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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Exposure to Sexual Content in Popular Movies Predicts Sexual Behavior in Adolescence

 

From the 17th July 2012 article at ScienceNewsDaily

Intuitively it simply makes sense: exposure to sexual content in movies at an early age probably influences adolescents’ sexual behavior. And yet, even though a great deal of research has shown that adolescents who watch more risky behaviors in popular movies, like drinking or smoking, are more likely to drink and smoke themselves, surprisingly little research has examined whether movies influence adolescents’ sexual behaviors.

Until now.

Over six years, psychological scientists examined whether or not seeing sex on the big screen translates into sex in the real world for adolescents. Their findings, which are to be published inPsychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, revealed not only that it did but also explained some of the reasons why.

It appears from our meta-analysis that risk-glorifying media has potentially grave consequences, such as innumerable incidences of fatalities, injuries and high economic costs in a broad variety of risk-taking domains, such as substance abuse, reckless driving, gambling and risky sexual behavior,” wrote Fischer.

Among the media examined, video games that glorify risk were more likely to prompt dangerous behavior than passive exposure, such as watching films or listening to music. The authors examined research conducted between 1983 and 2009 in the United States and Europe, incorporating more than 80,000 participants. Most people were between the ages of 16 and 24, but some of the samples did include older and younger participants.

An analysis of this size helps prove that exposure to risk-glorifying media actually leads to riskier behavior, which was exemplified in several experiments, the authors said. For example, in a typical experiment, participants were first exposed to media content that either glorified risk taking — such as pictures of extreme sports or street racing video games — or did not glorify such behavior. Afterward, the researchers measured how willing the participants were to engage in certain types of risky behaviors, such as participating in extreme sports or reckless driving, measured in a computer simulation.

One study of 961 young adults found that those who watched movies showing people drinking were more likely to drink more and have alcohol-related problems later in life. Similar effects were found in other studies of smoking.

“These results support recent lines of research into the relationship between risk taking and the media,” said Fischer. “There is indeed a reliable connection between exposure to risk-glorifying media content and risk-taking behaviors, cognitions and emotions.”…

 

 

July 18, 2012 - Posted by | Psychology | , , , ,

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