The effects of two reality explanations on children's reactions to a frightening movie scene

Barbara Jan Wilson, Audrey J. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-326
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Monographs
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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