Does media violence make you less helpful? The effect of violent television and literature on prosocial behaviour
Past research on the effects of media violence has predominantly focused on violent video games and television, with little research looking at the effect of violent literature. Two studies tested the effect of violent television and literature on prosocial behaviour. Study 1 compared the helpfulness of participants after exposure to violent or non-violent television and literature. After a twenty-minute exposure period, the experimenter accidentally knocked a cup of pens to the floor. The number of pens the participant helped to pick up was then recorded. There was no significant difference in helpfulness between the conditions. Study 2 compared the helpfulness of participants after exposure to violent television or literature and a control group who were not exposed to any media. Helpfulness was measured in the same way as in the first study. Study 2 revealed that those exposed to television violence were the least helpful, followed by those exposed to literature violence. These findings support previous research and add new evidence regarding literature violence and prosocial behaviour to the growing literature base.
Advisor: Reese, Elaine
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: violent media; prosocial behaviour; violent television; violent literature
Research Type: Thesis