Why do people love to watch so much violence?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Tortise, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. Tortise Registered Senior Member

    The vastly disproportionate number of films with violence as it's main theme begs for a rational. I think one of the reasons is that people that were interested in the physiology of violence, and the effects and techniques of violence had an advantage in our evolution. They might have been better prepared to thwart violent attacks, or to attack more successfully. Throughout history, resources undoubtedly were much harder to come by then now. Competition for food and resources was often actualized by way of violence. Peaceful people were often killed for their resources, so that even farming communities often had defense plans. The way we extol civilizations that killed others as a way of survival (the Huns for instance, though history is replete with examples) I think tells more about modern human psychology then we might like to admit.
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  3. SoLiDUS OMGWTFBBQ Registered Senior Member

    ... because, on a deep level, we might actually enjoy and want to do this ? I don't know.
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Because it's a theme in society. The psychology of violence is interesting, as with Cronenberg's film "A History of Violence". It's both our fear and perhaps secret wish to participate, to be good at it, to be a hero or a villan.
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  7. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    Historically violence was a preportion of the known world, through tales of heroic deeds during wars to gladiatorial battles in colosseums. Violence was used to keep people occupied from worrying about who was running a country or how things were run. Punishment of those that broke laws usually met with violent means so as to try and cause future potential law breakers to reconsider their stance. (e.g. "Hanging, drawing and quartering", stocks, pillocks, Gallows, Guillotine, Gasing, Lethal injection, Electrocution)

    You can even look to religions for the worst cases of violence and torture in regards to dealing with those they felt (at their time) unfit to be among the communities. (Spanish Inquisition)

    Perhaps peoples morbid curiousity when they come across a fatality in an accident, or their viewing of violent material could have some genetic roots to how society was less "Civil" and "Human" rights orientated. Perhaps one day we'll grow out of it, now for some "Tom and Jerry".
  8. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    I don't know, but the media considers violence to be far less EVIL than nudity.

    Its not acceptable to show the human body on TV, but violence is everywhere.
    Perhaps it has something to do with how the bible has shaped western ethics. God and his people are exceedingly violent in both testaments - but nudity and sexuality are more or less taboo.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  9. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

    Vicarious living. So many of us feel trapped by the burdens of life, all the monotonous chores and paperwork that so much of the world is built upon. We yearn for the simplicity of a time when any problem could be solved with the proper application of a spear.

    Look at all the times we idolize. Knights in shining armor. Gunmen in the wild west. Samurai fighting for their lords.
    For all the suffering of such times, those are what we look up to. Not the order of Hammurabi's code or the cyclic bliss of the Egyptian nile. But those rare instances where a man could seemingly shape the world with little more than a sword and his own horse.
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    It's also worth considering whether Hollywood pumps out violent films because there is a demand, or just because they are comfortable doing that, and because it's easier than making some other kinds of films which have decent plots and characters, for example. And do we go to those films because we like them, or because we have to go out of our way to see other kinds of films?
  11. Theoryofrelativity Banned Banned

    The media and entertainment industry gives us want we want, no profit in it otherwise. I personally do not go to see these films, shortage of other type or not, they are not to my likeing so I don't watch them.

    Meanwhile when film first came out, they were generally all dialogue and superb acting (forgetting silent ones!) the change does therefore seem to reflect the shift in demand for more action and special effects. It's a great pity, can't beat the old gangester movies with James Cagney, the old romantic or sinister thrillers with Betty Davies.
  12. Chatha big brown was screwed up Registered Senior Member

    People don't necessarily like to watch violence, its one of those "if you build it they will come" things. You underestimate the human mind's propensity for entertainment and gratification, they stimulate the mind. Remember humans don't have a mind of their own, they have a pattern of cognition of their own but not a mind of their own. The mind is the enviroment and not inside the human, thats why babies have an almost insignificant mind.
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I think it works the other way, too. The media and entertainment industry is constantly telling us what we should want, in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
  14. Possumking I think, I am? Registered Senior Member

    The suspense? Action? Makes us feel manly or tough. Makes us feel accomplished when the bad guy is caught?
  15. Winner of Discontent i am a banana Registered Senior Member

    uh oh is that a cut on the violent flicks I love so much? plenty of violent flicks have decent plots and characters. Scarface comes to mind. And Ichi The Killer too. Ichi is quite gory, but it is interesting and even artful.

