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Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?$
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Susan Pockett, William P. Banks, and Shaun Gallagher

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780262162371

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262162371.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 29 November 2021

Bypassing Conscious Control: Media Violence, Unconscious Imitation, and Freedom of Speech

Bypassing Conscious Control: Media Violence, Unconscious Imitation, and Freedom of Speech

Chapter:
(p.300) (p.301) 15 Bypassing Conscious Control: Media Violence, Unconscious Imitation, and Freedom of Speech
Source:
Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?
Author(s):

Susan Hurley

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262162371.003.0016

This chapter examines conscious control in relation to violence in the media, unconscious imitation, and freedom of speech. In particular, it discusses whether public policy decisions such as the censorship of violent entertainment should be based on scientific evidence suggesting that people unconsciously imitate actions they see. The chapter first reviews the literature about the link between exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior. It then considers why, in the context of work in cognitive science and neuroscience on imitation, this link is not surprising. It also explores William James’s ideomotor theory and the chameleon effect (whereby behavior is automatically assimilated into the social environment). Finally, it looks at the mechanisms and functions of imitation, including mirror neurons, language, and cultural transmission.

Keywords:   conscious control, violence, media, imitation, freedom of speech, aggressive behavior, neuroscience, William James, ideomotor theory, chameleon effect

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