This experiment assesses the effectiveness of two reality explanations on children's reactions to a frightening program. Children from two age groups (5—6 vs. 7—9 years) were assigned to one of three conditions before watching a frightening movie scene: special tricks explanation, real life explanation, or no explanation. Results revealed that neither of the reality instructions influenced younger children's emotional or cognitive reactions to the program. In contrast, the special tricks explanation reduced older children's emotional responses to the movie, but had no impact on their interpretations of the program. Unexpectedly, the real life explanation did not influence older children's emotional reactions, and had only a limited effect on interpretations of the program. The findings are discussed in terms of developmental differences in perceived reality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics