Pornography and Censorship

By David Copp; Susan Wendell | Go to book overview

muth, these findings seem to attest to the construct validity of the measures employed in laboratory studies of aggression against women.

Another interesting aspect of the present research is the results obtained with the debriefing manipulation. Some critics have recently questioned the ethicality of research which exposes subjects to rape depictions (e.g., Sherif, 1980). These concerns seem legitimate and were, in fact, the basis for the debriefing followup in Experiment 2. The results of this followup, however, strongly suggest that a proper debriefing can have quite beneficial effects. As we have seen, subjects who viewed aggressive erotica and were debriefed revealed less acceptance of the standard rape myths. A very similar finding has recently been obtained by Malamuth and Check ( 1981). The results of the present study and that of Malamuth and Check ( 1981) point to the possibility of future research which is directed at reducing the acceptance of rape myths, an attitude which has been shown to be related to many asocial behaviors (e.g., Burt, 1980; Malamuth and Check, in press, b).


NOTES

*This research was supported by Grant MH 07788-02 from the National Institute of Mental Health to the first author.

1.
These instructions, indicating that the shocks would not help the other subjects' learning, were used to reduce the possibility that subjects administered higher shocks out of a desire to help the victim (e.g., Baron, 1977).
2.
One possible explanation for this high level of aggression in the neutral film group is that subjects in the present study tended to be angrier than subjects in the previous study. An examination of the self-reported anger scores for subjects paired with a male target in the present study and the earlier Donnerstein ( 1980b) study revealed anger ratings of 2.7 and 2.0, respectively, with 3.2 generally being the highest score given on this scale. While it is not possible without additional data to explain this apparent increase in anger, the greater apparent anger in the neutral film group could account for the higher level of aggression in this condition.

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