Meanness Appears to Rub Off on Viewers

October 29, 2008 • Daily Email Recap

Researchers have long known that watching violence on TV or in movies ratchets up aggression, but what about watching people being mean to one another? Could watching Mean Girls make you as aggressive as watching Kill Bill?

A new study suggests the answer is yes.

Brigham Young University professor Sarah Coyne and colleagues asked 53 British college-aged women to watch one of three video clips, featuring either physical aggression (a knife fight from Kill Bill), relational aggression (a montage from Mean Girls) or no aggression (a séance scene from the horror movie What Lies Beneath). They then filled out a brief questionnaire and were allowed to leave the room. Right outside was another researcher who asked if they would like to participate in a study involving reaction times.

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