Liking violence and action: An examination of gender differences in children's processing of animated content

Andrew J. Weaver, Jakob D. Jensen, Nicole Martins, Ryan J. Hurley, Barbara J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


It is widely assumed that children like violence in cartoons, but this assumption has not been supported in existing studies that show nonviolent programs are liked just as much or more than violent programs. The present experiment extended enjoyment of media violence research by testing whether violence and action (independently manipulated) influenced children's liking of slapstick cartoons. We also proposed a path model to test potential indirect effects of violence and action on liking. Using animation software, four versions of a slapstick cartoon were created that varied in terms of violence (present, absent) and action (high, low). A total of 128 elementary school children watched one of the four versions of the program. Violence had no direct effect on the liking of the cartoon, but did indirectly decrease liking for males by decreasing boys' wishful identification with the anthropomorphized characters. Action increased liking for males but not for females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-70
Number of pages22
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

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