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Sexual Content in the Media. Research U.S. Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970) The Report found no statistical evidence “that exposure to.

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Presentation on theme: "Sexual Content in the Media. Research U.S. Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970) The Report found no statistical evidence “that exposure to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sexual Content in the Media

2 Research

3 U.S. Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970) The Report found no statistical evidence “that exposure to explicit sexual materials plays a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behavior among youth or adults”

4 Malamuth and Check “The Effects of Mass Media Exposure on Acceptance of Violence against Women” (1981)

5 Hypothesis Sexual content combined with violence and transformation (a favorable outcome) will be correlated with acceptance of violence against women as shown by scores on the AIV Scale (Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence) and the RMA Scale (Rape Myth Acceptance) Attitude and belief change

6 Design 271 students at the University of Manitoba All films shown in the campus film series 2 experimental films (R rated, not pornography) – “Swept Away” – “The Getaway” 2 control films (romance w/o violence) – “A Man and a Woman – “Hooper” AIV and RMA given 1 week following the films

7 Findings Male students who saw the experimental films scored higher on the AIV and RMA (but not statistically significant on the RMA)

8 Donnerstein and Berkowitz “Victim Reactions in Aggressive erotic Films as a Factor in Violence against Women” (1981)

9 Hypothesis {Sex + violence + positive outcome} will be correlated with male subjects’ willingness to aggress against women Behavior change

10 Design Male subjects are asked to write a short essay Essay is evaluated by a research confederate (RC) which the subjects believe is another subject All are angered by a negative evaluation of 9 electric shocks Ss see films – G1 sees a neutral film (talk show) – G2 sees a purely erotic film – G3 sees {sex + violence + positive outcome} – G4 sees [sex + violence + negative outcome] Ss are given an opportunity to evaluate RC

11 Results No significant increased aggression against female RC in G1 and G2 subjects Significant aggression against female RC in G3 and G4 subjects No significant aggression against male RC

12 Follow Up Experiment Same design, except only half of the Ss are angered All RC’s are female

13 Results G1 subjects do not engage in aggression against female RC’s G2 subjects do not engage in aggression against female RC’s G4 subjects do not engage in aggression against female RC’s Only G3 subjects [angered, positive outcome + sex + violence] show increased aggression against female RC’s

14 Zillman and Bryant “Pornography, Sexual Callousness and the Trivialization of Rape” (1982)

15 Research Question: Effects of Continued Exposure to Pornography Ss were 80 M and 80 F students at IU 3 experiments groups saw X-rated (but non- violent films over 6 weeks – G1 saw 6 erotic films (4 hours: 48 minutes) – G2 saw 3 erotic films (2:24) and 3 neutral films – G3 saw 6 neutral films (4:48) – G4 saw no films

16 Results G1 subjects overestimated the % of adults engaged in uncommon sex practices – Group sex (3X) – Sadomasochism (2X) G1 Ss recommended a lighter sentence for a convicted rapist—4 years vs 8 years (trivialization of rape by both M and F Ss) G1 Ss showed less support for feminist values than other groups G1 Ss scored higher on the Sexual Callousness Toward Women Scale than other groups

17 Linz, Donnerstein and Penrod “Physiological Desensitization and Judgments about Female Victims of Violence” ( )

18 First Study—”Slasher” Films Ss prescreened for hostility and psychosis using the Symptom Checklist 90 Ss see “TX Chainsaw Massacre” Ss take the MAACL (Multiple Affect Adjective Check List) On 4 successive days, Ss see 4 more slasher films and re given the MAACL On day 6 Ss are shown a rape trial and given a questionnaire

19 Results Continued exposure to [sex + violence] leads to desensitization (reported on the MAACL) – Decreasing awareness of the extent of violence – Decreasing awareness of how the F victims of violence are degraded – Increasing enjoyment Ss response to the questionnaire reflected their belief that the rape victim was less injured

20 New Study Penrod leaves the research and Adams joins the research

21 Prescreening (SCL 90 and RMA) Video 1 – G1 Ss see non-violent erotic and exciting film clips – G2 Ss see “slasher” films MAACL given Video 2 (violence against F) MAACL given again Questionnaire about video 2 RQ: Is sex or violence more important in attitude formation

22 Results G1 Ss report normal and expected mood change after video 2 on the MAACL – Hostility toward aggressor – Anxiety – Aggression G2 Ss do not report normal mood changes On the questionnaire, G Ss see the victim a – Less injured – Less worthy of sympathy – More responsible for the attack

23 Interpretation Sex alone is not the problem Sex + violence is the problem

24 Canadian Fraser Committee Report (1985) The Report found no conclusive evidence that there was a causal relationship between sexually explicit material and sexual offenses. However, it accepted the feminist position and held that some pornography (sexually violent) was a denial of equality under Canadian law

25 U.S. Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (1986) “Finding a link between aggressive behavior towards women and sexual violence... Requires assumptions not found exclusively in the experimental evidence.... We see no reason, however, not to make these assumptions.... They are also to all of us assumptions that are plainly justified by our own common sense.”

26 Zilllman and Bryant “Effects of Prolonged Consumtion of Pornography on Family Values” (1988)

27 Design 160 Ss (M, F, student, non-student) Experimental group saw 1 hour of non-violent porn. Purchased from a local video store and edited to 1 hour) over 6 weeks Control group saw 6 hours of situation comedy The experiment took place over 6 weeks Ss were given the Value of Marriage Survey

28 Results E Ss were more accepting that controls of premarital sex, extramarital sex, extra co- habitational sex, etc. Males were more accepting that females E Ss perceptions of the importance of faithfulness were lower that C Ss E Ss had less desire for children E Ss were more accepting of male dominance

29 Mundorf et al. (2007) “Effects of Sexually Explicit Media” Researchers did a meta-analysis of 2,200 studies They found a small statistical effect linking exposure to sexually explicit material with – An increased tendency to accept rape myths – An increased tendency to accept interpersonal violence in relationships

30 Research Limitations

31 Sexual Content and Media Current Issues “Cell Phone Sex Ed” “Michigan Town Split” “Sexting”


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