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Mean World Syndrome is one of the main effects of Cultivation theory. It can occur when frequent consumers of news media begin to perceive the world around them as an unrealistically mean and dangerous place. It is described as the distinguishing characteristic of Media Induced Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (MIPTSD). Media Induced Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a manifestation of some PTSD Posttraumatic stress disorder type symptoms specifically due to exposure to entertainment media that focuses excessively on violence. Two significant differences between this disorder and PTSD are that exposure to real trauma is not necessary and that symptoms include an overwhelming desire to seek out violent images (PTSD victims avoid trauma exposure). Symptoms similar to PTSD include a numbing of general responsiveness (detachment, decreased interest in significant activities) and ongoing increased arousal (problems sleeping and concentrating, irritability, hypervigilance, and exaggerated startle response).

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