ERIC Number: ED214218
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: 0
MPAA Film Ratings and Film Attendance: A Test of Reactance Theory.
Austin, Bruce A.
Reactance theory predicts that when a behavioral freedom is restricted or eliminated an individual is motivationally aroused to restore that freedom. This theory served as the basis of a study that investigated whether motion picture ratings, specifically R and X ratings, acted as a source of reactance arousal for high school students. Subjects were 130 high school freshmen and seniors who were asked to indicate their likelihood of attending each of four different fictional films based on a film plot synopsis given to them on a single page. In addition to a plot summary, the page also provided information about the director, producer, screenwriter, and actors in the movie. Each also contained a notice of the film's rating. The experimental condition consisted of manipulating the rating over the four synopses. The students also completed self-report instruments and a questionnaire concerning their actual movie attendance patterns and eliciting demographic information. The results indicated only limited support for the reactance theory. Significant differences in likelihood of attendance were found for the sample as a whole and among students under 17 years of age. Data from the self-report measures and questionnaire showed that the subjects preferred movies with PG or R ratings. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Response; Motion Picture Ratings
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Communication Association (Hartford, CT, May 8, 1982).