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Violent Comic Books and Judgments of Relational Aggression

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This study investigated the effects of reading extremely violent versus mildly violent comic books on the interpretation of relational provocation situations. One hundred and seventeen introductory psychology students read either an extremely violent comic book or a mildly violent comic book. After reading the comic books, participants read five hypothetical stories in which a child, caused a relationally aggressive event to occur to another child, but the intent of the provocateur was ambiguous. After each story, participants were asked a series of questions about the provocateur's intent; potential retaliation toward the provocateur; and the provocateur's emotional state. Responses were coded in terms of amount of negative and violent content. Results indicated that participants reading the extremely violent comic books ascribed more hostile intent to the provocateur, suggested more retaliation toward the provocateur, and attributed a more negative emotional state to the provocateur than participants reading the mildly violent comic book. These data suggest that social information processing of relationally aggressive situations is influenced by violent comic books, even if the comic books do not contain themes of relational aggression.
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Keywords: AGGRESSION; COMIC BOOKS; VIOLENCE

Document Type: Case Report

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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