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I'm not sure why this result caused surprise. Studies going back to the 1930s indicated that children who viewed violent behavior were more aggressive toward their peers in the period right after the viewing. In the 1980s I worked extensively with a group or kindergartners and first graders who were better behaved than many. I ended up barring discussion of cartoons even in less structured situations because discussing He-man, the most popular cartoon at the time because their behavior became more active and there was an immediate increase in mock aggressive behavior towards each other during the conversation. Since my job was to provide guidance rather than conduct research, I intervened immediately and directed them toward other activity.. From a research point of view it would have been interesting to see how much more aggressive behavior they exhibited if allowed to continue the conversation and how long the behavior might continue after the conversation. Older children have longer memories in every area of human interaction that I'm aware of. These young people were potential targets in a situation which threatened which threatened serious injury or death.
We know Vietnam veterans exposed to combat had a higher rate of subsequent violent behavior than service members who did not serve in the theater or those of their peers who did not serve in the military.
Perhaps, I would have considered this a more likely outcome than the researchers since my higher education was in child development rather than psychology or psychiatry and we became familiar with different bodies of research.


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