Q: What's one of the more startling things that can be
said about the people who went to see the rather violent
movie "American Gangster"?
A: The effects of viewing media violence are well
known: Both children and young adults exposed to violent
movie clips show more aggressive behavior immediately
afterward, noted the American Medical Association and other
public health organizations, as reported by Daniel L.
Schacter et al. in "Psychology: Second Edition."
Yet when economists Gordon Dahl and Stefano Della Vigna
(2009) analyzed crime and box office statistics looking for
a correlation, they instead found that on evenings when more
people went to see violent movies, there were FEWER crimes
committed! Why this NEGATIVE correlation? The researchers
theorized that violent movies are especially appealing to
those most likely to commit violent crimes. "Because they
are busy watching movies for a few hours, violent crime
So do violent movies really make for peaceful streets?
As Schacter put it: "One thing we know about the people who
went to see the movie 'American Gangster' is that for 2
hours and 37 minutes they didn't shoot anybody."
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