    People are fascinated with violence because most tend to be far removed from it. The vicarious theory of course, but also sheer curiosity. I've seen faces of death, mondo cane, etc. I don't necessarily agree with all that I see, but that morbid curiosity compels me to watch. Especially documentaries that offer insight into the violence of other cultures. Things many of us would never do and have been taught are wrong but that are commonplace in other parts of the world.

    Violence isn't for everyone apparently. Watching violence doesn't ever make me wanna start a bar brawl or run someone over with my car. And usually when it's over, I turn on Tom and Jerry. lol

    But don't forget cartoons are violent. Always have been. Always will be. And we love to share em with the kiddies because it's a fuzzy bear and cute penguin that are kicking the shit out of each other instead of an ex-con and a ...erm a ninja maybe. Where's that movie lol.
  16. Theoryofrelativity Banned Banned

    what a load of tosh
  17. Theoryofrelativity Banned Banned

    I disagree

    I do not watch violent tv of any kind, this is my choice, no one could force me into it, no one could force me to like it. Those that choose to watch it do so because they like it.

    Fashion and trends try to tell us what we should like, but re entertainment, its too expensive a business to offer the public something they do not want to see. Although the more we do see the more desensitised we become so the more graphic it needs to be. As I said, not my thing.

    I have experienced real violence, screen violence annoys me as it is NOT remotely realistic in the fact that violence does hurt and injure and yet the hero's and villains keep getting back up and coming back for more. It's unrealistic crap.
    Last edited: May 3, 2006
  18. Theoryofrelativity Banned Banned

    I do not enjoy violent cartoons either, never did even as a child, don't watch them now and do not allow my kids to watch them. My kids do not enjoy seeing violence if it happens across the screen. They have not be desensitised which is what I think happens with over exposure.
  19. Theoryofrelativity Banned Banned

    Meanwhile there has been a study into the reaction to violence on tv which may prove interesting read:


    Sponsored by BRIAN CRONK(cronk@missouriwestern.edu)


    One of the most debated and controversial issues in relation to the media is the amount of violence portrayed on a day to day basis. The physiological effects of groups viewing violent and nonviolent movies were looked at to see if viewing violent movies causes an increase in physiological responses. Approximately 41 participants were used, comprised of both male and female college students. Each group took a baseline of responses including pulse, temperature, and stress level from 0-100. The groups then viewed a short film clip. One group's was violent in nature and the other was nonviolent in nature. The groups then took a second set of responses. The results of the experiment, using a 2X2 factorial ANOVA showed that there are some differences between the two groups, with the pulse rates decreasing in a group viewing nonviolent films, and increasing with violent. These results could show a relationship with how individuals that are viewing violence and then being violent themselves could be curbed by limiting the amount of violence they view. This information could be especially valuable for children, with many children viewing violence on a day-to-day basis.


