Prior Exposure to Creatures From a Horror Film: Live Versus Photographic Representations

AUDREY J. WEISS, DOROTHY J. IMRICH, BARBARA J. WILSON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This experiment assesses the impact of two exposure strategies on children's emotional and cognitive reactions to a frightening movie scene. Children from two grade levels (kindergarten and first vs. second through fourth) received a desensitization treatment in which modeled exposure to a live earthworm was factorially varied with exposure to graphic photographs of worms taken from a horror film. Children then viewed a frightening scene involving worms taken from this same film. Results indicated that exposure to photographs increased children's enjoyment of the movie segment and reduced fear reactions to the scene. In contrast, the live exposure strategy was effective in reducing fear reactions to the movie only among boys. However, live exposure did alter children's affective reactions to and judgments of worms themselves. The findings are discussed in terms of current theories of desensitization and information processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-66
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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