Event Title

Violence and Sex Exhibited by Human and Non-Human Characters in Family Movies

Poster Number

074

Faculty Mentor

Darren Ritzer, Ph.D

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Start Date

12-4-2019 2:15 PM

End Date

April 2019

Description

We examined the level of violence and sex in movies targeted toward children, specifically focusing on animated films produced by Pixar and Dreamworks. We also explored whether there was a difference in violence and sexual activity between human cartoon (e.g., Aladdin) and non-human cartoon characters (e.g., Shrek). We selected G or PG movies considered “Top Grossing Family Films” in the IMDB database. We coded each minute of movie time by recording the number of verbal and physical sexual acts, and the number of verbal and physical violent acts, as well as the type of character exhibiting and receiving the act. (An example of a verbal sexual act would be catcalling, while an example of a physical sexual act would be passionate kissing.) Two raters evaluated the movies to provide inter-rater reliability. We found that male characters were more violent than were female characters. We also found that sexual acts were committed equally by male and female characters. These outcomes are noteworthy because we focused our study on movies targeted toward children and families. Children may be receiving a message about gender-specific behavior, related to both violence and sexuality, without even realizing it. We did not find differences between our human and non-human characters, suggesting that levels of violence and sex are being presented at similar levels regardless of the type of movie character. These findings add to what we know about characteristics of movies likely to be viewed by youth and may be of particular interest to parents.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2019

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 12th, 2:15 PM Apr 12th, 4:15 PM

Violence and Sex Exhibited by Human and Non-Human Characters in Family Movies

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

We examined the level of violence and sex in movies targeted toward children, specifically focusing on animated films produced by Pixar and Dreamworks. We also explored whether there was a difference in violence and sexual activity between human cartoon (e.g., Aladdin) and non-human cartoon characters (e.g., Shrek). We selected G or PG movies considered “Top Grossing Family Films” in the IMDB database. We coded each minute of movie time by recording the number of verbal and physical sexual acts, and the number of verbal and physical violent acts, as well as the type of character exhibiting and receiving the act. (An example of a verbal sexual act would be catcalling, while an example of a physical sexual act would be passionate kissing.) Two raters evaluated the movies to provide inter-rater reliability. We found that male characters were more violent than were female characters. We also found that sexual acts were committed equally by male and female characters. These outcomes are noteworthy because we focused our study on movies targeted toward children and families. Children may be receiving a message about gender-specific behavior, related to both violence and sexuality, without even realizing it. We did not find differences between our human and non-human characters, suggesting that levels of violence and sex are being presented at similar levels regardless of the type of movie character. These findings add to what we know about characteristics of movies likely to be viewed by youth and may be of particular interest to parents.