Copy Cat Shootings

A forensic psychiatrist, Park Dietz, has attacked the way the media reports mass murders, serial killers, and 'school shooters'. He argues that the way the media reports a school shooting can lead to 'copycat behaviour'.

Park Dietz has published a lot of research that suggests sensationalist reporting of mass killings can lead some people to carry out similar killings. Seriously though, don't read this, you won't like it: 'Mass, Serial and Sensational Homicides'.

This follows hard on the heels of research that suggests that the way the media reports suicide can lead to
'copy cat behaviour'.

When I was a kid the film a
Clockwork Orange was linked to a series of 'copy cat' crimes, the beating of a tramp and the very nasty rape of a young woman.

Albert Bandura partly developed social learning theory as a response to the failure of early learning theory, behaviourism, and psychoanalysis to explain the effect of the media on aggressive and anti-social behaviour.

However, I went to see a Clockwork Orange and I never felt the motivation to copy in reality any scene from the film.

This is something of a problem for media effects research and social learning theory. The way the media reports mass shootings may provide a 'script' or story to act out but millions see this and don't. What is it about the minority that do?

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