Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Violence on TV

Kim said in the comments on Peacebang that some brain research has found that the brain stores memories of things we see on TV the same way that they store memories of actual events.

This doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I've seen TV shows where people get migraines. I've had migraines. The experience is really different.

I've seen "The Accused," but I don't feel like a rape victim. (Or a rapist, for that matter.)

I will admit that some scenes in books really haunt me. For whatever reason, I'm really phobic about addiction, so the scene in "A Monstrous Regiment of Women" where Mary Russell is kidnapped and injected with heroin over and over creeped me out far beyond anything I've seen on TV in years.



Steven Rowe said...

Cc, the brain and memory are fascinating things, where science continues to learn about on a constant level.
Without going to re-read Kim's statement; the research is that what we see on tv is processed the same as actual events we see.
You may recall (or you may not - memory works that way) a president who recalled movies like they were real: same thing. So you might not feel like a rape survivor or a rapist, but you might in years to come, think you saw someone raped...
On the otherhand we process things that happen to us differently, thus the importance of quickly work on trauma.

steven r

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I didn't explain it as clearly as sc universalist -- I said you remember video scenes as if they happened to you, but a better way to describe it is as sc said: you remember it as having witnessed it in person rather than as fiction. It is processed the same -- a memory is a memory.
Additionally, we may be consciously aware that it's fiction, but our unconscious uses "information" gained from our experiences to make unconscious decisions. If we put a lot of weird information into our store of data about the world, our conclusions start becoming influenced by that information. Perhaps an example might be if a young person sees a lot of film showing the plot resolution to be a violent act wherein no consequesnces to the perpetrator is shown (you know all those movies that end with the good guy punching the bad guy, and then pretty much ends there....), will they then incorporate the "information" that if you win the fight with the bad guy, it is the end of the incident, he isn't mad at you the next day, he doesn't plot revenge, your fist isn't sore, his nose isn't permanently broken, no one gets arrested or tried, if there is an arrest, there's no consequences for you, his brothers and friends don't vow eternal enmity and start a feud with you, etc.....
I think our ability to make decisions based on the truth is very precious, and should be protected.