Presentation Type

Poster

Subjects

Youth and violence -- United States, Violence in literature -- Social aspects, Mass media -- Influence, Violence in mass media -- Social aspects

Department

English

Other

Professional and Technical Writing

Advisor

Lauren Frank

Student Level

Masters

Abstract

In the ongoing media violence debate, video games, movies, and television are regular targets of scrutiny. Yet, largely absent from the discussion is a popular, age-old medium: the book. Do people think that reading violent subject matter can increase aggression? How do first- and third-person perceptions differ? Using an online survey, the author collected quantitative data on adults’ (N = 160) perceptions of how much violent books affect aggression in themselves, the average adult, and the average child. The author hypothesized that participants would perceive the medium to have stronger effects on other adults' aggression than on their own. The author also hypothesized that participants would perceive violent books to have stronger effects on children's aggression than on adults' aggression. Mean perceived effects all fell between 1 (Not at all) and 4 (Somewhat) per the survey’s 7-point Likert-type scale. Running two-tailed paired sample t tests, the author found both hypotheses to be supported. The author concludes that books are a largely unexplored medium within media effects research; there is more to be understood about their actual and perceived negative effects, as well as those of related formats.

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Does Reading Violent Books Increase Aggression? Perceptions of an Overlooked Medium

In the ongoing media violence debate, video games, movies, and television are regular targets of scrutiny. Yet, largely absent from the discussion is a popular, age-old medium: the book. Do people think that reading violent subject matter can increase aggression? How do first- and third-person perceptions differ? Using an online survey, the author collected quantitative data on adults’ (N = 160) perceptions of how much violent books affect aggression in themselves, the average adult, and the average child. The author hypothesized that participants would perceive the medium to have stronger effects on other adults' aggression than on their own. The author also hypothesized that participants would perceive violent books to have stronger effects on children's aggression than on adults' aggression. Mean perceived effects all fell between 1 (Not at all) and 4 (Somewhat) per the survey’s 7-point Likert-type scale. Running two-tailed paired sample t tests, the author found both hypotheses to be supported. The author concludes that books are a largely unexplored medium within media effects research; there is more to be understood about their actual and perceived negative effects, as well as those of related formats.

Please use the following form to provide feedback:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdY_vAUouGbZSlowcMFEyoy-4VLjV0mTK0OHlHANV2j0x3K5w/viewform?usp=sf_link