The General Aggression Model
As discussed earlier, there have been several closely related theoretical models to help explain and predict the effects of media violence exposure on viewers. Furthermore, there has been a great deal of research to support many of them. For example, social learning theory (Bandura, 1973), social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986), cognitive neoassociation models (e.g., Berkowitz, 1984, 1990, 1993), social information processing models (e.g., Crick & Dodge, 1994), affective aggression models (e.g., Geen, 1990), script theory (e.g., Huesmann, 1986), excitation transfer models (e.g., Zillmann, 1983), and cultivation theory (e.g., Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, & Signorielli, 1982) have all been used to help describe the effects of media violence exposure on aggression with some success (for a brief review, see Carnagey & Anderson, 2003). However, two aspects have been missing. First, the field of human aggression has needed a unified theoretical model that integrates the empirically valuable aspects of each of the more specific theoretical models, including models that are narrowly focused on media violence effects. Second, most of the specific models have not been explicitly developmental in nature or have not been integrated with advances in developmental theories.
The General Aggression Model (see Anderson & Bushman, 2002a; Anderson & Carnagey, 2004; Anderson & Huesmann, 2003) was developed to integrate key ideas from earlier models: social learning theory and related social cognitive theory concepts (e.g., Bandura, 1971, 1973; Bandura, Ross, & Ross, 1961, 1963; Mischel 1973; Mischel & Shoda, 1995), Berkowitz's cognitive neoassociationist model (1984, 1990, 1993), Dodge and Cricks's social information-processing model (e.g., Crick & Dodge,