Cognitive priming was first proposed by Berkowitz (1984) to explain the short-term effects of media violence. This is because ‘priming’ refers to a temporary increase in the accessibility of thoughts and ideas. Berkowitz suggested that if people are exposed to violent media (e.g. films, video games), this activates thoughts or ideas about violence, which then activate (or prime) other aggressive thoughts due to their association in a person’s memory pathways. Therefore, if a person is watching a film in which a character ‘kills’ another characters, this may prime thoughts of physical violence, which may then lead to feelings of anger and wanting to harm another person. x

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