Volume 8

Acceptability and Offensiveness of Violence in Animated and Feature Films

William Kennedy and Kelly A. Payne

Historically, studies about perceptions of media violence have not compared Animated to Live- action violence. The objective of this study was to examine the differences in perceptions of these two forms of media. This study also examined gender differences in perceptions of violence. Participants, 54 men and 56 women, were randomly assigned to view one of four film clips, which were five minutes long and contained equal number of acts of violence from either Animated or Live-action films. Next, participants completed a variety of measures regarding personal history, aggression, empathy, and levels of acceptance and offensiveness of the film violence. Results revealed that women find both forms of media violence more offensive than do men. When comparing the Animated to Live-action violence, both men and women found animated violence more offensive. A negative association between reported levels of empathy and aggression was obtained. Implications of findings are discussed relative to media violence viewing by children.

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