You’ll like that TV show more with less shooting
And more surprising insights from the social sciences
Violence is an integral part of American entertainment. You might presume this is the case because it’s what consumers want and enjoy. However, a recent study by researchers at Indiana University suggests that wanting and enjoying violent entertainment are not the same thing. Students read descriptions of episodes from four violent TV shows (“Oz,” “Kingpin,” “The Sopranos,” and “24”). The descriptions either emphasized violence or didn’t. The students chose one of the shows to watch and were then shown either an unedited version or a version with the violence edited out. A majority of the students--both male and female--chose shows with violent descriptions. Ironically, though, students enjoyed the violent shows significantly less than the nonviolent shows, regardless of whether they had chosen a show with a violent description.