    One of the most debated and controversial issues in relation to the media is the amount of violence portrayed on a day to day basis. Throughout the past 20 years, it seems that the amount of violence in the media has grown immensely. The National Coalition on TV Violence (1994) states that NCTV guidelines do not include accidents, emotional displays, horseplay, slapstick, threats, and sports activities as acts of violence. They also state that an average of 9.5 violent acts per hour appeared on prime time TV in 1989-90 and Saturday morning network programming featured 20 violent acts per hour in the same time. In addition, they state that by the age of 18, a typical child has witnessed estimate 200,000 acts of violence, including 25,000 murders. Violence in America seems to be part of the zeitgeist of the past few decades and the ceiling that it is regulated by, such as NC-17 or R ratings. They have yet to curb the amount of violence seen on primetime television or on the big screen throughout the country on any given night. The result of these violent movies seems to have a strong correlation with the amount of crime that has engulfed cities across America. Many groups, such as the NCTV are trying to do something about it because they believe that media literacy is very important to bringing about peace in our nation. It may not be the direct answer to this difficult question, but it may be a beginning to one.
    Horror movies for years have been the forerunner in violence. They are the essence of violence in the media on a grand scale. Whether violence has an adverse impact on us psychologically or not, it must be assumed that it has some impact on us somehow. Art Silverblatt (1995) argues that media violence cannot be said to have a direct impact on viewer actions but that such messages (from violence) reinforces that the world is a violent and generally unsafe place, an effective solution to problems, that violence is safe, glamorous, gratifying and often has no apparent consequences. In a study done by Howard Berenbaum (1993) the relationship between the ability to identify one's emotions and the kinds of emotion-arousing experiences that people prefer. He determined that subjects having a difficulty identifying their emotions were more likely that those without such difficulty, to prefer negatively valenced movies relative to positively valenced movies. This study showed that one's emotions are a contributing factor in the type of outlets we choose to spend our time when not working, but rather relaxing or doing what we assume relaxing. Some people enjoy watching violent movies don't feel that just because they watch them it will cause them to be violent also. A study dealing with this topic was done by Gelkopf, Kreitler and Sigal (1993). They explored the therapeutic affects of humor on hospitalized schizophrenics. They found that the group viewing humorous movies only resulted in a reduction of perceived verbal hostility, anxiety and depression. The results from this study seem to show that positive, more mild movies seem to have a positive effect on us psychologically. Much of the research that has dealt with this topic seem to be focused on one side, either positive movies and their outcomes, or the possible negative outcomes of subjects viewing negative movies. There are few studies that compare two groups, one viewing positively valence movies and another group watching negatively valenced movies. The physiological responses of the two groups could be looked at to see whether or not there is a difference in them. By doing this, we could trace the beginning of the cycle of effects that violence has on individual, possibly leading to violence that that individual will exert. Most of the studies to this time have not dealt precisely with physiological responses to these such factors. The physiological responses could play an important role in determining the individual's responses to stimuli that is negative. This information could prove useful in the future in detecting a person's vulnerability to violence. Other outside factors will, of course be playing an important role also and these are hard to keep out. The two studies explained before are examples of how this information could be used in a positive way to help increase the difficult understanding about the mind and how it effects us. Gender could play a role in the interaction, and will be looked at in some detail for comparison.

    In this study, I will attempt to establish a relationship between increased physiological responses and viewing movies with violence and a no change or decreased level of physiological responses to those that view nonviolent movies. Gender differences will be looked at also to compare different groups and their responses."
  20. duendy Registered Senior Member

    are 'we' that differny from ancient Romans who dug going to the Collesium to see blood and gore?
    what i've noticed is--similar to that -a kindof sadistic reality TV trip going on. where people hae to go thru trials, etc---psychological violence, humiliation

    also our wildeness has been suppressed. and as chatha said this culture in a longline is more fearful of showing seeing eroticism. Wilhelm Reich wrote about how sadistic fascination and practice derives from suppression of sexual energy

    so te powers that be ....they KNOW all tis. they're on it. they want violence indoctrination. they OWN Hollywood and TV corporate media
  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    There's another factor, which is just a lack of imagination. While there is little inherently wrong with including violence in our stories and media, often it's the easiest thing to grab attention since as past victims of predators, we are sensitive towards it. We instinctively pay attention so as to learn it's lessons, and in doing so become victims of a different sort- of advertising.
  22. Theoryofrelativity Banned Banned

    I disagree, I don't pay any attention to violence, as soon as it appears I turn over.
  23. Roman Banned Banned

    Most people like violence. Or rather, perpetrating violence. It's really pretty simple.

    Other than that it's fake blood and gore, and our society is composed of sissies who wouldn't be able to handle a proper crucifixition? No, not that different at all.

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