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The Attractions of Violence



When cooler heads prevail: Peacemakers in a sports riot
Gordon Russell and Robert L. Arms (University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada)
Anu Mustonen  (University of Jyv(skyl(, Jyv(skyl(, Finland)
Abstract Male sports fans (N = 74) were asked to estimate the likelihood they would intervene in a crowd disturbance in an attempt to stop the fighting. They also completed a battery of measures that included their attitude toward law and order, fight history, the false consensus effect, impulsivity, sensation seeking, anger, physical aggression and identification with their favorite team. Law and order, anger and the false consensus effect were positively related to peacemaking whereas sensation seeking was negatively related. A multiple regression analysis yielded a solution that accounted for 33% of the variance with attitude toward law and order and anger emerging as the best predictors. (back to top)

Gender, guns, and perceptions of danger
Mary B. Harris and Kari C. Miller
(University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM)
This questionnaire study investigated perceptions of personal danger and use of a gun for self-defense in four experimental scenarios. Each scenario manipulated gender of protagonist plus an additional variable.  In general, females were more fearful than males but Anglos and Hispanics did not differ. The results also suggest that people have stereotypes associated with gender which make them perceive certain individuals as potentially more dangerous in otherwise identical situations.  These perceptions have both theoretical and practical implications. (back to top)

The attractions of violent entertainment
Jeffrey H. Goldstein
(University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Researchers have concerned themselves with the effects of violence in the media, but have neglected the question of why violent entertainment attracts an audience in the first place.  I describe a project supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation on the attractions of violent entertainment.  Media representations of violence can be found throughout history, from classical Roman sports and art to the latest virtual reality games.  Interest in and acceptance of violent imagery reaches a peak in times of war.  The audience does not necessarily experience pleasure at seeing blood and gore, but like aggression researchers, may have over-riding reasons for consuming it.  Violent entertainment can help one establish a social identity and can be effective in mood management. (back to top)

Why sex and violence? Emotional education and mass media
Ross Buck and Ipshita Ray
(University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT)
Examines the motivation behind the attraction to sexual and violent media. Anger and sexual feelings are difficult to communicate interpersonally, and children learn ABOUT these feelings/desires (emotional education) from observing models.  Media exposure is a safe and effective way to observe such models, functioning as Piagetian aliments for emotional education.  We can learn how to design media content that is both attractive and fosters emotional competence: teaching how aggressive feelings can be dealt with appropriately. (back to top)