Media Violence and Desensitization Part 2: A Case Study in How News Media Can Get It Wrong

Recently I discussed the common belief that media violence desensitizes viewers to violence and suffering in the real world. As I noted, increasing evidence suggests that this kind of desensitization does not, in fact, happen…at least not the way people often think. Further, there are sound theoretical reasons why fictional media should not desensitize us to real-life suffering. Namely, evidence suggests our brains treat fictional stories and real-life exposure to things differently, and it’s uncommon to see learning occur in one context (relaxing at home with friends and family consuming media) generalize easily to other contexts (potentially hostile situations in

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