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Film and TV aggression rubs off on viewers, BYU study shows

A new Brigham Young University study finds that watching film characters behave rudely makes viewers just as aggressive as watching actors try to kill each other.

Professor Sarah Coyne studies the portrayal of ‘relational aggression’ in media and says her research serves as a warning to parents about reality television’s steady diet of secrets, rumors and betrayal.

“Most people who watch mean behavior are not fine afterward, the same as with watching violence,” said Coyne, who teaches and researches in BYU’s School of Family Life. “Seeing this in film and on television may not turn people into violent offenders, but it certainly appears that afterward people are more likely to spread rumors and react aggressively.”

The study will be published in the November issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Read more about how the study was conducted in this USA Today article.

Writer: Brady Toone


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