On-Demand Webinars

The Psychology of Violent Television: Why We Watch and How it Affects Us

In this Webinar:

What are the psychological motives that make watching violent television so appealing? In this webinar, Drs. Sheldon Solomon and Jonathan Bassett review psychological theories that explain why audiences are drawn to violent television and the impact violent television has on us.
Drawing on insights from both Separation Theory and Terror Management Theory, Solomon and Basset explain how our attraction to watching fictional violence is rooted in sensation seeking, a desire for mastery over perceived dangers, and a need to believe in a just world. They also offer a novel interpretation that views the need to manage existential anxiety as an important force underlying the consumption of violent TV.

This presentation will focus on:

• The ways in which viewing violent television can augment psychological defenses against existential anxiety, thereby making the consumption of fictional violence reinforcing, to the extent that it helps viewers minimize fears of death.
• How variation in the way violence is presented, as well as individual personality factors, can influence whether viewers embrace or challenge the conventional cultural ideologies used to justify or condemn onscreen depictions of violence.
• Potential negative effects of watching television violence that include: becoming callous to the suffering of others, desensitization to the consequences of violence, complacency and acceptance of conventional ideologies used to rationalize violence.
• The means through which the possible adverse impact of viewing violent television might be minimized.

Learning Objectives:

1. Describe ways in which the need to manage existential anxiety underlies motives for viewing television violence.
2. Define direct and symbolic defenses against death anxiety and how these might be activated in response to reminders of death made salient in response to watching violent television.
3. Summarize the ways that watching violent television can lead people to either embrace or question conventional cultural ideologies depending on situational factors and individual differences.
4. Explain ways that consumption of violent television can potentially promote hostility towards others and discuss possible ways to mitigate this response.

Once payment is received, you will be emailed a full video recording of this webinar along with all presentation materials.

Optional CEs (1.5) may be purchased through R. Cassidy Seminars. A link to purchase CE Credits will be included in the email containing all your webinar resourcesMore Info Here

CEs Pending


About the Presenter

Jonathan F. Bassett, Ph.D. Jonathan F. Bassett, PhD is a professor of psychology at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina, where he teaches courses on death and dying. His research focuses on empirical investigations of attitudes about death and how reminders of mortality influence social behavior, as well as on the application of existential psychology, especially Terror Management Theory, to the analysis of popular culture in the areas of literature, television, and movies. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and of the recent book Death on the Small Screen: The Psychology of Viewing Violent Television (McFarland Books, 2022). Follow him on Twitter @DrJBassett

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