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April 12, 1976

Violence on Television

Author Affiliations

School of Medicine University of California San Diego State University San Diego

JAMA. 1976;235(15):1551. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260410014006

To the Editor.—  Recently, the article entitled "Effect of Television Violence on Children and Youth," by Michael B. Rothenberg was called to my attention. On reading the article, I noted several inaccuracies and found the conclusions to be quite misleading. The major fault with the article is that Rothenberg takes a complex issue and presents it as a simple one. Since the topic he discusses has serious political implications, it is important to consider the issues in their true complexity.Contrary to Rothenberg's impressions, not all studies show that the effects of television are detrimental. Sophisticated investigators are no longer asking the simple question "Does TV violence cause aggression?" Instead, they are trying to delineate the conditions associated with the instigation to aggress. Studies typically show that TV will activate aggressive behaviors if the subjects are intentionally angered or frustrated immediately before they are exposed to televised violence. When subjects