Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kummerfeldt, Irvan J.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Journalism


Violence in motion pictures; Political psychology; Aggressiveness


The purpose of the study was to experimentally demonstrate a causal relationship between exposure to films of interpersonal violence and a subsequent Increase in viewer aggression, measurable in the viewers' political attitudes. The study's format was a laboratory experiment with posttest. Seventy college students were divided into two groups by random procedures. The experimental group viewed two short film clips of interpersonal violence. Each clip was preceded by a speech justifying the victor's aggression, so as to reduce subjects' inhibitions against aggression. The control group viewed a neutral film. Both groups then responded to identical questionnaires. The questionnaires measured the subjects' responses in two areas corresponding to the study's two major hypotheses: 1. The primary hypothesis was that subjects who viewed films of interpersonal violence would respond more aggressively than those who viewed a control film when asked subsequently for their opinions on selected political issues in which, it was predicted, aggression might be a factor in responses. The primary hypothesis yielded mixed results. 2. The secondary hypothesis was that the group which viewed film violence would show a higher level of measured non-political aggression, thus demonstrating that the predicted variation in political responses was effected by the intended cause. The secondary hypothesis was supported only weakly by the experimental data.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vii, 51 pages




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