ERIC Number: ED212030
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Catharsis and Fantasy.
Copeland, Gary A.; Slater, Dan
Behavioral effects studies of mediated violence have traditionally focused on four paradigms: limited effects/reinforcement, instigation, imitation, and catharsis. The catharsis perspective suggests that the desire or need to exhibit aggressive or hostile behaviors is reduced by a release of those desires through vicarious or behavioral participation. Clearly those individuals unable to fantasize will have little or no catharsis, whereas those who have a higher ability to fantasize will be better able to engage in catharsis, thus reducing their overt aggression. Despite the importance of the fantasy ability both conceptually and methodologically, it is not measured in most media effects studies. Of primary importance for media researchers is the realization that catharsis will not function equally for all. Second, researchers must attempt to denote what types of mediated messages stimulate the greatest fantasy involvement on the part of the viewer. Third, exploration of the content of fantasies must be attempted. And fourth, fantasy may be a mediating variable between heavy media viewing and overt behavioral aggression. In summary, catharsis is a paradigm that too often is rejected due to public and private opinion that mediated violence must have some negative impact on viewers. A reformulation of the catharsis paradigm to include levels of fantasy ability, the type of mediated message that best triggers fantasies, and the content of the fantasies evoked could provide a resurgence of interest in catharsis as an effect of viewing mediated violence. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Response; Media Effects
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (67th, Anaheim, CA, November 12-15, 1981).