Psychologists have long known about the link between on-screen violence and real-life aggression, but a new study suggests video cruelty has much the same effect, USA Today reports. Groups of subjects shown either footage from Mean Girls of the hands-off hostility known as "relational aggression" or a knife fight from Kill Bill were both more likely to turn vicious than a control group.
"Everyone's concerned about violence in the media, as they should be, but we're missing out on lots of violence out there," said the lead researcher. She recommends parents pay more attention to relational aggression in the media, possibly with an eye to making it part of the ratings system. Relational aggression is rife in reality shows, the researcher said, and is "almost always portrayed as justified, almost always portrayed as rewarded."