we too young for this? Twelve-year-old gets horror videos straight away.] Utrechts Nieuwsblad, May 8.Google Scholar
  8. Der Spiegel (1984, n° 11, pp. 34–55). Zum Frühstück ein Zombie am Glockenseil. [A zombie on the bell rope for breakfast.]Google Scholar
  9. Dibbets, K. (1993). Sprekende films: De komst van de geluidsfilm in Nederland 1928 – 1933. [Talking films: The introduction of sound-films in The Netherlands.] Amsterdam: Cramwinckel.Google Scholar
  10. Drabman, R. S., & Thomas, M. H. (1974). Does media violence increase children’s tolerance of real-life violence? Developmental Psychology, 10, 418–421.Google Scholar
  11. Ekman, P., Liebert, R. M., Friesen, W. V., Harrison, R., Zlatchin, C., Malmström, E. J., & Baron, R. A. (1972). Facial expressions of emotion while watching televised violence as predictor of subsequent aggression. In E. A. Rubinstein, G. A. Comstock, & J. P. Murray (Eds.), Television and social behavior, Vol. 5 (pp. 22–58). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  12. Funk, J. B. (1993). Video games. Adolescent Medicine: State of the Art Reviews, 4, 589–598.Google Scholar
  13. Groebel, J. (1981). Vielseher und Angst: Theoretische Überlegungen und einige Längschnittergebnisse. [Heavy viewers and fear: Theoretical reflections and some longitudinal results.] Fernsehen und Bildung, 15, 114–136.Google Scholar
  14. Hearold, S. (1986). A synthesis of 1045 effects of television on social behavior. In G. Comstock (Ed.), Public communication and behavior, Vol. 1 (pp. 65–133). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Huesmann, L. R., & Eron, L. D. (1986). Television and the aggressive child: A cross-national comparison. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Knulst, W. P. (1989). Van vaudeville tot video: Een empirisch-theoretische Studie naar verschuivingen in het uitgaan en het gebruik van media sinds de jaren vijftig. [From vaudeville to video: An empirical-theoretical study on the changes in outgoing and media usage since the 1950s.] Rijswijk: Sociaal en Cultured Planbureau.Google Scholar
  17. Liebert, R. M. (1974). Television and children’s aggressive behavior: Another look. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 34, 99–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Linz, D., Donnerstein, E., & Penrod, S. (1984). The effects of long-term exposure to violence against women. Journal of Communication, 34, 130–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Linz, D., Donnerstein, E., & Penrod, S. (1988). Effects of long-term exposure to violent and sexually degrading depictions of women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 758–768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Medved, M. (1993). Hollywood vs America. Zondervan: Harper-Collins.Google Scholar
  21. Nikken, P. (1995). Geweldvideo’s voor de jeugd? [Violent video films for young people?] Jeugd en Samenleving, 25, 468–475.Google Scholar
  22. Paik, H., & Comstock, G. (1994). The effects of television violence on anti-social behavior: A meta-analysis. Communication Research, 21, 516–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Plagens, P., Miller, M., Foote, D., & Yoffe, E. (1991). Violence in our culture. Newsweek, pp. 46–52 (1st of April).Google Scholar
  24. Schutte, N. S., Malouff, J. M., Post-Gorden, J. C., & Rodasta, A. L. (1988). Effects of playing video games on children’s aggressive and other behaviors. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 454–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Short, J., & Zaw, K. M. (1994). Video nasties: The development of mental illness in childhood and adolescence by exposure to horror media: A review of current literature and a case study. ACCP Review & Newsletter, 16, 183–189.Google Scholar
  26. Silvern, S. B., & Williamson, P. A. (1987). The effects of video game play on young children’s aggression, fantasy, and prosocial behavior. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 8, 453–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Snoeijen, M. (1994). ‘Soms wil je een verhaal, soms gewoon slachten’ [‘Sometimes one fancies a story and sometimes a slaughter.’] NRC Handelsblad, February 8.Google Scholar
  28. Tamborini, R. (1991). Responding to horror: Determinants of exposure and appeal. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Responding to the screen: Reception and reaction processes (pp. 305–328). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  29. Tamborini, R., Stiff, J., & Heidel, C. (1990). Reacting to graphic horror: A model of empathy and emotional behavior. Communication Research, 17, 616–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. van Gageldonk, P. (1995). Met je neus boven op de dood: Nederlandse tieners over geweldvideo’s. [Death right under one’s nose: Dutch teenagers about violent videos.] NieuweRevu, 19–26 juli, pp. 28–35.Google Scholar
  31. van der Voort, T. H. A. (1986). Television violence: A child’s-eye view. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. van der Voort, T. H. A. (1990). De invloed van televisiegeweld. [The impact of television violence.] Amsterdam/Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  33. Wood, W., Wong, F. Y., & Chachere, J. G. (1991). Effects of media violence on viewers aggression in unconstrained social interactions. Psychological Bulletin, 109, 371–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom H. A. van der Voort
  • Johannes J. W. Beentjes

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations