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Studies, arguments and concern about the effects of television and televised violence date from 1946, when television sets began to come into use in American homes.In 1972, the United States surgeon general wrote that ''televised violence, indeed, does have an adverse effect on certain members of our society.'' Over the years, a variety of professional groups, including the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have issued similar statements. Leonard Eron, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan and a pioneer in the study of television's effects on behavior, ''this shows that adolescents and young adults are also affected.'' That, he added, was not necessarily expected.
The study, which is continuing, began when the children were 1 to 10 years old.
Over the years, the families in the study had been questioned about their television viewing, and there have been several assessments of the children's violent behavior.
But most research has focused on the television viewing habits of children. Johnson of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, followed children in 707 families in two counties in northern New York State for 17 years.
The new study, published today in the journal Science, searched for a relationship between television watching and aggression in an older group. They reported that adolescents and young adults who watched television for more than seven hours a week had an increased likelihood of committing an aggressive act in later years.
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